Monthly Archives: June 2017

Car Colour Popularity

The most popular car colours today are shades of grey: white, black, grey and silver, amounting to over 70% of the total world car production. Red, blue and brown/beige cars range between 6% and 9% each, while all other colours amount to less than 5%. Colour choice is subject to fluctuation and fashion, and historical trends shifted from dark neutral colours of early cars, through more vivid colours of 1950s and 1960s, back towards today’s neutral colours.

A 2013 poll for Forbes by iSeeCars.com discovered gender differences in preferred car colours. Slightly more men than women preferred red, while slightly more women than men favoured silver. This small but statistically real gender difference, rather than reflecting actual gendered colour preferences, instead appears to be the result of existing gender-based preferences for particular types of car, which are likewise associated with different colours. Each vehicle category, from electric cars to gigantic SUVs, exhibits a general “personality,” which tends to inspire different levels of interest for men and women.

The car colours silver, white, grey, black, gold, beige, and several shades of brown, while each having experienced the intermittent prominence typical of non-neutrals, are likewise subject to fashion’s more general fluctuations. However, perennial popularity for neutrals is assured based simply on their inherent plainness. Neutral colours are popular on cars for many reasons. The vast majority of drivers expect to get years of use from one car, and so take care in choosing its colour (among its many other attributes). Conventional wisdom has long considered neutral colours to be more tasteful, timeless, flattering, and fool-proof than bright colours; this wisdom also maintains that a neutral colour can be acceptably paired with any other conceivable colour. While many people disregard much of this advice when it comes to clothing, they are more likely to follow it where important purchases are concerned, as it is much easier and less expensive to change an unfortunate shirt than it is to have a car repainted a tolerable colour. Furthermore, unlike “faddish” colours, neutral colours do not run the risk of falling out of style. Lastly, some drivers, observing conventional beliefs about colours, choose neutral coloured cars because they fear that a non-neutral car could “clash” unpleasantly against their house, with other cars, with particular outfits while driving, or even with the particular driver’s skin tone.

Perhaps popularity itself helps propel certain colours’ continued ubiquity. Dominant car colours tend to remain dominant, as most new cars are bought straight from the car lot, where dealers preferentially stock the colours that sell so reliably. Rental car companies also prefer neutral coloured cars and stock their fleets accordingly, likely reasoning that their customers will approve of, or at least be able to ignore, neutral colours. Chris Webb, the exterior colour and trend designer for GM North America, suggests that silver is the most popular colour for the simple reason that relatively more light reflects off it, hiding dirt and attractively accentuating the architectural design. Cars that are silver retain their value better than any other colour, reselling for around 10% more than white cars; this superior resale value has caused many UK police agencies to replace their standard white patrol cars with silver models. However, these patrol cars could outlast the value of their paint colour, as there is some evidence that the colour’s popularity is decreasing.

A common belief is that red cars cost more to insure; in fact, insurers do not take colour into account. It is probably not coincidental that the top three male-preferred colours (red, orange and black, each with similar percentages) are all highly desirable colours for sports cars, cars which find more favour among men than women. Sports cars, in the popular imagination, are strongly associated with fun times and gorgeous women. For men who find this image alluring, red’s “sexy” connotations and high visibility, in addition to its status as the “traditional” colour for sports cars, add considerably to the vehicle’s flashiness and appeal. The top three colours preferred by more women than men were (the ever-popular) silver, followed by brown and gold; and the degree of gender disparity for all three was somewhat lower than for the above-mentioned male preferences. Silver, brown, and gold are all very popular colours for minivans and SUVs; which in the United States are both commonly associated with parenting. Because childcare burdens still fall more heavily on mothers than on fathers, it makes sense that women would be the ones shopping for an appropriate child-transporting vehicle, expecting to be its primary (if not exclusive) driver after purchase. A mother with several kids to drive around would not be tempted to buy a two-seater convertible for that purpose.

In summation, the poll showed that women favoured practical family-oriented cars in colours that would appear dignified and not stand out; whereas men wanted showier cars whose bright colours sought to attract specific kinds of attention. The article does not say whether there was a gender difference in who actually bought cars as opposed to just browsing and giving opinions.

World Car

The phrase world car is an engineering strategy used to describe an automobile designed to suit the needs of global automotive markets with minimal changes in each market it is sold in. The goal of a world car program is to save costs and increase quality by standardizing parts and design for a single vehicle in a certain class, in hopes of using the cost savings to deliver a higher-quality product that appeals to automotive consumers worldwide. Examples include the Ford Mondeo and Focus, modern no-frills cars such as the Fiat Palio, Dacia Logan and VW Fox along with luxury cars such as the BMW 3-Series and Lexus LS.

In the pioneering days of the automotive industry, automobiles were primarily designed for the local market that the manufacturer was based in, such as the Ford Model T, which was engineered to cope with the rural lifestyle and rugged terrain that most automobile buyers in the United States had to contend with in the early days of the automobile. However, the Model T was arguably the first world car, with knock-down kits being assembled in locations such as Canada, England and Argentina.

In particular, Ford Motor Company and its American compatriot, General Motors were focused on expanding globally, with General Motors either acquiring or partnering with local automobile manufacturers, such as Opel of Germany, Vauxhall of England and Holden of Australia, while Ford created overseas subsidiaries that would later develop their own line of bespoke automobiles independently of their American parent, such as Ford of Germany, Ford of Britain and Ford Australia.

In 1933, Ford introduced their first car designed for European tastes that was not sold in the United States, the Ford Model Y, developed by Ford of Britain, and also manufactured by Ford of Germany as the Ford Köln. One response was the Opel 1.2 litre, developed by General Motors in the United States but built and sold in Europe. In Australia, the Coupé utilitywas beginning to catch on in popularity, as “a vehicle to go to church in on a Sunday and which can carry our pigs to market on Mondays.” Despite being a global design initially, world cars have to have specific changes made per national laws/regulations, or cultural differences / market tastes where these are divergent. For example, fuel prices vary greatly in different countries, and this affects the choice of engine fitted.

One vehicle that is an example of this is the Volkswagen Golf (currently sold in the Mk VI version), offered only with a 2.5-litre 5-cylinder petrol in the United States and Canada, but in Europe, it has 1.4, 1.4 TSI turbo, 1.6, 2.0, 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder and 3.2 V6 petrol and 1.9 SDI diesel and 2.0 TDI turbodiesel engines. The differences between market needs are not just reflected by equipment levels (in Europe the Golf offers multiple trim levels, compared to North America where it is only available in two versions, and sold as a premiumhatchback rather than a workaday family car as in Europe.

The World Car Awards (WCOTY)  is an automobile award selected by a jury of 48 international automotive journalists from 22 countries. Cars considered must be sold in at least five countries, on at least two continents prior to 1 January of the year of the award. The contest was inaugurated in 2003, and officially launched in January 2004. This was as a unified award, similar to many of the continent, and nation-specific Car of the Year awards already given. Since 2006, awards for performance, green cars, and car design have also been given. In 2013, an award for luxury design was inaugurated.

Car Finance

The subject of car finance comprises the different financial products which allows someone to acquire a car with any arrangement other than a single lump payment. The provision of car finance by a third party supplier allows the acquirer to provide for and raise the funds to compensate the initial owner, either a dealer or manufacturer. Car finance is required by both private individuals and businesses. All types of finance products are available to either sector, however the market share by finance type for each sector differs, partly because business contract hire can provide tax and cashflow benefits to businesses.

Personal Car Finance is a complete subsector of personal finance, with numerous different products available. These include a straightforward car loan, hire purchase, personal contract hire (car leasing) and personal contract purchase. Therefore, car finance includes but is not limited to vehicle leasing. These different types of car finance are possible because of the high residual value of cars and the second hand car market, which enables other forms of financing beyond pure unsecured loans. Car finance arose because the price of cars was out of the reach of individual purchasers without borrowing the money. The funding for personal car finance is provided either by a retail bank or a specialist car financing company. Some car manufacturers own their own car financing arms, such as Ford with the Ford Motor Credit Company and General Motors with its GMAC Financial Services arm, which has now been renamed and rebranded as Ally Financial. Indirect auto lenders may set risk-based interest rate, or “buy rate,” that it conveys to auto dealers. Car companies may then allow their auto dealers to charge a higher interest rate when they finalize the deal with the consumer. This is typically called “dealer markup.” Markups can generate compensation for dealers and some (those of GM’s Ally and Honda) have been found to use the discretion to charge consumers different rates regardless of consumer creditworthiness.

Personal finance is the financial management which an individual or a family unit performs to budget, save, and spend monetary resources over time, taking into account various financial risks and future life events. When planning personal finances, the individual would consider the suitability to his or her needs of a range of banking products (checking, savings accounts, credit cards and consumer loans) or investment private equity, (stock market, bonds, mutual funds) and insurance (life insurance, health insurance, disability insurance) products or participation and monitoring of and- or employer-sponsored retirement plans, social security benefits, and income tax management.

Personal circumstances differ considerably, with respect to patterns of income, wealth, and consumption needs. Tax and finance laws also differ from country to country, and market conditions vary geographically and over time. This means that advice appropriate for one person might not be appropriate for another. A financial advisor can offer personalized advice in complicated situations and for high-wealth individuals, but University of Chicago professor Harold Pollack and personal finance writer Helaine Olen argue that in the United States good personal finance advice boils down to a few simple points:[9]

  • Pay off your credit card balance every month, in full
  • Save 20% of your income
  • Maximize contributions to tax-advantaged funds such as a 401(k) retirement funds, individual retirement accounts, and 529 eduction savings plans
  • When investing savings:
    • Don’t attempt to trade individual securities
    • Avoid high-fee and actively managed funds
    • Look for low-cost, highly diversified mutual funds that balance risk vs. reward appropriately to your target retirement year
  • If using a financial advisor, require them to commit to a fiduciary duty to act in your best interest
  • Advocate for government social insurance programs

The funding supplier may retain ownership of the car during the period of the contract for certain types of financing, such as a hire purchas or personal contract purchase. This interim ownership by a third party and subsequent leasing to the acquirer is far more typical for business assets than private ones, with the option of vehicle leasing being the major exception for private consumers. The finance is arranged either by the dealer which provides the car or by independent finance brokers who work on commission.

Automotive Industry

The automotive industry is a wide range of companies and organizations involved in the design, development, manufacturing, marketing, and selling of motor vehicles, some of them are called automakers. The automotive industry is a wide range of companies and organizations involved in the design, development, manufacturing, marketing, and selling of motor vehicles. It is one of the world’s most important economic sectors by revenue. It is one of the world’s most important economic sectors by revenue. The automotive industry does not include industries dedicated to the maintenance of automobiles following delivery to the end-user, such as automobile repair shops and motor fuel filling stations. The term automotive was created from Greek autos (self), and Latin motivus (of motion) to represent any form of self-powered vehicle. This term was proposed by Elmer Sperry.  The automotive industry began in the 1890s with hundreds of manufacturers that pioneered the horseless carriage.  For many decades, the United States led the world in total automobile production.  In 1929, before the Great Depression, the world had 32,028,500 automobiles in use, and the U.S. automobile industry produced over 90% of them. At that time the U.S. had one car per 4.87 persons. After World War II, the U.S. produced about 75 percent of world’s auto production. In 1980, the U.S. was overtaken by Japan and became world’s leader again in 1994. In 2006, Japan narrowly passed the U.S. in production  and held this rank until 2009, when China took the top spot with 13.8 million units. With 19.3 million units manufactured in 2012, China almost doubled the U.S. production, with 10.3 million units, while Japan was in third place with 9.9 million units. From 1970 (140 models) over 1998 (260 models) to 2012 (684 models), the number of automobile models in the U.S. has grown exponentially.

The Japanese automotive industry is one of the most prominent and largest industries in the world. Japan has been in the top three of the countries with most cars manufactured since the 1960s, surpassing Germany. The automotive industry in Japan rapidly increased from the 1970s to the 1990s (when it was oriented both for domestic use and worldwide export) and in the 1980s and 1990s, overtook the U.S. as the production leader with up to 13 million cars per year manufactured and significant exports. After massive ramp-up by China in the 2000s and fluctuating U.S. output, Japan is now currently the third largest automotive producer in the world with an annual production of 9.9 million automobiles in 2012. Japanese investments helped grow the auto industry in many countries throughout the last few decades. Japanese zaibatsu (business conglomerates) began building their first automobiles in the middle to late 1910s. The companies went about this by either designing their own trucks (the market for passenger vehicles in Japan at the time was small), or partnering with a European brand to produce and sell their cars in Japan under license. Such examples of this are Isuzu partnering with Wolseley Motors (UK), Nissan partnering with British automaker Austin, and the Mitsubishi Model A, which was based upon the Fiat Tipo 3. The demand for domestic trucks was greatly increased by the Japanese military buildup before World War II, causing many Japanese manufacturers to break out of their shells and design their own vehicles. In the 1970s Japan was the pioneer in robotics manufacturing of vehicles.

The country is home to a number of companies that produce cars, construction vehicles, motorcycles, ATVs, and engines. Japanese automotive manufacturers include Toyota, Honda, Daihatsu, Nissan, Suzuki, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Subaru, Isuzu, Kawasaki, Yamaha, and Mitsuoka. Cars designed in Japan have won the European Car of the Year, International Car of the Year, and World Car of the Year awards many times. Japanese vehicles have had worldwide influence, and no longer have the stigma they had in the 1950s and 1960s when they first emerged internationally.