What’s in a name? Shakespeare wrote “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet”. Translation: it doesn’t matter what something is called, it matters what it is.
If that were really the case, however, why do automakers have such imaginative, elaborate, and sometimes confounding names for their car colors? A truck isn’t just red, it’s Victory Red. A Cadillac ATS can’t simply be blue, it must be Opulent Blue. Looking for a new BMW? Would you like Moonstone Metallic or Mojave Metallic?
So why do automakers put so much creative energy into the names of their paint jobs?
The Names of Car Colors Say A lot About the Brand
Overall branding and brand management is one of the most important aspects of a vehicle’s success, and naming paint colors needs to be in line with that brand’s theme. Branding can apply to different makes, such as Ford or Chevrolet, as well as models, such as Mustang and Camaro.
Ram trucks, for example, have a brand theme of outdoors and hard work, particularly angled towards agriculture (see “So God Made a Farmer”), so Ram trucks come in colors such as Western Brown and Prairie Pearl Coat. Sure, Ram could call them dark brown and light brown, but that doesn’t help move the brand’s theme forward.
GMC Sierra trucks, on the other hand, have the “Professional Grade” mantra, with a theme of precision engineering and industry. On this note, GMC pickups can be found in Steel Gray Metallic, Bronze Alloy, or Iridium Metallic.
The Ford Mustang, which is branded with a theme of excitement, power, and speed, comes in colors like Race Red, Deep Impact Blue, and (a personal favorite) Gotta Have It Green.
BMW, one of the leading European luxury brands, focuses on elegance, refinement, and top-of-the-line quality. With cars coming in colors like Orion Silver, Sparkling Bronze, Imperial Blue, and Sophisto Grey, the Bavarians keep the elegance going, all the way down to the paint job.
While the names of colors are far from the biggest factor in spreading a brand’s theme, they do play a role in maintaining the overall focus and feel of individual nameplates.
Car Colors by Automotive Brand Names
Here’s a (relatively) short list of some creatively named car colors from a few of the biggest car brands:
- Copperhead Pearl
- Western Brown
- True Blue
- Black Gold
- Prairie Pearl Coat
- Case IH Red
- Construction Yellow
- Opulent Blue
- Silver Coast
- Glacier Blue
- Mocha Steel
- Radiant Silver
- Sapphire Blue
- Black Ice
- Blue Flame
- Tuxedo Black
- Blue Jeans
- Green Envy
- Storm Grey
- Performance Blue
- Gotta Have It Green
- Blue Granite
- Tungsten Metallic
- Blue Topaz
Surprisingly, when building a 2014 Silverado on Chevy’s website, you can select simply “Black”.
- Tanzanite Blue
- Moonstone Metallic
- Deep Sea Blue
- Mojave Metallic
- Space Gray
- Dolomite Brown
- Iridium Silver
- Palladium Silver
- Lunar Blue
These are just a few examples of the creative, imaginative, and sometimes downright ridiculous names that automakers have given to their paint colors.
So the next time little Jimmy says “Oh look, a blue car!”, you can turn to him and say, “No, son, that’s an Atlantis Blue Metallic 2014 Chevrolet Cruze LTZ.”
McGrath Auto: Serving Iowa City and Cedar Rapids
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We’ll help you find the high quality new or used car you deserve, so work with us today.