Plan Insurance Blog

What the UK’s Most Popular Car Colour?

Some things never stay the same. But, thankfully, one thing is reliably constant. According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), the UK’s most popular new car colour is grey for the 4th consecutive year.

It accounted for 24.8% of all new cars registered last year. That was up from a market share of 24.4% during 2020.

According to the industry body, the colour has increased its dominance as the UK’s favourite new car colour because it is ‘sleek’ and has ‘wider resale appeal’. A resell-able colour is more important than ever in the booming second-hand market.

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So, what do we love grey?

  • It’s a safe choice for dealers compared to coloured cars
  • It’s well suited to black trims and darker wheels
  • It’s a compromise (quite literally) between two other extremely popular colours, black and white.

Things are black, white and grey with new car colours

Black was the most popular car in Britain from 2009 to 2012. 20.5% of passenger cars were black. UK drivers were most likely to choose a monochrome car for the 11th year running.

Around 60% of all new cars joining British roads in 2021 were painted in black, white or grey, although blue edged closer to the top three recently, increasing its sales for the first time in five years and trailing just 2,638 units behind white. 17% of all new cars sold last year were white.

SMMT Chief Executive, Mike Hawes, said, “2021 was anything but normal, but British drivers stuck to their familiar favourites of grey, black and white cars.” Hawes continued, “with car registrations still low compared to pre-pandemic levels, helping even more drivers move to greener cars – whatever the actual colour – has never been more important.”

What about other colours?

  • Blue and red were the fourth and fifth most popular colours sold last year.
  • Sales of green cars rose for the first time since 2015, with 17,927 units being sold.
  • Boldness isn’t completely out of the question. The fastest-growing colours are gold, yellow and turquoise, although together they only account for a small percentage (0.9%) of new cars.
  • Strangely, of all the counties in England, Bedfordshire is the one where you are most likely to see a pink new car. Sixty-six pink cars were registered last year.

BMW announces the future of car colours

If Gray is too boring for you, In January, BMW announced their iX Flow car that changes colour. Using ‘electrophoretic technology’, the exterior paint is wrapped in an e-ink. This is similar to an e-reader display that can be changed from white to black when a charge passes through.

Surprisingly, e-ink tech is pretty energy efficient. Once the colour has changed, it doesn’t need additional power to keep it that way. The surface is coated with millions of ‘microcapsules’ the size of human hair. Each of these microcapsules contains negatively charged white pigments and positively charged black pigments. Passing a current through them causes either the white or the black pigments to collect at the surface, giving the car the appearance of changing colour.

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