Today, Blue Monday (20 January), is said to be the day of the year that we’re at our most glum. But does blue have to be tarnished with feelings of sadness? We reckon it’s one of the nicest colours for a car –and it’s experiencing something of a renaissance among buyers.
There’s evidence that 2020 will be the year for blue cars, too. For starters, it was the flavour of the month at the 2019 LA Motor Show, which closed out the last motoring year. From the Mustang Mach-E, to the Jeep Gladiator, it seemed that everything was blue on the show floor in LA.
Outside of sunny California, a number of cars revealed in 2019 wore also blue, including the new comprehensively updated Jaguar F-Type, the Pininfarina Battista electric hypercar, new Renault Clio, and Ferrari F8 Tributo.
Blue’s official seal of approval
Blue is even the critic’s choice for 2020. The Pantone Color Institute has announced that Classic Blue is its colour of the year for 2020.
Classic Blue (19-4052) was commended for its reassuring qualities, being ‘suggestive of a sky at dusk’ and ‘imprinted in our psyches as a restful colour’ bringing ‘a sense of peace and tranquility to the human spirit, offering refuge’.
The artistic (if not colourful) language doesn’t stop there: “We are living in a time that requires trust and faith,” said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute.
“It is this kind of constancy and confidence that is expressed by Pantone Classic Blue, a solid and dependable blue hue we can always rely on. Imbued with a deep resonance, Classic Blue provides an anchoring foundation. A boundless blue evocative of the vast and infinite evening sky.
“Classic Blue encourages us to look beyond the obvious to expand our thinking; challenging us to think more deeply, increase our perspective and open the flow of communication.”
Blue by numbers
It’s more than 20 years since blue was the best-selling car colour in the UK. It slipped to second in 2000, just as Messrs Ryan, Webbe, Costa and James were about to storm the pop charts, sending teenage girls into a frenzy.
For blue (the colour), it was less a case of All Rise, and more one of Curtain Falls. Other Blue hits are available.
Figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) suggest that blue held on to second spot until 2005, when it dropped to third until 2010. In 2011 and 2012 it was fifth, but blue was notable for its absence in 2013. It returned to fourth spot in 2014, where it has remained ever since.
In 2018, 381,591 cars were registered in blue, which represents a 16.1 percent market share. It would take a massive shift for blue to break into the top three. The sombre hues of grey, black and white have been the dominant shades for nearly a decade.
Grey was the dominant colour in 2019 overall, but the signs were already there last year that blue was gearing up for a comeback. In third place, with 21 percent popularity, it wouldn’t take much for it to catch up with grey, at 22.1 percent market share. If it jumps 4.9 percent like it did from 2018 to 2019, it’s on to a winner.
In terms of segments, blue was the leader. It lead with a 24.5 percent market share with small cars, and a 28.6 percent market share with medium cars.
Maybe the car manufacturers were trying to tell us something at LA. Our man Richard’s postcards from Los Angeles paint a very blue picture. Forget Fifty Shades of Grey, LA is more like 25 shades of blue.
Leading the charge in LA was Lexus, with its drop-dead gorgeous LC 500 Convertible. It was painted in a glorious shade of Structural Blue, with a blue top thrown in for good measure.
Without going all M&S about this, Structural Blue is no ordinary paint colour. Good luck getting this one colour-matched at your local DIY store.
Lexus says it took 15 years to develop the colour, with its team drawing inspiration from the Morpho butterfly. The production process takes eight months, 12 production steps and 20 quality inspections.
You can read more about the paint here – it’s more interesting than it sounds – but one thing’s for sure: LC 500 drivers are going to fear stone chips like an ice cream seller fears the rain. Following a gritter lorry in a Structural Blue Lexus is a definite no-no.
More evidence of a blue renaissance comes from Alfa Romeo, with the 2020 Stelvio and Giulia showcasing a new Anodised Blue hue. It’s always slightly off-putting to see a Giulia Quadrifoglio in anything other than Alfa Red or Competizione Red, but it certainly wears it well.
Visions in Blue
Still not convinced that blue is the next big thing? The most eye-catching colour available on the Ford Mustang Mach-E is Grabber Blue Metallic, which just happens to be one of three colours available on the limited-run First Edition cars.
Here’s the thing: blue is a very flattering colour – it can work on cars of all shapes and sizes. From slab-sided SUVs to convertibles that look like they’ve been poured from a bottle, blue is light a little black dress: perfect for any occasion.
If car manufacturers are doing their bit to tempt you away from colours more akin to darkness, drizzle and electrical appliances, the least you can do is take the bait. Let’s make blue the number one hue in 2020…