Why Tesla Has Fewer Paint Choices – Or Does It?


A post on Reddit questions why Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) doesn’t offer the Model S in more paint colors. However, the company is pretty much in line with most other popular cars in terms of the number of colors. It may be simply that the other colors just aren’t that common.

Tesla’s Model S in a wide array of colors

If you’ve been lucky enough to see a Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) Model S driving around, you’ve probably only seen it in a handful of colors. Black and white are the standard colors and are pretty common. I’ve seen a white one, actually, but I’ve also seen a red one, which is probably less common because it requires multiple coats, according to Tesla’s website. The other color which requires multiple coats is “pearl white.” And then we have the metallic colors, which are silver, blue, green, brown and grey.

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How Tesla stacks up to others

So what about other automakers? Just as an example, the Toyota Prius comes in seven different paint colors. The Ford Fusion comes in ten different colors, according to the automaker’s website. So Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) isn’t really limiting the colors on purpose. It may simply be that the other colors are less common. Besides, getting a red Model S raises the price of the car because it requires multi layers. The metallic colors are also more expensive, although less expensive than the multi-layer colors.

The Reddit poster does note that Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) builds its cars to order, unlike the other automaker. The idea seems to be that Tesla should offer more colors because it builds to order. However, as one poster noted, it is far more cost-effective to build cars in batches of a specific color. Aside from the extra work which is probably required for the colors other than black and white, it probably makes more sense for Tesla to charge more for those other colors because of how much more cost-effective it is to batch-paint cars.