Nissan study says we chose the wrong colour car

Research concluded buyers are too conservative in car-colour choices

Published: September 23, 2017, 5:45 PM
Updated: November 21, 2021, 3:07 PM

2017 Nissan Micra

A recent study from Nissan has revealed that nearly 90% of motorists are driving the wrong-coloured car for their personalities.

Nissan commissioned the pan-European study of 5,000 new-car buyers to showcase the personalization options of the all-new Micra hatchback introduced into the European market this past spring. The surprise finding (more of a deduction, really), was that 86% of those polled were deemed to have made an incorrect colour choice.

The research concluded that buyers are still too conservative in their car-colour choices, opting for black, grey and silver when there are more vibrant choices available, which it deduced are what buyers should be ordering. Among the conclusions was that about one third of those surveyed (38% to be exact) should have opted for more striking colours, such as orange, in keeping with their personality traits, instead of choosing traditional colours such as black.

“Often, colour choices are based around aspirations and black is often seen as an aspirational colour, associated with high-end technologies and innovative brands,” explains acclaimed colour psychologist Karen Haller, who has more than 20 years experience working with various brands about the colour choices consumers make. “It may be that far from playing it safe, they are choosing what they perceive as the finer things in life.”

And to make sure buyers choose the colour that’s best suited for them, Nissan has created a Facebook Chatbot in partnership with Haller, who uses psychometric analysis to understand the relationship between personality types and colour association.

“Social factors come into play with colour choice,” she explains. “For example, in times of economic uncertainty, it’s common for people to play it safe and pick a car with a neutral palette – such as black, white or grey. So, I’m not surprised that two-thirds of motorists are driving more conservative shades.”

The Chatbot determines the user’s personality and presents what it deems to be the perfect Micra colour for them. One of the all-new Micra’s selling strengths is its bold colour palette, which includes Energy Orange and Pulse Green. Buyers can also choose to add contrasting shades to the bumpers, doors, wheels and outside mirrors, in addition to interior personalization choices.

“The design priority for the all-new Nissan Micra from the very beginning was to put the customer at the heart of the vehicle,” says Priyanka Gaitonde, a Senior Colour Designer at Nissan Design Europe. “The new Chatbot is an innovative way of extending what we set out to do in the design studio, to guide customers on the colours most suitable to them.”

Research has shown that 22% of new Micra buyers are choosing to personalize their new purchases, which is a higher percentage than Nissan anticipated, but which it attributes to the low price point.

The colour choice study also found that over half of new buyers (53%) said colour was a consideration in their purchase, with more than half claiming to have purchased their favourite colours. The study involved asking bespoke questions to quantify the respondent’s personality, not unlike job interview questions.

Haller explains that colour preferences aren’t usually individual choices, but rather something that has been hard-coded in people long before the time they start choosing them. Human response to colour goes back to early childhood and is “hard wired,” with the chooser having no control.