New cars stock pic via PA, Mar 2021New cars stock pic via PA, Mar 2021

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UK new car buyers plumped for ‘sleek’ grey more than any other colour in 2021

  • Grey reaffirms its position as UK’s favourite new car colour
  • Black and white follow as UK prefers monochrome colours
  • Gold, yellow and turquoise were fastest growing shades

Time 7:53 am, February 1, 2022

The UK’s most popular new car colour is grey once again, reports the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

The industry body said the colour is ‘sleek’ and has ‘wider resale appeal’ and revealed it accounted for 24.8 per cent of all new cars registered last year.

That was up from a market share of 24.4 per cent during 2020.


It was a monochrome top three in 2021, with black in second place (20.5 per cent) followed by white in third (17.2 per cent).

More than three out of five (62.4 per cent) new cars joining UK roads last year were either grey, black or white.

The SMMT attributed consumer preference for grey to ‘a wide range of reasons’.

It said in a statement: ‘It can be a sleek and deeper tone than other shades, is well suited to black trims and darker wheels, and offers an attractive compromise between the also-popular black and white.’


Grey is often seen as a ‘potentially safer choice’ as it has ‘wider resale appeal than brightly coloured cars’, the SMMT added.

Blue edged closer to the top three last year, with 17 per cent of new cars painted in that colour.

The only other colours with a market share of more than one per cent were red (8.8 per cent), silver (6.8 per cent) and green (1.1 per cent).

At the niche end of the colour palette, the fastest growing colours were gold, yellow and turquoise, although together they accounted for only 0.9 per cent of new cars.

Bedfordshire was the county where you were most likely to see a new pink car last year with 66 registrations.

A total of 1.6m new cars were registered in the UK last year, as the global shortage of semiconductors and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic affected sales.

That represented a one per cent increase on 2020 but was 28.7 per cent less than during the pre-pandemic year of 2019.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes 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.’

James Batchelor's avatar

James – or Batch as he’s known – started at Car Dealer in 2010, first as the work experience boy, eventually becoming editor in 2013. He worked for Auto Express as editor-at-large and was the face of Carbuyer’s YouTube reviews. In 2020, he went freelance and now writes for a number of national titles and contributes regularly to Car Dealer. In October 2021 he became Car Dealer's associate editor.

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