A metallic grey Kia EV6 parked up outside
Grey look smart and holds more value in the used car market, say experts

Grey remained the number one colour choice with new car buyers during the course of 2021 to extend its stay at the top of the rankings for a fourth consecutive year, new data has revealed.

Information compiled by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) shows that grey’s popularity with motorists grew by another 2.8% in the twelve months to December 31st. It means that almost one in four new cars (24.8%) to drive off dealership forecourts were that colour.

British motorists’ love affair with black remains strong, however. A top-seller between 2009 and 2012, it was the second most sought after colour in 2021 at 20.5%, followed by white at 17.2%.
Of all the colours customers can choose from, blue was the one that achieved the biggest gains last year, increasing its share by 1.4% for the first time in five years to edge closer to the top three.

The rest of the top ten remained largely unchanged from 2020, although green moved to seventh as sales of the colour rose for the first time since 2015 as 24% more buyers opted 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 around one in 10 in 2020.

So-called niche colours also enjoyed positive gains across 2021; gold, yellow and turquoise were the fastest growing colours, with gold’s appeal surging three-fold, yellow by a third and turquoise by a fifth. Together, though, they account for less than one per cent of the market (0.9%).

Experts put grey’s popularity down to its “sleek and deeper” properties, while being “well-suited to black trims and darker wheels”. Their resale value is also strong compared to brighter shades.

Mike Hawes – the SMMT Chief Executive – said: “2021 was anything but normal, but British drivers stuck to their familiar favourites of grey, black and white cars.

“But while last year’s new cars might share the same shades as previous years, under the bonnet there has been a real shift, with one in six buyers choosing to go green.

“With car registrations still low compared to pre- pandemic, helping even more drivers move to greener cars – whatever the actual colour – has never been more important.

“Incentives are helping move the market and should continue, but the speed of this shift to electric must be matched by an acceleration in the pace of charging infrastructure investment.

“Drivers should expect to be able to recharge irrespective of wherever they live, work or visit,” added Hawes.

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