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The Car Colours That Mattered Most to UK Buyers in 2018

By Phil Gardner | January 28, 2019


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We look through the best and worst selling car colours from last year

The Car Colours That Mattered Most to UK Buyers in 2018

Well, it looks like Grey is the new Black. Figures released by the SMMT (Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders) showed that although there was a 1.1% drop in sales of grey coloured cars in 2018 compared to 2017, it still proved to be the most popular car colour for the year in the UK with a total of 495,127 grey cars sold. Of these, the Fiesta, Golf and Corsa - which are the 3 top selling cars in the UK - were sold most commonly in grey, and 20.9% cars sold overall were too. Grey is often a colour often attributed to miserable weather and depression, which is perhaps a reflection on the state of our country over the last 12 months, but we won’t get political…

So, taking second place in the highly coveted ‘most popular paintwork choice of the year’ awards for 2018 (not real awards) is Black, the colour most commonly associated with power, fear, mystery and strong coffee. Black was 7.3% less popular in 2018 than in 2017, but this reflects the overall performance of the new car market. A total of 478,154 black cars were sold in the UK last year which makes up 20.2% of the market. Interestingly, black has finished second 5 times in the last 6 years.

The Car Colours That Mattered Most to UK Buyers in 2018 Image 1

In third place for 2018 is White. Truly, a fall from grace for the colour associated with purity, honesty, spirituality and positivity. We all remember the glory days for white, enjoying 4 successive years as the top-selling colour from 2013 to 2016. Those days are seemingly a thing of the past now. White saw it’s market share drop by 0.7% from 2017 to 2018 to a respectable 18.3% and only 1 car in the top 10 best selling cars was sold most commonly in white, the KIA Sportage.

Fourth place goes to blue, which should come as no surprise as blue has finished in fourth place for the last 5 years in a row. Truly, a popular choice of vehicle paintwork. Blue actually increased its market share in 2018 by 0.2% of cars sold overall, but only one car in the top 10 best sellers was most commonly picked in blue, the Ford Focus.

The Car Colours That Mattered Most to UK Buyers in 2018 Image 2

And taking the fifth spot in 2018 was red, the colour of pain, blood, fire,and love. The colour that has sat in the fifth spot a remarkable 12 times since 2004 makes its resurgence after being pipped by silver in 2017. Red has gained a 0.1% markup in the market share, which isn’t massive but silver dropped its market share by a notable 0.7% which left the door open for the return of rouge. A total of 236,522 red cars were sold in the UK in 2018, unlikely to be all Ferraris, sadly.

Honourable mentions must go to Orange and Beige which saw 37% and 28% increases in popularity in 2018. Considering the fact that most car colours sales dropped significantly in line with the performance of the new car market in 2018, Orange and Beige really have pulled off an admirable coup. Orange crept up to 7th place overall with 26,042 car sale across the year, giving it a cool 1.1% market share, whereas Beige made its first appearance in the top 10 since 2014 thanks to a number of cars being launched in the colour linked with chinos and milky tea.

The Car Colours That Mattered Most to UK Buyers in 2018 Image 3

The biggest losers in 2018 were cream and yellow. Two seemingly positive colours simply crashed and burned in 2018, both selling roughly 34% less than the year before. Only 559 people bought cream coloured cars, which is probably for the best, and just under 7,000 people bought yellow cars, which is still too many in my opinion.

So, in 2019, will we see black regain the top spot? Will white bounce back from its recent slump or will it drop further? Could we see a primary colour in the top 3 for the first time since 2009? We’ll have to wait and see.

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