Volkswagen Wants Its Colors To Make You Happy

Design / 6 Comments

The automaker expends tremendous energy and resources to develop new shades.

Volkswagen is an enormous automaker with resources some can't muster, including the ability to agonize over incremental changes in vehicle colors and their names. The company dreams up new colors through extensive research and focus groups and, as a result, offers more interesting shades than any other mainstream automaker. VW says its studies show color is the most likely vehicle element to elicit joy and emotion. The zesty colors show up on VWs of all types, especially the Golf GTI and Golf R.

Volkswagen starts its search for a new color scheme with its customers, and while horses designed by committee usually look more like camels, the groupthink approach has worked for VW so far. The company's research arm creates a questionnaire on colors, preferences, and the emotional response each shade elicits among buyers and enthusiasts. Volkswagen says it also takes cues from clothing and interior design.

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That research is directly connected to VW's vehicle designs. For example, the ID.4 EV is available in a Dusk Blue color that is a little lighter than most dark blues. VW's research indicated that the shade helps "induce feelings of serenity, calm, and security."

Megan Closset, VW's Golf GTI and Golf R product manager, said the company isn't aiming to please everyone. "When someone sees this color, they're either going to absolutely love it or absolutely hate it. That's what we're going for." They didn't specify a color for that statement, but we assume they're talking about the bright Pomelo Yellow Metallic color available for the 2022 Golf GTI. Even the color name is scrutinized, as VW says it chose the Pomelo color name because it reminded designers of the fruit.

Volkswagen 2021-2022 Volkswagen ID.4 Side View CarBuzz 2021-2022 Volkswagen ID.4 Front Angle View CarBuzz
2021-2022 Volkswagen ID.4 Side View
2021-2022 Volkswagen ID.4 Front Angle View

Volkswagen's color offerings are unique among major carmakers. In 2019, the company announced the Golf R Spektrum program, which brought 40 custom colors to the car in shades ranging from cool Star Blue to eye-assaulting Curry Yellow. Even the blandest colors in the catalog pop compared to the sea of drab seen on our streets. Though that program isn't yet open for the new Golf R, VW is injecting color elsewhere in its lineup. The ID. Buzz will be offered with 11 interior colors, and the Atlas SUV borrowed a neat green shade from the Golf R.

Most of the industry is not on VW's color path. While outlandish shades are offered by almost every carmaker, the vast majority of cars sold don't leave the factory with exciting paint colors. Studies have shown that the most-sold car color in America is white, followed by black, gray, and silver. Americans, and most people around the world, are dull when it comes to their car colors. Boring colors are cheaper and don't usually come with an upcharge for the buyer, and they don't attract as much attention on the roads.

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