TV Stations and White SUVs
May 10, 2005 6:58 PM   Subscribe

Why do TV stations (or any other news organization) have a fleet of white SUVs?

I live next to a local TV station and their parking lot is full of white SUVs. Mostly Jeep Cherokees and Ford Explorers. What's so great about them? Do they serve a real purpose? Do they look more offical or important? Is that the same reason the UN uses them? Are they supposed to be easier to identify? Then why not blaze orange or lime green?
posted by BradNelson to Travel & Transportation (7 answers total)
 
Fleet vehicles are often white so they are easier to replace and sell when you're ready to upgrade.
posted by letterneversent at 7:15 PM on May 10, 2005


For the same reasons letterneversent gave,though this time from the car dealers' point of view, fleet vehicles are also cheaper when you buy them in white.
posted by bunglin jones at 7:52 PM on May 10, 2005


Also, in war zones and the like - plain white SUVs (especially Toyotas) are pretty accepted shorthand for noncombatant NGO/Media/UN vehicles. To the point that, when US special forces used unmarked white Landcruisers in Afghanistan, there were protests about it - and I believe it was even cited as one of the reasons MSF left that country.
posted by kickingtheground at 8:09 PM on May 10, 2005


TV photographers carry lots of gear in big, heavy cases: camera(s), tripods, lights, and make-up for the reporters. SUVs are pretty much a necessity. At my old station, we had one SUV and three cars, and we were in the process of upgrading to all SUVs. Also, yes, many stations do lease the vehicles, so that is a major factor.
posted by MrZero at 8:29 PM on May 10, 2005


Anyone who spends a significant amount of time in their car will want it to be white for the simple reason that it stays cooler in the sun. On hot days, no amount of air conditioning will keep a dark-coloured car cool, and that can be really annoying for TV crews parked somewhere for hours trying to cover an event.
posted by randomstriker at 9:23 PM on May 10, 2005


All reasons above are valid.
Currently Ford or GM fleet SUVs are cheaper in bulk and have long history of fleet uses. It also means the parts are easier and cheaper to get. I.E. Police departments are still buying Crown Victorias even after big law suits... mainly due to parts are already in stock in their garages. Trying to replace those cars/suvs would cost double fold now. Most foreign vehicles used to have more expensive imported parts and are geared toward consumer use.

White paints are dries faster and easier to match for spot painting. Thus lower cost. A company with fleet have easier time keeping their vehicles clean with white paint jobs. (dust are harder to see)

Most logos and numbers are easier to match and applied to white backgrounds.

This is why most companies go for white vehicles.
posted by curiousleo at 10:16 PM on May 10, 2005


Also, news outlets sometimes don't want to be noticed... I was once following a planned protest with a reporter and we stayed in the Jeep until the protesters actually started... our goal was to see them protest then cover that news, not to come out with a camera and let them perform for us.
posted by clgregor at 12:14 PM on May 11, 2005


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