White, Grey, Silver, Black, Charcoal, Beige, then the same Blue and Red. Looking through the color pallet on cars from the last 15 years has been a slog. At one point when I walked onto the lot of a Mazda dealership while helping my mother look for a car, I called an optometrist because I thought I may have gone color blind. Do you remember back in the 1990s when you could buy a pink GMC Sonoma, a Teal Honda Civic, or a purple Ford Escort? Volkswagen even took it to the next level back then with their Harlequin Golf in Europe where it came in four different colors, at the same time.
It was a golden era for car colors but it seems like everything else in the 2000s, everything got boring. Your Electron Blue Pearls and Pink Coral Micas were replaced with Desert Sand Mica and Seaside Pearl Mica, aka those generic earth tones Toyota had on everything. Yes, you could still get super cars or the occasional special edition sports car in an exciting color but that’s really where it ends.
With the exception of some Asian countries, this seems to be a very American phenomenon for buyers to stay within the monochrome scale as many European markets have wide ranging color palates available. Renault for instance has a bright blue, yellow and orange option for their Megane Sport and Skoda even allows you to have a light blue Citigo with multiple accent colors for the roof and mirrors!
Since the recession we have seen a resurgence in exciting colors, luckily. The second generation Honda Fit had Blue Raspberry Metallic, which was arguably Honda’s best teal color and the Mitsubishi Mirage debuted with Plasma Purple, a loud retro 90’s pink hue. But even then, manufacturers have had one or maybe two exciting colors on their pallet lately but VW has gone all in with their new Spektrum Program with 40 new colors available to the Golf R and only 10 of them are variants of silver or grey.
The new color palate has colors from Volkswagen’s past such as Ginster Yellow, originally found on the 1997 Driver’s Edition GTI, but also has new colors that pay homage to Volkswagen’s history of excellent colors. At the cost of an extra $2,500 Volkswagen will build a Golf R in any requested color on this list, they expect to have a two to four month build time until the car is ready for delivery.
Volkswagen also pulls some colors from their other lines like Viper Green, found on the Mk3 Scirocco and Lamborghini Huracan. With a company like Volkswagen with such far reach across the automotive spectrum, I like that they’re taking the effort to give enthusiasts the ability to choose essentially any color they want. Part of me wants to complain about the $2,500 up charge but I’m not terribly bothered by this since brands like Mercedes have been doing this for years.
Overall it is a good thing that we’re seeing more of the color spectrum explored by automakers. Volkswagen could have very easily just said “silver, black and grey have the highest take rate so we won’t stray from that.” That is a fact by the way, that’s why you see so many non-car enthusiast people driving cars that are that color.
I will say that this new color palate makes the car much more desirable. If I was in the market for a Golf R, I would absolutely spring for the Spektrum colors. Volkswagen will soon be updating their online builder tool for buyers to configure their own car. This is exciting to say the least and I hope more manufacturers stray from this whole monochrome plus red and blue palate scheme they’ve stuck to for so long.