The Sunday Times Driving Placeholder

White wins the popularity contest with British drivers

White is the new black


White was the most popular colour for new cars in 2015

IT WAS once synonymous with UN Toyota Land Cruisers bringing aid to famine-hit regions of the world but today, white is the colour most likely to be seen gracing new cars on trips to the shops.


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According to new figures, white was the most popular colour among new car buyers last year, with 21.4% of new cars being ordered in it. It’s the third year running that it has topped the colour charts, a record that is in stark contrast to its position 10 years ago, when it was the colour of choice on just 1% of new cars.

It was followed by black (19.4%) and grey (15.6%) with blue, once considered dull and unadventurous, taking fourth place with a market share of 14.7%.

However, proof of just how fickle car buyers can be comes from the news that silver, which reined supreme from 2000 to 2008, graced only 11.2% of new cars sold in 2015, according to the figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

The growing trend for personalisation saw bolder colours register a modest increase last year with orange and mauve both entering the top 10 for the first time, with market shares of 0.7% and 0.5% respectively.

Perhaps the most striking trend, however, was the surge in popularity of green, a colour that dealers, at least, have traditionally steered clear of. It recorded its highest-ever position, at 1.07%.

But while choosing a colour is one of the more pleasurable aspects of car buying, choosing a used car in the wrong one could cost you dear.

According to Rupert Pontin, head of valuations at Glass’s, a car valuation company, colour plays a big part in a car’s rate of depreciation. The colours that help a car hold its value best are dark metallic grey, silver and black, while those that can wipe money off its secondhand price are some greens, browns and burgundy. According to Pontin, on some entry-level models, even white can be a liability.

“We monitor over 8.5 million vehicle transactions each year and it’s clear colour plays a major part in determining a car’s appeal, and hence its value,” said Pontin.

Meanwhile, according to HPI, a vehicle information company, some colours are more associated with used car fraud than others. For example, used cars in white are the ones most likely to have outstanding finance on them when offered for sale. This means the new owner could be responsible for settling any existing loan on the car.

And while green cars are fast climbing the new sales charts, used cars in the same colour are those most likely to have been stolen, be clocked or be an insurance write-off.


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