Ford Car Buyers Embracing Black Wheel Option

What once was an aftermarket niche now is becoming a middle-of-the-road trend as black wheels find their way on family haulers, Ford’s marking manager says.

Byron Pope, Associate Editor

October 26, 2012

2 Min Read
Ford says 25 of Flex buyers in California choose black wheels
Ford says 25% of Flex buyers in California choose black wheels.

A growing trend toward black wheels that began with motorsports enthusiasts is turning into a cash cow for Ford.

Black wheels are popular among the street-racing crowd not only for their hot looks but also because they hide brake dust well.

But what was an aftermarket niche now is becoming a middle-of-the-road trend as black wheels are as likely to be seen on family haulers, such as the Ford Flex cross/utility vehicle, as they are on the Mustang GT muscle car, Ford Marketing Manager Dan Corsetti says.

“The popularity has been fantastic,” he tells WardsAuto. “We’re hesitant to project take rates because we like to react to market demand, but we’ve been pleasantly surprised with demand for (black wheels).”

However, he does say the take rate for the wheels on the Flex is 25%, the highest among Ford’s lineup. And in the Los Angeles area, black wheels are chosen by half of all Flex buyers. Consumers who purchase black wheels also are partial to colors that contrast well with the darkened rims, and with the Flex they most often prefer the CUV in white or silver.

The second most-popular Ford car with black wheels is the Focus C-car, and most customers choose white.

“The black wheel trend has been building for years,” Corsetti says. “They are now moving away from (car buyers) with sporting aspirations to those who like the high contrast of the color of the wheel and the car.”

Ford offers the black-wheel option on the Flex, Focus, Mustang, F-150, Edge, Explorer and Taurus, but Corsetti says the auto maker is considering expanding the option offering.

Black wheels don’t come cheap. Ford customers pay $495 to have them mounted on the Flex and Focus and $695 on the Taurus. However, theall-new ’13 Explorer Sport comes standard with 20-in. black wheels.

The black wheel trend likely reflects a growing desire for consumers to exhibit their individuality through their vehicles, says Susan Ford chief designer-colors and materials.

“This is just the beginning of what might be a larger trend in which all vehicle accessories take on different styles and colors,” she says, noting trims, stitching and interiors may soon start appearing in different colors and designs.

White, for example, is beginning to appear more frequently in clothing and architecture. Swek also points to DuPont’s 2011 Automotive Color Popularity report that shows white continues to be the most-popular car color in North America.

“White seems to convey the present moment,” she says. “It’s modern.”

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About the Author(s)

Byron Pope

Associate Editor, WardsAuto

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