Ever since 1978 (Oct 4, 12.34 pm), the dominant colour range used in car interiors has been tending towards the cool: that would be grey, blue, black.
Up until that time most manufacturers offered upholstery, carpet and plastic trim in colours such as ivy green, navy blue, light blue, orange-brown, mid-green, red, bordeaux (what the Truth About Cars insists on calling Bordello Red). I have been looking at colour lately and first noticed a more daring use of tans and browns in concept cars (the most concept-y aspect of most of them) and now this trend feeding into production car interiors. Here is my evidence: the new Hyundai i20.
Now, it´s not the whole door but a substantial part of the door and this enough to lift what could be a quite monotonous interior, colourwise.
I think that if there will be one thing that will be different in the new period of colour, it is that colour will be used as major accents and not be as dominant as they were in the 70s. At that time the interiors of cars were made of few components and so when a colour was chosen it had to be very much the main colour for all the trim. Further, there was the exterior colour to contend with and often there was visible metal inside most cars which, these days, is not the case. Notice how the designer match part break-up and colour break-up. In 1978 this would have been a flat vinyl panel with a few items screwed onto it. This part complexity allows a new colour complexity.
Hyundai have also used a pleasing modern technical fabric for the seat inserts. The whole assemblage results in an already neat and professional design getting a big lift in its emotional appeal. Not only have Hyundai offered this warm terra-cotta/brick brown but they also have a very pleasant cool, bright blue along with Don´t Notice Me grey for conformists and a tan for people who only want to push the boat out as far as their arms can reach.
I have read various* reviews of this car and none have hinted that Hyundai has latched onto colour as another means to woo customers. While this new choice will not save or damn this car in the market, I see it as the use of an often overlooked method to lure customers who can otherwise not seen any obvious differences in the products in whatever sector they are looking at. You can´t see gadgets in one glance; technical parameters appeal to the head. Colour magically bypasses reason. For some customers this kind of feature will be enough to overpower their decision-making apparatus. As it happens, the i20 is class competitive. Those who don´t like colour can always opt for grey and grey. However, if given the choice between the same old thing from Ford, Opel, VW and Peugeot, I think a noticeable number of buyers will be opting for the Hyundai simply because it offers something they can see and enjoy immediately.
*Car Magazine´s review is another in a recent spate of “it´s quite good but we still don´t like it” articles. Doh.