Perhaps unsurprisingly considering the economic gloom, Grey is officially the nation’s favourite new car ‘colour’.

In fact, this is the fifth year in a row that it has topped the polls.

Gloomy times?

More than a quarter (25.7%) of UK buyers are choosing the shade in 2022. That’s according to the latest figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Some 415,199 grey cars were registered last year, up 1.7%.

Black and white took second and third place overall, completing a monochrome podium.

More than six in 10 (62.5%) new cars hitting British roads in 2022 were painted in grey, black or white.

Bring me sunshine

There seems to be no bright shiny change on the horizon.

Silver, which held first or second place in car buyers’ affections for 12 straight years from 2000 to 2011, posted just 98,483 units and a 6.1% market share in 2022. This is its lowest level in more than two decades.

Red, the dramatic and often sporty option, retains its fifth-place ranking. However, again it recorded a decline to reach its lowest market share since 2008, at 136,793 units accounting for 8.5% of all cars registered.

At the other end of the spectrum, the least popular shades are maroon, pink, and cream, which, combined, recorded less than 1% of all registrations. Pink tinted vehicles achieved their lowest number since 2009, just has the banking crisis took hold and the outlook was less than bright.

However, other niche paints, including orange, yellow, bronze, turquoise and mauve, all post growth, hinting at a broader trend. Put into context though, the combined colours only make up 3.4% of the market at 55,401 units.

Environmental views

Meanwhile, green is enjoying a resurgence in popularity hitting a level not seen for 16 years. It is up by 74.2% on 2021 with the largest volume growth of all colours (up 13,293 units). Some 31,220 new green cars were registered in total – perhaps fittingly a quarter of which (24.1%) could be plugged-in.

Overall though, the top colour for most powertrains remained grey, with just PHEVs opting for black.

The national picture

Grey was also the top selling colour in every region and every county in the UK, bar the Scottish Borders where the more nationalistic blue has pushed it into second spot.

Red cars prove most popular in Berkshire with 6,735 registrations. Meanwhile, the highest number of green cars are registered in Greater London, at 1,894 units, and Strathclyde registered more orange cars (1,313) than any other county.

Cheshire took top spot for turquoise, with 291 units, while pink was most favoured in Derbyshire, although it accounted for just 10 new car registrations in the county.

What does it say about us?

“Car colour choice theoretically proclaims something about who we are,” says Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive. “Buying a car today comes with many possibilities to customise your vehicle to match.”

“For those looking to ensure their vehicle stands out from the crowd, there remains a huge variety of colour choices from across the rainbow available to suit every character.”