When it comes to the haute couture topic of car colors, it seems that white is set to be the must-have shade among the beautiful people. Never mind the outdated image of ‘three-month white’ – the time skeptical car dealers once reckoned a vehicle would sit, unloved and unsold, on their forecourt before heading off to the auctions. Today, white is being tipped as the hot hue among buyers keen to show they’re more Prada than Primark.
Naturally SEAT is at the cutting edge of the trend, rolling out Candy White versions of the sleek Leon hatchback, priced from £12,645 RRP, with the additional option on the Cupra of black, or white, 18” Orion alloy wheels to complete the look.
According to industry experts, the growing international shift towards white among car cognoscenti picks up on the more general move to white in all areas of consumer goods. From the ubiquitous Apple iPod to 2007’s runaway Christmas gift winner, the Nintendo Wii, white is clearly where it’s at.
Leading automotive paint supplier DuPont has tracked global car colour trends for more than 50 years, and in its latest survey is tipping white/white pearl as a ‘trend shifting colour’.
‘Our customers are looking at niche colours and effects,’ said Karen Surcina, Colour Marketing and Technology Manager, DuPont Automotive Systems. ‘The rise in popularity of white/white pearl and the long reign of silver suggest that we can expect a more dramatic shift in the top colour choice.’
Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the US-based Pantone Color Institute and author of Color: Messages and Meanings, supports the idea. ‘We are not surprised to see a proliferation of white/white pearl in DuPont’s report this year,’ she said. ‘White is considered a fashion statement. The car you drive is a fashion statement, and consumer preferences for white agree.’
And while the UK still has a long way to go to catch up with the likes of the US, Japan and Mexico where white vehicles are the top choice, there is the hint of a shift towards the shade. Figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders reveal a gentle rise in the number of white cars sold here over the last couple of years. In 2006, the last full year for which numbers are available, more than 16,500 white cars were sold – up from 15,792 in the previous 12 months.
There is here, too, a history of successful sales of sporty white models – particularly among hot hatches in the 1980s, such as the Volkswagen Golf GTI.
SEAT Head of Marketing, Steve Robertson, explained: ‘White really could be the new silver – when it comes to fashionable car colours, at least.
‘Buyers increasingly want a car that stands out on the road, giving them instant recognition and differentiation from ‘me too’ shades such as grey and silver.
‘With colours like Emocion Red and Crono Yellow, SEAT has a proud history of offering just this kind of look and I’m confident that our Candy White Leon, complete with black, white or standard alloy wheels, will prove to be a real trend-setter in 2008.’