Frequent visitors to China (like more than half of the Momentum Works team) would notice something quite conspicuous:
Almost half of the cars you see on the road are … white.
The colour is more present than any other:
Even this aerial view of an epic jam is quite telling:
So why are white cars so popular in China? We asked a few car owners (there are a lot of them among the people we know, obviously). It seems the primary reason is practical: dusts and minor scratches are hardly noticeable on white cars, while they are very obvious on darker bodies:
Silver cars are also less prone to dust. However, the few people we spoke to (who own white cars) all said the same about silver cars: “they look dull, and cheap.”
Of course, white cars have other advantages. For example, they absorb less heat in summer (most places in China are hotter than Southeast Asia in July and August), and they are more noticeable at night (some study suggests they are 47% more noticeable than black cars).
Compared to other light colours, white also withstands time. You are much less likely to grow weary about white than dark blue or light green.
Another fact, well maybe it is more appropriate to call it illusion rather than fact, is that white cars look bigger than black ones of the same size:
While the popularity of white cars is probably more conspicuous in China than in other countries, data from coatings company PPG have indicated that white is indeed the preferred colour across all continents.
And this trend seems to be accelerating. The same study by PPG in 2012 showed that white occupied 23% of all car builds in Asia Pacific – the number in 2016 already reached 47%.
Meanwhile, more white cars are being shipped across China, probably further enhancing its lead in the colours:
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