Ireland's Publication for the refinishing & associated Industries

Are car colour names getting out of hand?

Motorists are unable to differentiate between the colours of popular household paint brands, and the descriptions provided by automakers.

A study by UK leasing comparison site,, shows that consumers don’t know their ‘Norfolk Mustards’ from their ‘Broccoli Browns’.

And it might all be a waste of time anyway, given that both Ireland’s and the UK’s most popular new car colour is grey (SIMI/SMMT).

‘Norfolk Mustard’ and ‘Mystic Olive Green’, car colours of Lotus and Hyundai, caused the greatest confusion amongst respondents to the study, with 61 per cent believing the former to be a wall paint and 54 per cent believing the same for ‘Mystic Olive Green’.

Other examples include BMW’s ‘Thunder Night’, with 67 per cent guessing incorrectly that it was a wall paint. ‘Truffle Mica’ of Lexus also left almost half (46%) of respondents baffled and bemused.

Whilst car marketing is known for the occasional hit and miss, it would seem domestic paint maker Farrow & Ball has respondents convinced that ‘Broccoli Brown’ is a car colour with just under a third (31%) believing so.

Seemingly, Benjamin Moore’s ‘Warmed Cognac’ similarly fooled 43 per cent of people into believing it to be a car colour.

The survey looked at 19 colours, from both car and the domestic paint companies, to understand why automotive brands are choosing such names.

David Timmis, MD, said that whilst car colours are becoming increasingly imaginative, consumer buying behaviour suggests a continued preference for more traditional shades.

“This survey shows how creative car manufacturers are getting, yet the results of the survey suggest that fun as they may be, they may just be confusing motorists and a distraction to them getting into their next car,” he said.