There’s another victim to the global supply-chain disruption monster: car colors. Manufacturers in Europe are now offering slimmed-down color options in order to get vehicles out the doors and into the hands of customers faster.
According to Reuters, this is a major reversal for the industry. Normally, automakers focus on customization of cars, but now they are following Tesla, who doesn’t offer very many choices when it comes to customization.
Renault is offering a “Fast track” on its Arkana crossover. It guarantees a new car in at most 30 days, which is a big jump over the average wait time of five months.
That being said, customers only have three color choices: black, pearl-white and gray. The full color range has six options. There’s only one trim level – the RS Line – and there is only one engine choice. The outlet says Fast-track orders accounted for half of all Arkana registrations in France last month. Renault says if a buyer requests additional options, delivery isn’t guaranteed.
I guess you can look at it as a throwback to the early days of mass production, when Henry Ford said you can have a Model T in any color... as long as it’s black. Good guy, that Henry. Don’t Google “Henry Ford anti-Semitic.”
Renault isn’t the only company pairing down choices. Automotive News is reporting Tesla’s German factory is only building black and white Model Y’s right now. Specifically, the colors are “solid black” and “pearl white multi coat.”
If a customer chooses red, blue or silver, the Model Y will be supplied from the company’s Shanghai factory and won’t arrive until March of 2023 at the earliest. But, if they go for black or white, they’ll get a new Model Y this year.
A source close to Renault told Reuters the French carmaker expects these simplified offers to increase across the industry because supply-chain problems will not end soon.
“It sends the message that reducing commercial and technical diversity is compatible with good business,” the source said.
A 2020 analysis from automotive consultant J.D. Power said that across the automotive industry, 98 percent of model combinations sell fewer than 50 units each and cumulatively account for only 25 percent of total sales.
The other 2 percent? That accounts for three-quarters of sales.
So, it seems customers have a choice. Do they want a color, or do they want a car?