FOR THE third year in a row, grey has proved to be the most popular new car colour in the UK.
In a tough year for new car sales as a whole, figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show that 397,197 grey cars were registered over the course of 2020, accounting for nearly a quarter (24.3%) of all new models sold.
The second and third most popular paint for cars last year were black and white, completing a monochrome top three.
The SMMT said the rest of the top 10 remained unchanged on 2019, apart from yellow and bronze, which swapped chart positions as yellow increased its market share by 6,816 sales — a small number but representing a 50% rise for the colour.
The popularity of red paint for cars is in decline, according to the figures, with registrations dipping below 200,000 for the first time in a decade, to 147,222. It was the colour’s worst year since Tony Blair’s Labour Party took a landslide victory at the general election in 1997.
Car colour popularity by UK region
Grey was colour of choice across most of the UK last year, unlike in 2019 when car buyers in Scotland and the Channel Islands preferred to go with different colours.
Some smaller regions did take a different view, though: car buyers in the Isle of White and Borders preferred blue, while in Strathclyde white proved the most popular.
Leicestershire was the most popular location for pink cars, according to the SMMT, with 23.7% of the UK’s total registered in the region. Buyers in the West Midlands bought the most orange cars.
When looking at vehicle segments, white was the most popular shade for the small cars but unsurprisingly, perhaps, luxury saloons and executive cars were most likely to be bought with black paint.
Overall, there were 106 different distinct colours registered throughout the year, with the least popular hue nationwide being maroon.
Electric car buyers buck the car colour trend
While buyer of petrol and diesel cars love grey the most, with their respective 248,182 and 84,489 grey registrations topping the charts for their fuel type, buyers of pure-electric vehicles chose to go a different way, with the most in-demand shade being white. A total of 25,689 electric car buyers opted for white paint in 2020.
Black proved to be the top shade for buyers of plug-in hybrid cars (PHEVs) last year, with 17,989 registrations.
Electrified vehicles, which include pure-electric (or battery-electric), PHEV and other forms of hybrid, made up more than one in 10 registrations in 2020, up from around one in 30 the year before.
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “2020 was a pretty dark year for the automotive industry and having grey as the top new car colour probably reflects the atmosphere.
“The sector, however, continues to provide valuable mobility, from vans delivering essential goods to private cars helping key workers do their jobs, and click and collect offers a lifeline for the industry, helping to keep manufacturing going.
“It cannot, however, replace the showroom experience and the sector has taken great steps to ensure dealers are Covid-secure with the flexibility to manage customer appointments so car buyers can choose a new car and colour in a safe environment.”
– If you’re interested in the most popular car colours of 2020, read our article about the most popular shades of 2019.
– You may also be interested in the 7 most exciting new cars scheduled for 2021
– Or read about how new car sales fell by nearly 30% during 2020