If the photos taken by our man in LA are anything to go by, the world’s carmakers are feeling blue. Quite strange, given the fact that we’re being encouraged to go green.
Maybe the car manufacturers are trying to tell us something. Is blue destined to become the colour to be seen in next year? Perhaps we should ask Trinny and Susannah. Are they still the go-to women for fashion advice?
Richard’s postcards from Los Angeles paint a very blue picture. Forget Fifty Shades of Grey, LA is more like 25 shades of blue.
It’s 20 years since blue was the best-selling car colour in the UK, which keeps detailed records of what hue new cars are painted in. 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.
Blue Turns to Grey
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.
Last year, 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.
Leading the charge is Lexus, with its drop-dead gorgeous LC 500 Convertible. The LA stunner is painted in a glorious shade of Structural Blue, with a blue top thrown in for good measure.
Tangled up in Blue
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…