BMW designer: Apple changed the color of cars, made white valuable

Silver was the most popular exterior car color in America for nearly a decade. But while it remains beloved by automotive designers for best showing off a car’s styling, its unstinting argent reign was finally overthrown this year. By white. According to Sandy McGill, BMW Designworks’ lead designer in color, materials, and finish, this is Steve Jobs’ doing. “Prior to Apple, white was associated with things like refrigerators or the tiles in your bathroom. Apple made white valuable.”

Via Fortune’s Phillip Elmer-Dewitt. More info and link here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Jax44” for the heads up.]


      1. I think it’s just mopar period. I work at a Chrysler dealership and Red flakes up within 5 years usually. Well it’s the clear coat not the base. But it seems to often be red vehicles. I live in Florida though, and dark colors heat up pretty quickly as hot as it gets here.

        1. I had a 1985 Plymouth Horizon, dark red, and never had any problems with the paint. Rust, yes, but that was upstate NY and all the salt they use on the roads in the winter.

          Car lasted for 10 years and 200000 miles before a manifold cracked and it would have cost more to replace than the car was then worth.

    1. One place I might expect a move to white would be with audio/video equipment, but it isn’t happening (yet). So much of it remains black, a remnant of late 1970s when the color was promoted as “professional”. Almost all my old gear is black or grey, but recently picked up a Snell CLS “center” speaker … in white.

  1. I have a white Jeep. My wife has a white Toyota 4Runner. My daughter has a white VW Beetle. We are also an Apple family with shares of stock since 1998. The car colors, a coincidence?

  2. I miss pea-green appliances or that poop brown that was all the rage once.

    On a more serious note, I agree, silver cars tend to blend into the pavement, give me green, orange or blue any day!

  3. White is the best color for card because if reflects heat, making cars much cooler in summer. No, black does not warm cars in the winter because the sun is much lower in the sky for fewer hours and there are more cloudy days. In Japan, 90% of cars are white.

    1. Wow, does everyone drive with a video camera in their car? That IS some of the craziest random driving I’ve seen. Car repair shops must be a booming business. Half the time, it seemed like the cars had broken axles, the way they just pulled left or right.

  4. My goodness, I bet if Apple coloured their next iWhatever to look like it just fell out of mountain lion’s bum all the fanboys would waste no time in clambering after it.

    1. Well my goodness gracious to you, as my old maid aunt used to say…incessantly. Seems, though, the article is quoting lead designer for BMW about the car buying public, not about “fanboys”, unless you assume Apple owners buy most cars sold or drive our car culture in aesthetic decision making. Considering the aesthetics of Apple’s product line and its adoption by other manufacturers, the latter might be true.

    2. Better to look like it, than to be like Windows and Android actually taking what falls out of a wild animal’s bum and trying to force it down their fanboy’s throats.

  5. Has to be the right white for me – an icy polar-white that doesn’t yellow with age.

    That said, I’ll stick to silver, red or black. Never feel quite right in other shades.

    Warning – don’t buy green. It seems to turn a car stealth-invisible where other drivers are concerned, and gets thumped from start to finish.

  6. great. the two worst colors for cars: shows all the dirt is invisible in overcast or foggy weather (especially since so many drivers are too dim to turn on their lights in times of low visibility).

    Apple has had no impact on our car buying, period. Microsoft, on the other hand, has. We have consciously AVOIDED any vehicle that offers MS infotainment crap.

    Of course, that is redundant, isn’t it? An iPad is so much less expensive and superior to built-in automotive electronics, it’s hard to fathom why anyone buys dashboard-mounted garbage.

  7. Sandy, your company hasn’t made a truly attractive automobile since Klaus Kapitza penned the timeless classic 850i.

    After a lost decade of disgusting Bangle design corruption, your company has continued to falter. Who would turn to the BMW Design today for fashion editorials?

    People in the know seek guidance from world-class designers like Walter da Silva.

  8. Am I the only one who is increasingly angered by noisy random self-starting videos about anything but Apple issues polluting these comment threads? Russian car crashes are perhaps less objectionable than campaign attack ads, but only just. Webmaster, please screen!!!!!

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