‘Today, people’s choice of colour is a reflection of their personality,’: Shashank Srivastava | Autocar Professional

Over the years, a car has evolved from being just a mode of transport to being an extension of the consumer’s personality. Shashank Srivastava, Senior Executive Officer, Sales and Marketing at Maruti Suzuki, takes us through the evolving trend of colours over the years and what they have come to signify. 

In the case of lighter colours, smaller vehicles have lighter colours, to make the car look bigger and darker colours make it look smaller. 

Traditionally, if you go to see, the Maruti 800 and the Alto, the preference was always white and silver. In smaller cars, the preferred colours are classic colours such as white. In earlier days, lighter colours meant less experimentation, he explained.

“In the earlier days the Indian automotive industry was not experimentative, there were no crossovers, there were the same shape vehicles. Cars meant functionality at that time, so there was lesser preference for blues, greens and yellows, for example.”

As consumers evolved, there was more experimentation. For instance, a popular colour preference for the Jimny is the Kinetic Green, which indicates sportiness, explained Srivastava. 

“The colour choice depends on the stage of evolution the customer is in”, he said. 

Further explaining colour and preferences from an auto manufacturer’s perspective, he explained that in the earlier days, there were larger mass models and the costs of colour also varied. Taking the example of yellow, he said that he said that the pigment was expensive and this was also one reason for lesser colors back then, so the cost of colour also affected the choice of colour in the market. 

“Today dual tone colours are more expensive,” he added. 

Further explaining the rationale in buying cars, he said that when a family usually picks a car, ‘the least disliked colour will pass muster,’ for example silver and grey. The least disliked colour depends on how the decision about the car is being made, with younger people preferring bolder colours but the parents preferring neutral colours. 

Similarly, people who want a sporty look will opt for yellows and reds. “If you see Ferraris, they are usually reds and yellows, as they are associated with sports.”

Along the same lines, heads of states will choose darker colours, as they represent a premiumness, stature, and status. 

“Choice of colour also depends on the profession and the type of vehicle.” 

Over the years, colours have changed with changing fashion trends as well. Taking the example of phones and even what is worn to work, he talks of how now there are yellow and green coloured phones and even office wear is changing. 

In an interesting revelation, he said that first the trend is seen in clothes and then taken to automobiles. Blue comprises 30% of the sales of Nexa. It indicates elegance and sophistication. 

Another trend that is emerging is the factor of advertising and brand positioning. For example, Swift in advertisements is red, whereas in Dzire, it is light blue and orange. These are not necessarily high selling but it is the brand positioning. 

For instance, the most selling colour for the Swift is white, but red is advertised, as it signifies action, excitement, adventure. 

“So, essentially, the character of the colour is chosen, but it may not be the best-selling colour.”

Earlier, people avoided being different, but now people want to wear their identities as an extension of their cars. 

“Now, people are more open to showing what they stand for. The choice of colour (for cars) is a reflection of their personality. It is an image of the person itself. They are not afraid to show what they stand for, be it environmental sustainability, or LGBTQ, people are open to taking a stand.”

Colour preference 

Taking the case of Nexa, he explains that white is the most preferred, then it is blue, then grey and silver, and then black. 

In the earlier days, black was not seen as an auspicious colour, but now it is changing. Black in big cars shows luxury, power and sophistication, Srivastava explained. 

Talking of his favourite colour, Srivastava said it is red. “The first Maruti 800 I got was a red. My favourite is red. I like dual tones, where the body is red and the roof is black,” he signed off. 



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