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Grey is Britain's favourite new car colour – again

Richard Aucock

Written By Richard Aucock

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Grey was ranked the UK’s favourite new car colour for the sixth year running in 2023.  

More than half a million grey cars hit UK roads last year – meaning more than 1 in 4 new cars leaving showrooms in 2023 were painted grey.

Indeed, with black and white completing the trio of top-selling colours, it also marked the sixth year of an identical monochrome podium of favourite car colours.

British car buyer’s preference for grey is actually increasing, with the colour recording the biggest volume growth of the year.

With the popularity of black and white cars also rising, it means almost two in three new cars sold last year came in a monochromatic hue.

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Grey has been the most popular new car colour in Britain for the past six years running

What about more colourful cars sold last year?

The first dash of colour came in fourth place, with 15.1% of new car buyers choosing blue.  

It means blue continues its long run of being the fourth most popular new car colour in the UK – it’s held the position since 2014.

Red was the fifth most popular new car colour, but this popularity is relative, with just 7.5% of new car buyers choosing it.

Indeed, red recorded its lowest market share since 2005 last year, and has been steadily declining in popularity since 2019.

Green cars have, however, experienced a comeback. The colour recorded its highest volume since 2005.

However, this is still only around 53,000 cars, or 2.8% of new cars sold last year – a drop in the ocean compared to nearly 510,000 new grey cars sold.

What does the car industry say about the popularity of grey cars?

Mike Hawes is chief executive of automotive trade body the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

He explained that 2023 was a bumper year for the British new car market, with sales of more than 1.9 million vehicles making it the best year since the pandemic.

“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.

“This extensive variety allows drivers flexibility in choosing a tint that embodies their individuality and style.”

The SMMT added that cream was the UK’s least-favourite colour, with just 151 new cream cars registered.

Cream, pink and maroon combined are Britain’s rarest new car colours, representing just 0.03% of all registrations.

As for regional differences, Wales recorded the highest proportion of new red and green cars.

Northern Ireland recorded the most new blue cars, and Scotland saw the highest number of white cars.

The Ford Puma was the best-selling car last year, and the most popular choice of colour for it was grey. The Nissan Qashqai was second, and grey was again the top choice – although the third-place Vauxhall Corsa was chosen most often painted in white.

Grey is the most popular new car colour amongst most car segments, including small cars, family cars and large cars. However, black was the top choice for executive cars and luxury cars, while white was the top choice for SUV cars.

210 new pink cars were registered in 2023 – and Berkshire is home to more than 1 in 10 of them. Barbie will be pleased.

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