Britain’’s new car buyers cemented their preference for monochrome cars as grey topped the new car colour chart for the sixth year in a row, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

With a market share of 26.8%, 509,194 grey cars were registered in 2023, with volume rising 22.6% as the new car market enjoyed its best year since the pandemic.

Black and white held second and third place, also for the sixth consecutive year, and recorded their best volume since 2019. Almost two thirds (63.5%) of all new cars sold in 2023 were decked in monochrome while blue rose 10.9% to take fourth place and red remained fifth although it also recorded its lowest market share since 2005 and has seen its popularity decline since 2019.

While Britain clearly has a preference for monochrome cars, drivers determined to stamp their style on their motor were able to choose from a variety of colour variations, with maroon, pink and cream remaining at the niche end of the colour palette – comprising just 604 registrations combined. Orange, bronze, turquoise and brown fell in popularity compared with 2023.

Green, however, experienced a comeback, reaching its highest volume since 2005 at 53,426 units and a market share of 2.8%, the highest since 2004. While the colour may have environmentally friendly associations, ‘zero emission cars’ reaching Britain’s roads in record numbers last year followed the same grey colour trend as their internal combustion engine counterparts.

Grey also remained the most popular choice across the majority of segments, including the three bestsellers – supermini, dual purpose and lower medium. Three segments went against the grain, with black the favoured shade among executive cars and luxury saloons, and white appearing as the top choice for the multi-purpose segment.

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By GlobalData

Fleets, which drove investment in the new car market in 2023, also favoured monochrome, with grey making up 26.9% of all registrations.

Private sales saw more variation, brightening up roads as they were marginally more likely to opt for a green or yellow tint over fleets, with 29,919 and 6,964 units registered respectively.