Does the color of your car affect the chances of theft or accident? When you look at the statistics, there are several constants that repeat themselves, such as places, models, brands, and circumstances. For example, Guadalajara, Jalisco, is the municipality in the entire country where the most cars have been stolen since 2018. The Nissan Tsuru model is the most stolen in Mexico and 60% of the robberies occur with violence.
But does color really increase a car’s chances of getting into an accident or being stolen?
There are indeed several motivators behind the choice of stolen vehicles, however, there are also facts and fiction about car colors as a factor in theft or accident. For years, red cars have been associated with all kinds of unfortunate events. There is a rumor that the police often stop red cars for speeding. Another suggests that red cars are more expensive to insure. Or that it is more likely that, among all the models parked on a sidewalk, the red one is the one stolen.
The colors of cars with the most accidents
Some research has revealed that black vehicles are the most dangerous on the road. A study by the Citywide Law Group, a law firm in Los Angeles, California, found that you are 47% more likely to have an accident in a black vehicle.
“Visibility seems to be the determining factor. Black cars can be difficult to see, especially at night. Black cars also tend to blend in with their surroundings, making it difficult for other drivers to see the dark vehicle,” the study notes.
Gray cars are also associated with a higher chance of being involved in an accident. This color is associated with an 11% higher risk than the safest car. Once again, the reason for the correlation between color and collision risk is visibility. Gray cars can be hard to see.
Since visibility seems to be the determining factor when looking at car color and accident risk, you might think red is a safe choice. While red tends to be associated with a lower risk of accidents than black and gray cars, it is not necessarily the color with the fewest crashes.
According to Citywide Law Group research, yellow is the safest car color, closely followed by white.
What is the most stolen car color?
Data from the Mexican Association of Insurance Institutions (AMIS) show that red cars are not the most stolen either. The most stolen models are white.
This trend is not new. Data from 2012 from the then Federal District Attorney General’s Office (PGJDF) revealed that 57% of the cars stolen in the country’s capital that year were white. In second place were those of gray color, with 28%, while those of black color were in third position, with 10% of the total.
Only 8% of cars stolen 10 years ago were red. And the stats have remained largely unchanged ever since.
“There are colors that tend to be more likely to be stolen or damaged, but this is actually due to a statistical issue,” explains Arnulfo González, Manager of Product, Price and Planning at Volkswagen de México. “One of the biggest production and sales colors is white, so if we see that there are many white cars that crash or are stolen, it is because there are more cars in that color circulating,” he adds.
Why are white cars stolen more?
White cars are the best sellers not only in Mexico, but globally. The latest Global Automotive Color Popularity Report from Axalta, a manufacturer of automotive paints, reveals that the majority of cars on the road are white (35%), followed by black (19%) and gray (19%).
The continued dominance of white shouldn’t be too surprising, given that it’s often the hue of choice for vehicles targeting business fleets. “20% of the cars sold in Mexico are for fleets and practically all models of this type are white,” Gonzalez details.
The best-selling cars on the market are also the most attractive and lucrative for the black market. According to AMIS data, of the total number of stolen cars, seven out of 10 are sold again, 1.5 are robbed and sold in parts and the other 1.5 are used to commit other crimes.
Selling white parts on the informal market will be much better than auto parts for a special edition model.
What colors are the least stolen?
If red isn’t really a magnet for carjacking gangs and white is the most popular color on the black market, what’s on the other side of the spectrum? What color car is least likely to be reported stolen? Not that any color is exempt from theft; however, bold colors are less flashy.
A brightly colored car, such as yellow or orange, will be easy to identify when committing an offense. Bright-colored parts aren’t as popular either because less than 3% of cars sold globally are neon green or yellow, according to the Axalta study. It is much more difficult to resell a neon green car than a white one.
Does the color of the car influence the cost of the policy?
Pedro Muro, director of claims at Zurich Mexico, explains that the price of insurance is directly proportional to the level of risk.
The color of the vehicle is one of the factors to consider, but it is not the only one. “The price of a policy takes into account several factors: the model, the brand, the security technology that the vehicle has, the area, the age of the driver…”, he details.
Muro points out that the price of a policy is highly variable, however, he assures that “if you have fewer claims, the safest thing is that the price of the policy will be lower”.