UK's most popular new car colour revealed

Kalila Sangster
·3-min read
New cars at the port of Southampton, as the UK leaves the single market and customs union and the Brexit transition period comes to an end.
Brits favoured a monochrome palette in 2020. Photo: PA

Grey took the crown as the UK’s most popular new car colour of 2020, retaining the top spot for the third year in a row, according to the latest figures released on Friday by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Although new car registrations declined significantly in 2020 due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, 397,197 grey vehicles were sold last year — equating to almost a quarter (24.3%) of all new cars sold in the UK.

Black was the second most popular colour with 19.9% of the market share and white came in third place with 17.37%, rounding out a monochrome top three. More than six in ten (61.6%) of all new cars coming on to British roads in 2020 were painted in these three colours.

Zagreb, Croatia - March 9, 2020: Man is driving new Volkswagen Golf fast on a country road. The 8th generation of iconic VW model is based on updated version of the MQB platform.
The most popular grey car in 2020 was the Volkswagen Golf. Photo: Getty

Blue was the fourth most popular with 16.92% of new cars painted this colour, followed by red with 9.03%. Red saw its registrations drop below 200,000 for the first time in a decade to 147,222, recording its worst showing since 1997.

Silver was at number six with 7.49% of registrations, followed by orange (1.26%) and green (0.89%).

Yellow was at number nine with 0.42% — increasing its market share by 50% but equivalent to only 6,816 sales.

SMMT
Infographic: SMMT

Bronze rounded out the top 10 with 0.25% of the market share.

The least popular colour nationwide in 2020 was maroon.

Grey was the most in-demand colour for both petrol and diesel cars, with 248,182 and 84,489 registered in grey respectively.

Mulhouse - France - 18 October 2020 - Profile View of Black Mercedes class A parked in the street
The most popular black car of 2020 was the Mercedes A-Class. Photo: Getty

White was the most popular for zero emission battery electric vehicles (BEVs) with 25,689 painted in it whilst black was the most popular shade for plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) with 17,989 registered. It was a record year for these electrified vehicles, which together accounted for more than one in 10 registrations — increasing from around one in 30 in 2019.

Grey cars were the most desirable across the UK in 2020. The only counties to not to choose grey as their number one colour of choice were the Isle of White and Borders, where blue was the most popular, and Strathclyde where white came in at number one.

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Leicestershire was the most popular location for pink cars, with 23.7% of the country’s total registered in the region, while buyers in the West Midlands purchased the most orange cars.

White was the most popular colour for mini vehicles, buyers of luxury saloons and executive cars were most likely to choose black.

Ford Fiesta, 4-door blue sedan car, town of Corbas, Rhône department, France
Blue was the post popular colour for the UK's favourite car, the Ford Fiesta. Photo: Getty

Overall, there were 106 different colours registered in the UK in 2020.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “2020 was a pretty dark year for the automotive industry and having grey as the top new car colour probably reflects the atmosphere.

“The sector, however, continues to provide valuable mobility, from vans delivering essential goods to private cars helping key workers do their jobs, and click and collect offers a lifeline for the industry, helping to keep manufacturing going.

“It cannot, however, replace the showroom experience and the sector has taken great steps to ensure dealers are COVID-secure with the flexibility to manage customer appointments so car buyers can choose a new car and colour in a safe environment.”

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