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Posted by showplatesexpress
January 30th, 2020 at 4:39 pm

Most motorists are not ambivalent about colour – either the colour of their car is super important to them or they couldn’t care less. 

Silver – or is that light grey? – was the most popular car colour throughout the early years of this century before black became the most took over from 2009 to 2012.  In a complete volte-face, white hit the top spot in 2013 and stayed there until 2017 when it was pushed off the podium by black again.  In 2018, the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT) published their car data and revealed that in 2018, for the first time ever, grey was the first colour past the winning post accounting for 20.9% of all car sales.  Some people refer to grey as silver but there is a difference apparently according to the motor manufacturers, not least in popularity as silver doesn’t even make it into the top five.

The top five in 2018 looked something like this, the figures indicate the number of new car registrations in that colour:-

  1. Grey – 20.9%
  2. Black – 20.2%
  3. White – 18.3%
  4. Blue – 16.1%
  5. Red- 10%

The previously popular silver was a lowly sixth and beige was at the bottom of the list with less than 1% of registrations just below a struggling bronze.

Does colour actually make a difference?

It could if you want to sell your car; an unpopular colour on a popular make and model could make it less desirable to purchasers but it’s hard to quantify whether that ever really does make a tangible difference.  If you want to remain safe then picking a colour from the top five is probably the best way to go.  It’s hard to imagine beige or orange (number 7 in 2018) or green (number 8) ever making much of a comeback although if the government introduces actual green number plates for Electric Vehicles then that could possibly change.

Colour doesn’t seem to make a difference to theft data although arguably if your car is an unusual colour, it could be passed over by car thieves on the basis that it would be harder to get rid of and easier to spot by passing police officers.  Most car theft statistics simply reflect the popular colours of the day – if there are more white cars in circulation then logically, more white cars will probably end up being stolen.  So there doesn’t seem to be a colour to really avoid when it comes to outwitting the car thieves.

There can be an element of tradition when it comes to choosing a colour

Geneva, Switzerland - March 13, 2019: Luxury saloon cars BMW and Mercedes-Benz in the city street - blacks, greys and silvers.

Executive cars, diplomatic limousines and hearses still retain the traditional black, occasionally straying into dark grey or silver.  White always used to be the domain of police cars and transit vans and it has only been in relatively recent times that it has become a popular choice for private cars.

Is one colour safer than another?

There don’t seem to be any meaningful statistics to support one colour over another other than grey could potentially be harder to see in certain light and that white is possibly more visible.  There are so many potential factors in each road traffic accident that even if colour were relevant, it is only one factor amongst many.  The AA claims that the colour yellow was chosen for their vehicles specifically because it is more visible and it was for many years a popular choice for safety and highways vehicles although we are going back pre the 1980s.

Does the choice of colour affect the cost of car insurance?

Although there is someone somewhere crunching data about which models and colours of car are involved most in accidents, insurers do not use the colour of a vehicle as a factor for the underwriter to review when setting premiums.

So what does drive the choice of colour?

Too Many Questions on car colour. Pile of colourful paper notes with question marks. Closeup.

Some people cite practicality as a factor, white is, after all, a bit of a bugbear to keep clean.  But industry pundits and psychologists will tell you that the choice of colour is purely a reflection of driver personality.  This is not because cars are uber special (although for some people they are) but more because our lives are peppered with colour choices and the colour of our cars is just one of these.

Colour can be an obvious choice or it can be something quite subconscious.  Psychologists would say that your choice of colour says something about you but perhaps your make and model of car says more.  There are some generalisations which are probably quite accurate such as the choice of black which is widely deemed to be a power statement; a black car is designed to make an impression and to convey confidence whereas grey as a colour choice is clearly designed to be more neutral and to perhaps blend in.  But equally, you could say this about a dress or a suit.

Will you pay more for certain colours?

Some colours are more expensive depending on the manufacturer.  There is a commonly held misconception that white is cheaper because it is a base colour hence its popularity – wrong!  Many manufacturers charge for white so you can expect to pay an additional £250 or more if white is your choice of colour.  Only two of the most popular models – the Mini Hatchback and the Audi A3 – offer white at no additional cost.  And there is white and white.  Expect to pay a couple of hundred pounds for flat white but if you want the metallic version then it will be at least double that.

It would seem therefore that the choice of colour for your new car is not going to have an impact on your insurance premium, your accident risk or the theft desirability of your vehicle.  Unless you choose something very unusual or unpopular, it is also not likely to affect your vehicles’ resale value.  It may, however, cost you more on the forecourt if you choose certain colours above others.  Remember, manufacturers, manipulate sales to steer customers towards certain colours either by limiting options in the range or imposing charges for the choice of certain shades.