Colouring by numbers as white fading but black coming back

Black proved the most popular colour for cars in East Anglia but yellow also broke into the top 10 a

Black proved the most popular colour for cars in East Anglia but yellow also broke into the top 10 again. Pictures: BMW/Audi - Credit: supplied

Four out of every 10 new cars sold last year were white or black but brighter shades are starting to colour buyers' judgment when it comes to their choice of colour. Motoring editor Andy Russell reports.

Black proved the most popular colour for cars in East Anglia but yellow also broke into the top 10 a

Black proved the most popular colour for cars in East Anglia but yellow also broke into the top 10 again. Pictures: BMW/Audi - Credit: supplied

One in five new cars was white as it retained the top spot as the UK's most popular new car colour for the fourth year in a row.

Data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) showed more than half a million new car buyers chose the colour last year – a fifth of all registrations – although figures show its popularity is starting to fade with demand falling 2.1%, the first drop since 2005.

White and black are the nation's two favourite car colours – of the 2.69 million new cars registered last year, white (552,329) and black (542,862) took more than 40% market share. While white maintained its lead in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, in England it was overtaken by black as the new car colour of choice.

Nationally, the third and fourth most popular colours were grey and blue, both gaining market share. Meanwhile, yellow cars appeared in the top 10 for the first time since 2013 at the expense of mauve, which dropped to 11th place.


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Regionally, black topped the chart in the South East while also overtaking white as the favourite new car colour in East Anglia and the West Midlands. However, white continued to be most popular across the rest of the country, with buyers in the South West, East Midlands, Yorkshire and the North all following the national trend.

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Car colours – biggest winners and losers in 2016

Going up

Pink may still be a niche colour choice, but last year demand grew 82.7% to 3,527 units.

A 44% rise in demand for Bronze cars saw a record 8,902 people spec the colour in 2016.

Turquoise's popularity grew fourfold last year, from just 792 registrations in 2015 to 2,718.

Going down

Is brown's time in the top 10 coming to an end? Demand fell 40.1%, dropping it one place to ninth.

Appetite for beige fell 27.6% to under 10,000 for the first time since 2000 with 8,426 cars registered.

Silver saw the biggest volume decline, falling 22,209, with 273,220 buyers choosing it compared with 843,870 in its heyday back in 2004.

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