50 shades of, you guessed it . . . boring grey

Riley Riley

Boring grey has been declared the UK’s favourite new car colour.

Grey shaded black for the fourth year in a row, while white finished third in the chart of top 10 car colours.

In a year of pandemic-related disruptions, more than 408,000 grey cars were sold in the UK in 2021 — up 2.8 per cent on the previous year and accounting for a quarter of the market.

Black, the most popular car paint in Britain from 2009 to 2012, finished with 20.5 per cent of sales, while white was in third place (17.2 per cent), showing UK drivers were most likely to choose a monochrome car for the 11th year running.

More than six out of every 10 cars (62.4 per cent to be exact) joining British roads in 2021 were painted in one of these shades, although blue edged closer to the top three, increasing sales by 1.4 per cent for the first time in five years — and trailing just 2638 units behind white.

The rest of the top 10 remained largely unchanged from 2020, although green overtook orange to gain seventh place, with 17,927 cars.

Sales of green cars rose for the first time since 2015, with 24.0 per cent more buyers opting for the colour.

A record number of drivers also opted for ‘green’ under the bonnet, with battery electric and plug-in cars accounting for more than one in six registrations – up from about one in 10 in 2020 and one in 30 in 2019.

However, whether battery electric, plug-in hybrid, hybrid, petrol or diesel — grey was the colour of choice across all fuel types.

White was the most popular shade for sports and mini-sized cars, while larger dual purpose, luxury saloons and executive cars were as usual  most likely to be black.

At the niche end of the colour palette, gold, yellow and turquoise were the fastest growing colours, with gold more than tripling its appeal (up 231.8 per cent).

Yellow was up by a third (31.3 per cent) and turquoise up by a fifth (19.2 per cent), although together they accounted for less than one percent of the market (0.9 per cent).

A non-monochrome colour has not been in the UK’s overall top three since blue in 2010, although it was second most popular colour among Welsh and Northern Irish new car buyers.

Grey was the top colour in every British nation last year, but more so in England (25.3 per cent), closely followed by Scotland (22.9 per cent), Wales (22.8 per cent), and Northern Ireland (21.7 per cent).

Counties sporting bright-coloured cars included Bedfordshire, the most likely place to see a new pink car, with 66 registrations.

Greater London and Buckinghamshire had the highest numbers of green and turquoise motors, with 1263 and 238 registrations respectively.

Orange was the new black in the West Midlands, where tangerine-tinted cars accounted for 1156 registrations — the highest in any UK region.

Scotland was, however, the least likely place to spot a new maroon car, as none were sold in the country.

In fact, just 12 buyers across the whole of the UK specified their new car in the colour – the lowest number since 1997.

Consumer preference for grey, which comes in many varying shades, can be attributed to a wide range of reasons.

It can be a sleek and deeper tone than other shades, is well-suited to black trims and darker wheels and offers an attractive compromise between the also-popular black and white.

It also has wider resale appeal than brightly coloured cars, so a potentially ‘safer’ choice, especially as it reduces the visibility of dirt more than the other shades.


CHECKOUT: Flowers for the Phantom

CHECKOUT: Picture perfect paint job for hi-po Pantone Alpine

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *