Hue and Drive

The FT notes a recent global survey on car colors. I’m surprised that white has the pole position in the U.S.; maybe it’s geographical, but I don’t see that many of them round these parts. I always seem to get a white car (and I’m not happy about it) at a rental agency; maybe that throws off the results? I’ve also often wondered if they favored white cars to show off damage more easily?

I’m also note sure what explains this: “China is the only region where orange is a popular option: 3 per cent of Chinese car buyers chose it.”

This entry was posted on Tuesday, June 30th, 2009 at 2:18 pm and is filed under Cars. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

9 Responses to “Hue and Drive”

  1. MikeOnBike Says:

    Are they counting commercial vehicles? They’re usually white from the factory. Vans, trucks, fleet cars, etc. They start with a white vehicle, then add company logos, decals, etc.

  2. Tony Toews Says:

    I had trouble reading the light blue letters on the white background.

    And I have to admit that bar graphs would’ve made it much easier to compare numbers from one colour to another.

  3. Greg Devine Says:

    In Japan, white cars are considered “lucky” and are often thought to have a better re-sale value, at least according to my wife. I did see quite a few white cars over there, and when we moved back to Canada my wife wanted a white car, but the salesman talked her out of it by explaining how often we would have to wash it, especially in the grimy winters we have in Toronto.

    Could it be that the Chinese have a similar opinion with orange cars?

  4. Botswana Meat Commission FC Says:

    C’mon yellow!

    Looks like only 2% of North Americans are hip to the awesomeness that is “Pussy Magnet Yellow.”

  5. Angela S Says:

    I bet if the data was more narrowly charted by region a clear correlation would emerge between hotter, sunnier climates and lighter-colored vehicles. People in hot climates don’t want to climb into a black car which has been in the sun all day, and people in snowy, icy climates don’t want to see the road grime on their car during the 6 months of the year when they can’t easily wash it.

  6. gpsman Says:

    Angela makes good points for those who think before buying a car (or care about color).

    Back when I was in the car business white cars were considered most salable, in that few people were thought to have an aversion to white as they might for black or red.

    That said, some real car “sales/persons” will knock themselves out trying to sell a car in a color for which a prospective customer has expressed a dislike, just as a demonstration of their persuasiveness or customer control.

  7. tacotodd Says:

    I suspect the white cars include A LOT of government-owned vehicles. Almost all of the general use ones in NC are white.

  8. DoctorJay Says:

    Tom, do you see mostly black and silver? I bet it’s due to your geography in NYC. Lots of Europeans and psuedo-europeans. I live in Hoboken and it seems like its 60% black cars on the road.

  9. Dave Fisher Says:

    do they include mexico in north america?
    many mexicains prefer white as it stays cooler in the tropical sun.
    i live in mexico and most of the cars, vans, pickups and trucks are white
    at least here on the pacific coast.

Leave a Reply

Traffic Tom Vanderbilt

How We Drive is the companion blog to Tom Vanderbilt’s New York Times bestselling book, Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us), published by Alfred A. Knopf in the U.S. and Canada, Penguin in the U.K, and in languages other than English by a number of other fine publishers worldwide.

Please send tips, news, research papers, links, photos (bad road signs, outrageous bumper stickers, spectacularly awful acts of driving or parking or anything traffic-related), or ideas for my Transport column to me at:

For publicity inquiries, please contact Kate Runde at Vintage:

For editorial inquiries, please contact Zoe Pagnamenta at The Zoe Pagnamenta Agency:

For speaking engagement inquiries, please contact
Kim Thornton at the Random House Speakers Bureau:

Order Traffic from:

Amazon | B&N | Borders
Random House | Powell’s

U.S. Paperback UK Paperback
Traffic UK
Drive-on-the-left types can order the book from

For UK publicity enquiries please contact Rosie Glaisher at Penguin.

Upcoming Talks

April 9, 2008.
California Office of Traffic Safety Summit
San Francisco, CA.

May 19, 2009
University of Minnesota Center for Transportation Studies
Bloomington, MN

June 23, 2009
Driving Assessment 2009
Big Sky, Montana

June 26, 2009
PRI World Congress
Rotterdam, The Netherlands

June 27, 2009
Day of Architecture
Utrecht, The Netherlands

July 13, 2009
Association of Transportation Safety Information Professionals (ATSIP)
Phoenix, AZ.

August 12-14
Texas Department of Transportation “Save a Life Summit”
San Antonio, Texas

September 2, 2009
Governors Highway Safety Association Annual Meeting
Savannah, Georgia

September 11, 2009
Oregon Transportation Summit
Portland, Oregon

October 8
Honda R&D Americas
Raymond, Ohio

October 10-11
INFORMS Roundtable
San Diego, CA

October 21, 2009
California State University-San Bernardino, Leonard Transportation Center
San Bernardino, CA

November 5
Southern New England Planning Association Planning Conference
Uncasville, Connecticut

January 6
Texas Transportation Forum
Austin, TX

January 19
Yale University
(with Donald Shoup; details to come)

Monday, February 22
Yale University School of Architecture
Eero Saarinen Lecture

Friday, March 19
University of Delaware
Delaware Center for Transportation

April 5-7
University of Utah
Salt Lake City
McMurrin Lectureship

April 19
International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association (Organization Management Workshop)
Austin, Texas

Monday, April 26
Edmonton Traffic Safety Conference
Edmonton, Canada

Monday, June 7
Canadian Association of Road Safety Professionals
Niagara Falls, Ontario

Wednesday, July 6
Fondo de Prevención Vial
Bogotá, Colombia

Tuesday, August 31
Royal Automobile Club
Perth, Australia

Wednesday, September 1
Australasian Road Safety Conference
Canberra, Australia

Wednesday, September 22

Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s
Traffic Incident Management Enhancement Program
Statewide Conference
Wisconsin Dells, WI

Wednesday, October 20
Rutgers University
Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation
Piscataway, NJ

Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Ontario Injury Prevention Resource Centre
Injury Prevention Forum

Monday, May 2
Idaho Public Driver Education Conference
Boise, Idaho

Tuesday, June 2, 2011
California Association of Cities
Costa Mesa, California

Sunday, August 21, 2011
American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Attitudes: Iniciativa Social de Audi
Madrid, Spain

April 16, 2012
Institute for Sensible Transport Seminar
Gardens Theatre, QUT
Brisbane, Australia

April 17, 2012
Institute for Sensible Transport Seminar
Centennial Plaza, Sydney
Sydney, Australia

April 19, 2012
Institute for Sensible Transport Seminar
Melbourne Town Hall
Melbourne, Australia

January 30, 2013
University of Minnesota City Engineers Association Meeting
Minneapolis, MN

January 31, 2013
Metropolis and Mobile Life
School of Architecture, University of Toronto

February 22, 2013
ISL Engineering
Edmonton, Canada

March 1, 2013
Australian Road Summit
Melbourne, Australia

May 8, 2013
New York State Association of
Transportation Engineers
Rochester, NY

August 18, 2013 “Ingenuity” Conference
San Francisco, CA

September 26, 2013
TransComm 2013
(Meeting of American Association
of State Highway and Transportation
Officials’ Subcommittee on Transportation
Grand Rapids MI



June 2009
« May   Jul »

No, you probably won be compensated one million dollars; however, with the right blend of negotiating skills and patience, your efforts will be substantially rewarded!I have seen up to forty thousand dollars added to starting compensation through diligent negotiations. It is a way to significantly raise your standard of living and sense of self, simply by