New car buyers stay

in the grey

Nissan Qashqai e-Power, 2024, side
Best selling colours by model, 2023
Best selling models by colour, 2023
Top 10 car colours, 2023
Top 10 car colours, 2024, market share
Changing taste in car colours, 2002-2023

BRITAIN'S drivers cemented their preference for monochrome cars as grey topped the new car colour chart for the sixth year in a row, according to the latest figures published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

With a market share of more than a quarter (26.8 per cent), more than half a million (509,194) grey cars were registered in 2023, with volumes rising 22.6 per cent as the new car market enjoyed its best year since the pandemic.

Completing the podium, black and white held second and third place, also for the sixth consecutive year, and recorded their best volumes since 2019.

Almost two thirds (63.5 per cent) of all new cars joining UK roads in 2023 were decked in monochrome, while blue rose 10.9 per cent to take fourth place and red remained in fifth - although it also recorded its lowest market share since 2005 and has seen its popularity steadily decline since 2019.

While Britain clearly has a preference for monochrome cars, drivers determined to stamp their style on their motor were able to choose from a variety of colour variations, with maroon, pink and cream remaining at the niche end of the colour palette - comprising just 604 registrations combined. Orange, bronze, turquoise and brown fell in popularity compared with 2023 volumes.

Green, however, experienced a comeback, reaching its highest volume since 2005 at 53,426 units and a market share of 2.8 per cent, the highest since 2004.

While the colour may have environmentally friendly associations, ‘zero emission cars' reaching Britain's roads in record numbers last year followed the same grey colour trend as their internal combustion engine counterparts.

Grey also remained the most popular choice across the majority of segments, including the three bestsellers - supermini, dual purpose and lower medium. Three segments went against the grain, with black the favoured shade among executive cars and luxury saloons, and white appearing as the top choice for the multi-purpose segment.

Fleets, which drove investment in the new car market in 2023, also favoured monochrome, with grey making up more than a quarter (26.9 per cent) of all registrations. Private sales saw more variation, brightening up roads as they were marginally more likely to opt for a green or yellow tint over fleets, with 29,919 and 6,964 units registered respectively.

The British regions were unanimous in a preference for grey, with white ranking as the second most popular in the Channel Islands, Northern Ireland and Scotland. Black was the second most popular in England, Wales and the Isle of Man.

Strathclyde proved the best place to play the ‘yellow car' game, ranking the most registrations of the bright shade, with 677 sold in the area and, while orange wasn't quite the new black in Cheshire, drivers there registered the most cars in this colour of any county, at 1,140 units. Berkshire was home to more than one in 10 of pink cars registered (22 units) and was also the top spot for red motors at 8,034 units. Drivers in Greater London snapped up more green cars than any other county at 3,650.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said:"2023 was a bumper year for the British new car market, as buyers continued to gravitate towards familiar monochrome hues for another year - even as ever more motorists embrace new technologies. Car manufacturers have diligently expanded their offerings, with a huge selection of colour options available across hundreds of models and thousands of specification options. The extensive variety allows drivers flexibility in choosing a tint that embodies their individuality and style."

Car colours facts:

1. Grey recorded the biggest volume growth of the year, registering more than half a million vehicles (509,194) registered in the shade.

2. 210 pink cars were registered in 2023, with Berkshire home to more than one in 10 of them.

3. Strathclyde proved the best place to play the ‘yellow car' game with 677 registrations.

4. The nation's least favourite car colour was cream, with buyers registering just 151 units.

5. Wales recorded the highest proportion of new red and green cars, while Northern Ireland was home to the highest proportion of blue cars and Scotland boasted the highest number of white motors.

6. Red recordedits lowest market share since 2005, posting a steady decline in popularity since 2019.

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