Gray was the UK buyer’s favorite new car color for the fourth year in a row in 2021 – unless they bought a Tesla.
And the boom in Tesla sales suggests white could become more popular — in line with the “Apple effect,” where drivers match their tech-laden electric cars with their gadgets.
Nearly a quarter (24.8 percent) of new cars bought last year were gray, extending its lead at the top of the sales charts, official figures released this morning by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders confirm.
However, it was not the choice of colors for Tesla fans; the Model 3, which was the second most bought new bike in the UK in 2021, came mostly in white.
Tesla customers mostly chose white for the hugely popular Model 3 last year
Apple effect: Rising demand for tech-laden electric vehicles could lead to a surge in white cars on the back roads as drivers match their engines to their gadgets
During a year of pandemic-related disruptions that impacted the total number of new car registrations, 408,155 gray cars were sold, a 2.8 percent increase, the figures show.
Black, which was the most popular car paint in Britain from 2009 to 2012, was chosen by more than one in five (20.5 percent) of car buyers, while white came in third with 17.2 percent.
It means that more than three in five (62.5 percent) of all new cars hitting the road are monochromatic shades.
Demand for blue engines rose 1.4 percent – the first growth in demand in five years – for red and silver.
A total of 1.6 million new cars were registered in the UK last year as the global semiconductor shortage and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic affected sales.
Why gray is so popular
Consumer preference for gray, which comes in many different shades, can be attributed to a wide variety of reasons, according to the SMMT.
Firstly, it can be a sleek and deeper tone than other shades and is also well suited to black finishes and dark wheels and offers an attractive compromise between the also popular black and white.
However, the biggest driving factor is the wider appeal of gray than bright colors, so a potentially ‘safer’ choice, especially as it reduces the visibility of dirt more than the other shades.
That represented a 1 percent increase from 2020, but was 28.7 percent behind sales in the pre-pandemic year 2019.
Commenting on the car’s color data, SMMT CEO Mike Hawes said: ‘2021 was anything but normal, but British drivers stuck to their trusted favorites of grey, black and white cars.
“But while last year’s new cars may have the same hues as previous years, there has been a real shift under the hood: one in six buyers opted for green.”
And it’s this shift to greener models that could boost the popularity of white cars.
Sold out only by Opel’s Corsa in Britain in 2021, the Tesla Model 3 was usually ordered in white, with customers choosing it in shades of black, silver, blue and red.
This refers to the aforementioned “Apple effect,” where people buy items that match the color of their phones, laptops, smartwatches, and tablets.
And white is taking shape among UK car buyers, it was the most chosen vehicle color from 2013 to 2016.
Gray was the UK’s new car color of choice for the fourth year running in 2021, as the most popular choices remained unchanged since 2018
Of all the cars sold in 2021, the Tesla Model 3 has been chosen most often in white, which may be due to customers specifying their engines to match their gadgets, such as iPhones.
The Tesla Model 3 – the UK’s second most bought new car in 2021 – is packed with tech and has its own giant tablet inside
Experts said the surge in demand for white was also boosted by the fact that most manufacturers are offering white as a no-cost color option for their new vehicles.
However, due to its growing popularity, white paint has since come at an additional cost, while less desirable blues and reds are offered at no extra cost.
White was also the most common color for the new Vauxhall Corsas, fueling claims that the rise to the top of the UK sales charts in 2021 was significantly boosted by business demand.
“As the number of car registrations is still low compared to pre-pandemic, it has never been more important to help even more motorists switch to greener cars – regardless of the actual color,” Hawes added.
“Incentives are helping to get the market moving and must continue, but the speed of this shift to electric must be matched by an acceleration in the pace of investment in charging infrastructure.
“Drivers can expect to be able to charge wherever they live, work or visit.”
The most bought car in gray was the Volkswagen Golf, while the Volvo XC40s were mostly black. Green was most popular on Minis, official figures show
White was the most common color for the new Opel Corsas, fueling claims that the rise to the top of the UK sales charts was driven by corporate demand
Niche Colors: Accelerate Gold, Yellow and Turquoise
On the niche side of the color palette, gold, yellow and turquoise were the fastest growing colors for new cars in 2021.
Gold has more than tripled its appeal (231.8 percent), yellow grew by a third (31.3 percent) and turquoise grew by a fifth (19.2 percent).
Together, however, these colors accounted for less than 1 percent of new cars on the market.
Records show that Bedfordshire was the county where you were most likely to see a new pink car last year with 66 registrations.
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