JAMIE LAREAU

Forget the basics, Ford's new car colors bear golden names

Automotive News | October 13, 2011 - 4:04 pm EST

A Kodiak Brown bear drinks Ginger Ale from a Frosted Glass.

It sounds like a nursery rhyme.

But those are the carefully developed names of Ford Motor Co.'s new color choices for its upcoming vehicles.

Gone are basic names such as brown or gold. Ford says colors should mirror the personality of the vehicle. And subsequently resonate with the driver.

For instance, Kodiak Brown is not merely brown. It's a "deep brown with slight warm highlights," Ford says. The fashion industry would pair it with black, caramels, blues and greens.

Ford derived the name from the Alaskan Kodiak bear "for its richness and strong presence."

Ford has not said which vehicles will, um, bear the color initially.

Ginger Ale will make a splash on the redesigned Ford Escape crossover at the Los Angeles Auto Show next month.

Now don't assume Ginger Ale is gold.

The name is meant to elicit the notion of refreshing energy. The color is "a classic gold neutral with slight green undertones," Ford says. The hue is found naturally in rocks, minerals, beaches, jewelry, gems and textiles.

Frosted Glass will be a signature color for the Ford Focus Electric compact car due out later this year.

I admit Ford stumped me with the name Frosted Glass. Um, is that silver?

Ford explained: It's an icy light green meant to "elicit a sense of calm, relaxation and tranquility, remindful of a spa or warm tropical waters."

I chuckle at the fancy names. To me, my car is white. So I dug out the window sticker and low and behold, it's actually Cosmic White.

Ford says the name matters because customers become emotionally connected to names. I'll be honest, I don't feel any differently about my car knowing it's Cosmic White instead of just white.

But Ford's research also shows nearly 40 percent of car buyers say they would not buy a vehicle if they could not get it in the color they want.

Fortunately, most customers want the basics: white, black and silver.

Yet there is rising demand for new flashy shades. Ford's Lime Squeeze on the 2010 Ford Fiesta subcompact is one example. Its success proves the basics and the brilliants can coexist.

After all, I'm sure there are drivers who get in their vehicle hoping to feel like an Alaskan bear climbing over golden rocks to get to tropical waters for some tranquility.

Jamie LaReau covers Ford Motor Co. for Automotive NewsJamie LaReau covers Ford Motor Co. for Automotive News

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