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Bland Cars --Do auto makers think we are all sheep?

clarkkentclarkkent Posts: 154
edited March 16 in Cadillac
What is going on??

20 years ago when I was buying new Cads. for my business car I could get any color car or interior I wanted. ie: red, blue, green, yellow, white, orange, etc.

Now all you get is gray or beige! If your real lucky you can get black.

I will not buy a new car unless I get some color!

The auto dealers must think we are all sheep. We will buy what they offer (which is not much)

I agree. Most people are sheep. They just follow.

Subaru offers two colors for their interior. Beige and Gray! That's it!

It's the same for Jeep only they my not offer beige. They may actually only offer gray!

To heck with them all.

I don't want to drive a car just like the other 300 million peole in the US and I don't want an interior that looks like a CASKET!

Anyone else notice this trend??

CK
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Comments

  • bumpybumpy Posts: 4,435
    Everything is a lot more homogenized than it used to be, mostly a result of drives for manufacturing efficiency and cost-cutting. It saves time and money and reduces error for the manufacturer to only have two interior colors available. It also simplifies dealer inventory and carrying costs. Globalization has also wiped out a lot of the uniqueness in design and fitting that once characterized the different manufacturers. These days, a Camry is a Malibu is a Sonata is an Accord, while that wasn't even close to being the case 20 years ago.
  • Geeze, back in 1998 when I bought my first Accord, the only color choices were gray and beige. They still are that way. There hasn't been many cars over the years that have offered anything otherwise.

    Usually the Germans will be the ones to go the next step and offer a lighter cream color and even a jet black interior (good you have no cats :) ) and in 04' and up the Honda has offered an olive green on the Pilot and Ridgeline but only if you got the matching exterior paint scheme.

    But think about it, beige, gray, even cream or ebony, those are inoffensive colors. They're neutral and I'm sure 90% of the buying public doesn't even think twice about why they can't get a red, green or blue leather or fabric.

    I'm guessing that automakers, in the continued quest to reduce costs, found it wasn't worth the time and money to offer an interior color that may appease the other 10% of the population. And if you really want a colored interior, just go to an aftermarket upholstry shop.
  • volvomaxvolvomax Posts: 5,274
    Basically, it comes down to cost and resale.

    Its cheaper for a motor company to offer fewer options.
    The more uniform you can make something,the cheaper it is.
    The japanese rammed this lesson down Detroits throat 20 yrs ago.

    Also, odd cars are harder to resell.
    Most people don't want yellow or orange interiors.

    On the other hand, this is also why the custom car market has exploded.
    If you feel strongly enough, you can get your car pimped out.
  • "pimped out" Does that mean I get scre--d??

    Bad choice of words for the entertainment industry. I'm sorry it has been brought into the auto industry.
  • volvomaxvolvomax Posts: 5,274
    "pimped out" Does that mean I get scre--d??

    Bad choice of words for the entertainment industry. I'm sorry it has been brought into the auto industry.


    Well, it is the correct term for a whacked out car. ;)
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,602
    and I've noticed that color selections are pretty limited. So far the new BMW 128/135 is being offered in two shades of silver, a gray, two blacks, two reds, two blues and Alpine (snow) White. A similar situation prevails with the Audi A3 and A4.

    Could be worse, I guess. When I bought my '79 Honda Accord I had 3 choices, Metallic Blue, Tan or Metallic Red. My '85 Prelude came in Dark Gray, Blue or Red (all metallics.).

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    I'm glad someone brought up exterior colors. It's so true! Many models now, heck whole CARMAKERS in some cases (ahem, TOYOTA, ahem) are offered in three or four colors max. Or they claim to have eight colors, but four of them are just slightly lighter and slightly darker gray/silver. BORING!

    I have always admired the Germans on this score: they seem to offer not only a wider variety of colors, but also NICER colors. VW/Audi especially.

    With regard to interiors, I do appreciate the counter-argument that lighter interior colors tend to wear less well (more easily stained and more readily show scuffing) and that bright unusual colors inside cars tend to be polarizing, but I really can't see how it would cost them much money to offer smaller runs of different colors for the folks that want something different. Costs do not vary among colors do they? Neither would machining costs, it would seem to me.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • volvomaxvolvomax Posts: 5,274
    It does cost money for different colors.
    It also costs time to change out the paint booths.
    To slow down the assembly line for a limited run color.
    When Volvo uses their Pearl White paint it causes all kinds of production headaches.
    Plus, its not just the steel that gets painted either.
    Bumpers, door trim, molding all have to be painted as well.
    Why do you think so many cars have black bumpers and moldings?
    Its cheaper that way.
  • irismgirismg Posts: 345
    Only came in black. What goes around, comes around, I suppose.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,912
    When I bought my '79 Honda Accord I had 3 choices, Metallic Blue, Tan or Metallic Red. My '85 Prelude came in Dark Gray, Blue or Red (all metallics.).

    When did Honda add green to their choices? I know I've seen an occasional Accord from that era in an attractive light metallic green, with a matching interior. I guess they probably switched up the choices from year to year, though. A buddy of mine had a 1980 hatchback in sort of a coppery gold color.
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,154
    The only reason for early cars, especially the Ford Model T, being finished in black was that it was the only color paint that would dry quickly at the time - that was until the invention of DuPont's Duco finishes about a decade or so later.
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,602
    that was until the invention of DuPont's Duco finishes about a decade or so later.

    That's still true of enamel paints used in scale models. Black will dry noticeably faster than any other color.

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • fezofezo Posts: 9,329
    My 80 Accord sedan was a light maybe sea foam green with a matching interior.
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,602
    I remember that color, IIRC the four doors had some different colors than the hatchbacks although that green was used on HBs, I'm not sure which years.

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • fezofezo Posts: 9,329
    Yeah, I'm not sure of the years but I do remember that in 1980 they made boatloads of light blue hatchbacks and light green sedans.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,912
    Interesting...I never caught on to the fact that Honda offered different colors for the sedans, versus the hatchbacks. Did Honda use a clearcoat on their paints back then? One thing I remember about the copperish/orangish 1980 hatchback that my friend had, was that the paintjob seemed unusually deep and rich. And not just for an economy car, but for almost ANY car of that time!

    And at 8-9 years old, it was still nice and shiny. In contrast, my 1980 Malibu's light metallic blue was faded on the trunk, roof, and especially the hood. And oddly, that Accord's paint stayed nice and shiny right up to the point that it flaked off, as it lost its adhesion to the rapidly rusting metal underneath. I really wanted to see how long that Accord would last, as it was kinda interesting to watch the slow degradation of the body. But then it ate its second transmission, and my buddy's father got him a 1986 T-bird.
  • grbeckgrbeck Posts: 2,361
    When the Accord debuted in 1976, it was available in three colors - medium blue, light gold and silver (all metallics). The car was offered in only one body style - three-door hatchback - and the only factory option was the automatic transmission. Even air conditioning had to be installed by the dealer.

    If I recall correctly, the color choices changed when the sedan debuted.

    I remember the light green color and the metallic maroon color - which were available on both the sedan and hatchback. There was also a special edition dark grey metallic near the end of the first generation's run, but that was only available on the sedan, if I recall correctly.

    Honda did apply a clear coat to the Accord's paint, which is why the car looked good on the showroom floor.

    The late, unlamented Lincoln Versailles (aka, the Granada with the fake spare time hump) was the first domestic car to use the clear coat process.
  • fezofezo Posts: 9,329
    I had forgotten about the metallic maroon. I liked the sedan in that color. My brother had an 81 tan Accord sedan. I didn't see many of those.

    Yeah, it had a clearcoat. Mine also had this luggage rack on the back with real wood slats. The previous owner sanded the wood and managed to sand a little clearcoat but the paint held up fine. This car lived for four years three blocks from the ocean, one block from the bay and occasionally in the bay in a bad noreaster so the rust started earlier but I took it to 176K with the original tranny, an unopened engine and almost all original parts. Never replaced a clutch, alternator, starter or anything. Heck, it had 120K before I replaced the battery.

    I had a second generation Accord later on. It was a navy blue and looked great. That one got t-boned with me in it. Neither of us fared well in that but no broken bones and unlike the car I lived to tell the tale.
  • grbeckgrbeck Posts: 2,361
    I had a 1977 Civic (bought used) in the early 1980s, but I took it to the local Honda dealer for service. I remember looking at those Accords on the showroom floor and wanting one so badly...but I was a poor college student lucky to have the Civic.

    I kept thanking my lucky stars that I didn't have to drive my father's 1973 AMC Gremlin.

    I like the second-generation Accord, but rust has claimed virtually all of them around here. At the 2005 Carlisle Import and Kit Replicar Show someone was selling a mint 1984 Accord hatchback for less than $5,000. It sold pretty quickly.
  • fezofezo Posts: 9,329
    Wow! Under $5K? I'll bet it did go quick. Had it been a sedan with a stick and I knew about it I'd have had to buy it. I think our 85 was my wife's favorite car.

    A 77 Civic? Those were the ones you wore more than drove, right? That was one SMALL car.
  • The auto dealers must think we are all sheep.

    It's not just the automotive industry. Look at major label music...it's all bland, middle-of-the-road awful crap. Look at movies...even the "independent studios" are owned by the majors and toned down so that they'll appeal to the widests possible audience. Look at TV...when was the last time you saw a new show on network TV that was unique and cutting-edge and....well, good?

    Car companies are just the same way. They want to make a buck from the smallest amount of investment. If one color or type of vehicle or set of options sells to the widest market, so be it. No more manual transmissions or station wagons in every size or interesting packages/colors (unless they can be dealer installed).
  • If one color or type of vehicle or set of options sells to the widest market, so be it. No more manual transmissions or station wagons in every size or interesting packages/colors (unless they can be dealer installed).

    Check out the Subaru lineup. Impreza, Forester and Legacy/Outback all come in wagon form with manual trannys and cover a good amount of size range. Plus they have fantastic AWD systems, (my little Impreza goes through the snow like a champ).

    Outside of them? You're talking German brands.
  • Aside from the two Subaru wagons (the Forester is more "crossover" or "SUV", but I take your point), there aren't too many affordable (knocking out most of the Germans there) wagons in ranges of sizes. And outside of the 2.5L Subarus, even they get a bit pricy for their interior volume.
  • I'm the one that started this thread. Subaru is one of the biggest offenders in this class! Great Cars, Subaru, I've had 5 of them, and I feel like they are the most "Casket" type of all. You can get Gray or Beige, for the interior. That's it in cloth, The are great "DEAD" cars. I will not buy another Subaru Legacy or Outback or any Jeep GC or Liberty until they put some color in the interior.

    Just one man's opinion.

    PS Subaru and Jeep --- Great Cars! Just ---dull, dull, dull!
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    LOL! No kidding! And how about exterior colors?

    In '97, when I bought my Outback Sport, I had four color choices: white, blue, green, and red, all two-tone over dark gray lower panels.

    Fast forward MORE THAN A DECADE, and for '08 my choices are still limited to four. They took out white, green, and red, and replaced them with non-descript silver, tan, and black.

    :-/

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • I don;t know about before 07', nut when I bought my non-outback Impreza, they had Outbacks in red, blue and green along with the silver, Black and gray.

    My standard model 'Prez also was available in a blue and red color...
  • grbeckgrbeck Posts: 2,361
    hudsonthedog: It's not just the automotive industry. Look at major label music...it's all bland, middle-of-the-road awful crap. Look at movies...even the "independent studios" are owned by the majors and toned down so that they'll appeal to the widests possible audience. Look at TV...when was the last time you saw a new show on network TV that was unique and cutting-edge and....well, good?

    How about Pushing Daisies?

    Anyway, I would disagree, in that you are talking about two different qualities. "Cutting edge" does not necessarily mean "good." Indeed, when it comes to cars, they can be mutually exclusive.

    The Camry, Accord, Fusion or Malibu are not cutting edge or unique. But, they are astonishingly good, especially considered in light of what people were driving even 10 years ago. They are remarkably fast, safe, comfortable, reliable and clean (from an emissions standpoint). Their ride, handling and braking would put a sports car of 20 years ago to shame.

    People forget that the good old days really weren't that good. When we were all at the big fall Hershey AACA meet this past October, we saw the beautifully restored cars from the past.

    What we didn't see was that, in "the good old days," rust was a big problem with most of these cars after 4-5 years in the Salt Belt, that they handled and braked like the Titanic, that a split bench seat was considered a major ergonomic advance, and that 15-16 mpg was considered "economical."

    Most of the "distinction" was in color combinations and outrageous or really beautiful style. But the differences were largely superficial and cosmetic. Sure, you could buy a Mark IV or Mark V in four different "designer" editions in addition to all of the factory colors, but they were all the same old softly suspended, cramped, overblown, gas-guzzling land yacht underneath.

    The engines were pedestrian V-8s hooked up to automatic transmissions. As someone who grew up in the 1970s, the choices were largely limited to boring but soft (my parents' 1976 Oldsmobile Delta 88 Royale hardtop sedan) or so awful you almost considered walking to be a viable alternative (my parents' 1973 AMC Gremlin).

    Yes, a Gremlin may have more "personality" than a Civic...but then, so does Rosie O'Donnell compared to most beauty queens. That is not always a good thing...
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,912
    Here's a paint chip chart for the 1976 Pontiac.

    Eighteen different color choices (there's only 17 shown; they don't show black).

    And for some reason, 1976 was a bit of a down year for choices. They had something like 25 choices in 1975, and 23 in 1977.

    And to be fair, some of the colors are pretty awful, so more choice isn't always a good thing! :P
  • ...they are astonishingly good, especially considered in light of what people were driving even 10 years ago...

    I agree (on the above point and "Pushing Daisies"). But the progression of technology and quality in the past 10-20-30 years and the regression of fun-to-drive are at odds. I can fully recommend almost any car on the market today to friends and relatives without fear of them getting a bad car. It's the rare car today that leaves something to desire in terms of reliability and basic quality, but it's also the rare car today that you would ENJOY owning.

    Personality is a quality like beauty...it's in the eye of the beholder. There are many people who enjoy Rosie O'Donnell over other comedians...there are many people who would prefer a Gremlin over a Civic...and there are many people who would turn those things around.

    I have odd tastes and my cars usually show it. I do not recommend my tastes in cars to everyone because I know they probably won't agree with me. I do, however, recommend cars with some sort of personality...something less bland and vanilla than a Malibu or Camry.

    Since I have worked in the new car business and in the historic car business (simultaneously) for many years, I understand your point about those cars at Hershey. But manufacturers can use their economies of scale to combine the parts and quality of a mass market vehicle (Malibu, Accord, Fusion, etc) and make a fun-to-drive, reliable, and unique vehicle that would appeal to the minority of us who prefer not to drive what the sheep are driving.

    I've found these cars in the past, but they're getting harder and harder to find.
  • 08blackrt08blackrt Posts: 10
    I don't like wood, especially FAKE wood inside, or on the outside of my vehicle. I don't want a lot of chrome inside or out either. I don't want a tan, brown, or beige colored interior, and especially, a brown, tan, or beige exterior! I don't want a "frosty" green or blue exterior, a white, or a pale yellow one either. I don't have a problem with medium gray to black interiors at all. One of the things I dislike about my Charger's interior is it's two-toned. If it was all the darker grey, I would like it much better. For exterior colors, nothing beats bright red, black, Petty blue, or black.

    If you want color inside the car, you can have someone paint the trim any color you want. I have a friend who has a black Ram with a lot of the interior trim painted bright red. I like it, but it's nothing I would want to pay for, or even do myself..

    Baaaaahhhhhhhh! :)
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