Grey was most popular colour for new cars in 2020 in UK

18 January 2021 - autocar

Grey was most popular colour for new cars in 2020 in UK

Black and white take the second and third spots, but there's brighter news for fans of yellow and bronze

Grey was the most popular choice for UK new car buyers in 2020 for the third year running, adorning nearly a quarter of all cars registered. 

Of the 1.63 million cars sold in the UK last year, 397,197 (24.3%) were painted grey, new figures released by the SMMT show. Black was the second most popular choice, accounting for 19.9% of new cars, while white was third, with 17.4%. 

Elsewhere, the chart makes for familiar reading, with blue in fourth, followed by red, silver, orange, green and - in reverse order to last year - yellow and bronze. 

The biggest shift was in red cars, of which just 147,222 examples were sold in 2020, compared with more than 200,000 every year prior since 1997.

Yellow, however, increased its market share by 50%.

The SMMT data also reveals correlations between fuel type and colour. While grey was most popular for conventionally fuelled cars, it was white that won out for EVs and plug-in hybrid buyers favoured black. 

Overall, grey dominated nationwide, even in Scotland and the Channel Islands, which bucked the trend in 2019. There were pockets of colour, however, with blue cars topping the sales charts in the Isle of Wight and Strathclyde opting for white. 

Pink didn't feature in the top 10 but was most popular in Leicestershire, which accounted for 23.7% of all UK cars painted in the colour. Orange cars were mostly destined for the West Midlands, by contrast. 

Of the 106 different colours registered throughout 2020, maroon was the least popular.

The last time a non-monochrome colour topped the sales charts was in 1999, when blue found favour with UK buyers. After the millennium, silver dominated for eight consecutive years, before black, white and grey began to battle for the top spot each year. 

The most popular grey car was also one of the biggest-selling overall, the Volkswagen Golf, while the Mercedes-Benz A-Class held the title for white and black. Blue was found mostly on the Ford Fiesta, red and orange were most popular for the Vauxhall Corsa and Mini variants took the majority of silver and green paint.

It was Peugeot buyers who kept yellow and bronze in the top 10, with the new 208 hatchback and its 3008 sibling popular in the brighter shades.

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