While we constantly call for a safer approach when it comes to driving, car colours isn’t what we really have in mind.

Despite Brits always looking for the bright sunshine to blast away the turgid overcast skies of winter (and summer?), it seems the attitude doesn’t stretch to our transport choice.

When it comes to car colours, it seems that monochrome is king.

Sign of the times

Figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) have revealed that grey is the most popular colour for new cars.

Of the 1,903,054 new cars registered in the UK throughout 2023, 26.8 per cent of them were ordered in grey. That’s more than half-a-million grey vehicles (509,194) over the year.

It also represents the sixth straight year that grey has been the preferred choice of the UK’s new-car buyers.

The podium has black (20.2%, 385,171 units)  in second, and then white (16.5%, 314,382 units) in third.

This is the same one-two-three positioning of these colours every year since 2018.

Combining all three’s sales numbers together, nearly two-thirds (63.5%) of all new cars joining the UK’s roads in 2023 were monochrome.

Most popular car colours of 2023 according to the SMMT's data


Interest in top-selling grey is far from on the wane, too. Its figures represent a 22.6% volume increase on the same data from 2022 It suggests that appetite for grey cars is still on the rise.

Completing the top five are some actual colours. Blue in fourth (15.1 %  market share, 287,213 units) and red in fifth (7.5%, 142,179 cars).

However, that represents red’s lowest market share since 2005, with sales of the colour in decline in the UK year-on-year since 2019.

Cool cats

At the other end of the spectrum, the rarest colours for new cars on Britain’s roads are cream, pink and maroon, comprising 0.03 % of registrations. In reality it means just 604 new cars were finished in these three colours combined.

The least popular of these was cream, with only 151 new cars in 2023  were ordered in the colour.

Orange, bronze, turquoise and brown hues all fell in popularity during 2023.

Thinking of the environment

Reflecting the eco-conscious times, green-coloured cars reached their highest market share since 2004 , with 2.8% of all new registrations. That’s 53,426 vehicles and seventh place on the overall list.

However, perhaps buyers weren’t on quite the eco wavelength. Most EVs are rendered in grey, just like their internal-combustion counterparts.

The neutrality of monochrome has reigned supreme in the UK ever since 2002. Silver was the top colour for all of the years from 2002 until 2008, only being replaced by black up to 2012.

White, the impractical and very unpopular colours of choice for years, was usually reserved for for police cars and emergency service vehicles.  However, in 2013 it hit top spot and held it until 2016, then back to black for one more year (2017), then its just been grey.

Going for silver

But if you’re wondering where silver was in 2023, it seems to be falling out of favour. It finished in sixth, with 124,482 units (6.5%).

Yet, if you factor silver in with the top-selling grey, black and white, then in actual fact fully 70% of Britain’s new cars in 2023 were sold ‘without colour’.