Grey is the UK's favourite car colour

Published 17 January 2020

One in five new cars registered last year were painted grey, according to data released this morning by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

It's the second year in a row that grey has topped the list, with more than half a million grey cars registered in 2019 - up by 5.3 per cent on 2018.

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Black and white rounded up the top three, meaning 60 per cent of all new cars in 2019 were shades of monochrome. 

The top 10 was largely unaltered year-on-year, save for the reappearance in 10th place of yellow, which was knocked out in 2018 by beige.

Scotland and the Channel Islands were different to the rest of the UK, with white the most popular colour among Scottish motorists.

The least popular colours nationwide were maroon, cream and pink - accounting for less than one per cent of all registrations.

“For most buyers, the colour is the first of many options they’ll select on their new car, and today there are more possibilities to personalise your car than ever before," said the SMMT's chief executive, Mike Hawes.

"Drivers can choose from many hundreds of models equipped with the latest low and zero emission powertrains, advanced safety and connected tech and exciting comfort and convenience features. There really is something to suit every driving need – and colour taste – on the market in 2020.”

Unnamed (6)


Arminius JP    on 17 January 2020

Grey is doubtless the most frequently selected but it is a perversion of language to then suppose it is favourite when manufacturer' colour charts are close to monochrome, going from white to black through all shades of grey with not much else (perhaps a red and a blue).

hissingsid    on 17 January 2020

Contrary to what the SMMT might think, I did not choose white to "personalise" my car, whatever that silly expression is meant to represent.

I chose white because it is one of the strongest paint pigments, is easy to match and touch up if necessary, and because I was not willing to pay several hundred pounds extra for metallic.

Dunfermin    on 17 January 2020

Grey is a very bad colour to see if the lighting conditions are poor and can merge Into the background. Manufactures are charging excessive prices in the UK for most colours other than a single solid colour, other colours are at extra cost. Comparison of costs for the same colour on the same car in different countries shows that we are being overcharged.

Edited by Dunfermin on 17/01/2020 at 22:49

Brian Sallows    on 20 January 2020

An awful , miserable "colour". Accident prone, owing to poor visibility. Presumably cheap for makers to spray and cheap to buy. It's even worse than black.

Makers are boosting their profits by charging for bright, cheerful , visible colours.

Edited by Brian Sallows on 20/01/2020 at 20:17

Peter McGuire    on 20 January 2020

Grey, AKA "asphalt / road coloured": A fiend was rammed into by a pensioner driver who claimed he not see her car.

jchinuk    on 21 January 2020

I hope you mean 'friend'...

Ian Cole    on 20 January 2020

Being able to have a bright colour like yellow (which I chose) was key in my purchase decision and of course the car is easily visible and identifiable in car parks too

Pfarrimon    on 20 January 2020

Unfortunately, looking like a banana will lower the retained value when you come to sell...

jchinuk    on 21 January 2020

I can't speak for Ian, but I buy cars to suit me, not future owners.

   on 20 January 2020

I agree that there is very poor choice of colours with majority of car manufacturers especially premium brands like BMW, AUDI and MERCEDES without paying for the priviledge of a brighter colour.

jchinuk    on 21 January 2020

I was told, independently by several dealers of different manufacturers, that 'grey' (which usually means metallic) and 'silver' are popular because they don't show the traffic dirt. I note that manufacturers rarely use such colours as the 'launch' colour for cars. I opted for gold for my latest car, metallic I know, but easier to find in car parks.

On a related topic, do reds still suffer from fading? Most ranges either avoided red after issues with the paint discolouring and fading.

Edited by jchinuk on 21/01/2020 at 08:38

ptarmigan    on 23 January 2020

All cars today are painted in a clear over base system, therefore avoiding fading. So basically a pigmented base coat is applied followed by a clear lacquered coat.

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