British drivers stick to monochrome tones as top car colours for sixth consecutive year

Close-up of stylish gray car luxury front headlight design outdoors.

The most recent data released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) shows that grey is the preferred hue among British drivers, maintaining its top spot for a record six years.

More than half a million (509,194) grey cars were registered in 2023, with volumes climbing 22.6% as the new car market experienced its strongest year since the epidemic. Grey cars account for a market share of 26.8% of all new vehicles.

Black and white completed the podium, taking second and third position for the sixth year in a row, respectively, and recording their highest volumes since 2019.

63.5% of all new cars that entered UK roads in 2023 were monochrome, with red remaining in fifth and blue rising 10.9% to fourth place. Red, on the other hand, saw its lowest market share since 2005 and a steady drop in popularity since 2019.

Although it is evident that British consumers prefer monochrome vehicles, those who were eager to add their personal touch to their vehicle could select from a wide range of colour options. The only colours that remained in the niche were maroon, pink, and cream, which together accounted for just 604 registrations.

In comparison to 2023 quantities, orange, bronze, turquoise, and brown saw a decline in popularity.

On the other hand, green made a strong return, hitting 53,426 units, its biggest volume since 2005, and 2.8%, its best market share since 2004. 

Even though grey is associated with environmental friendliness, “zero emission cars,” which hit the road in Britain in historic numbers last year, had the same colour scheme as their internal combustion engine counterparts.

Grey was the colour of choice for all British regions, with white coming in second in the Channel Islands, Northern Ireland, and Scotland. In Wales, the Isle of Man, and England, black was the second-most preferred colour.

SMMT Chief Executive, Mike Hawes, said: “2023 was a bumper year for the British new car market, as buyers continued to gravitate towards familiar monochrome hues for another year – even as ever more motorists embrace new technologies.

“Car manufacturers have diligently expanded their offerings, with a huge selection of colour options available across hundreds of models and thousands of specification options.

“The extensive variety allows drivers flexibility in choosing a tint that embodies their individuality and style.”

Top 10 car colours 2023

ColourNumber of registrationsMarket share %Volume change vs 2022
Grey509,19426.8%22.6%
Black385,17120.2%18.5%
White314,38216.5%16.9%
Blue287,21315.1%10.9%
Red142,1797.5%3.9%
Silver124,4826.5%26.4%
Green53,4262.8%71.1%
Orange16,6771.7%-14%
Yellow11,8800.9%11.4%
Bronze6,3500.6%-18.6%
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