BMW designer says Apple made white cars popular

Apple's lineup of white electronics made the color valuable again.

A recent study confirms that black's reign as the most popular color for new cars in the United States has been overthrown by white.

In 2011, about 20 percent of new cars purchased in the U.S. were ordered in white, a color that has long been billed as complicated to keep clean. Some industry insiders believe that the color's recent comeback is the direct result of Apple promoting white iPods, iPads and iMac computers.

"Prior to Apple, white was associated with things like refrigerators or the tiles in your bathroom. Apple made white valuable," explained Sandy McGill, BMW Designworks' lead designer in color, materials and finish.

The story is a little different outside of the U.S. Black and gray are still the most popular new car colors in Europe while silver and white come out on top in Asia. Whether or not there is a correlation between the rising popularity of white in Asia and Apple products remains to be proven.

White is not expected to retain the top spot in the color kingdom for very long. McGill and others in her field expect that blue, orange and brown will become the next must-have colors all around the world, especially in premium segments.

Photo by Andrew Ganz.