The popularity of white cars continues to grow, according to data seen by RAC Insurance following a freedom of information request to the DVLA.
Is white really that popular? IE mag did some checking and found that as more manufacturers make white cars their default `no extras’ setting, and charge consumers an extra £400-£1000 for a paint job, that would explain the popularity.
For example the Mazda 2 hatchback is available in Arctic White at no extra cost, but choose silver or grey and they wnat an extra £530 – that is quite a hefty surcharge on a cheap city car many might say. Mercedes want an extra £685 for a colour on their C Class Coupe, which isn’t a big deal when spensing over 30K, but still – it all adds up.
Anyway, here’s the press release from the RAC, who seem oblivious to the economics that govern new car paintwork choices.
Looking at every car registered for road use in Britain as of March 2020, the number of white cars rose by 269,314 compared to a year earlier, making for a total of just under 5m – 4,954,510. Since 2016 white has enjoyed stellar growth with more than 1.5m (1,522,838) more white cars now on the road, taking its percentage share of all the country’s 32.6m cars to 13.5%. It is now the fifth most popular colour – a place it’s held since 2018.
But the rate at which drivers are switching to white cars has slowed, having peaked in 2018 when there were 376,343 added to Britain’s roads. This dropped off slightly the following year when 352,998 white cars were registered.
While black remains the most popular car colour on Britain’s roads, accounting for one in every five cars (20%) with 6.5m (6,578,946), its growth rate is far lower with just under 12,000 (11,806) added in 2020. In March 2019 the figure was 112,035 and in 2018 it was 132,641.
There are, however, still 822,411 more black cars than its nearest rival silver which has 5.7m (5,756,535 – 18% share of all cars). There were 363,485 fewer silver cars on the roads in 2020 than there were at the same point in 2019, and more than 1m fewer than in 2016 (1,084,780).
Blue is the colour in third spot with 5,593,298 – down 87,865 on 2019 but still accounting for 17% of all cars on the roads, with grey in fourth on just under 5m (4,954,510 –15.2% share of all cars) – down 236,027 since March 2019.
Red takes sixth spot behind white with 3.5m (3,486,735 -10.7%) cars licensed and is the last colour with significant volumes over a million. In seventh place green only accounts for 667,000 cars, representing 2% of the whole car parc. Orange (8th), beige/buff (9th) and brown (10th) complete the top 10 colours, each only making up under 1% of all cars.
Pink is the least popular car colour with 22,728 but that has increased very steadily since 2017 when there 19,959 – only multicoloured cars are less popular with just 6,724 down from 7,455 in 2017.
RAC Insurance spokesman Simon Williams said:
“While black continues to top the car colours popularity chart, the appeal of white is still very much on the up. In fact, today there are 1.5m more white cars on the roads than there were in 2016. It remains to be seen whether white will make its way into the top five car colours however. If it does, it will have to depose grey, blue or silver.
“Grey is very much still in vogue, but silver’s appeal is waning, having shrunk in overall numbers by 340,000 in the last three years. Blue is also out of favour, with just under 90,000 fewer registered cars now on the road than the same time in 2019. But white still has some ground to make up as it’s 558,000 behind grey which currently holds fifth spot.
“It’s always very interesting trying to work out at what point a colour goes out of fashion. Clearly, this is what happened with silver which was the number-one choice in 2017 but fell back into second a year later and has remained there ever since.
“While taste in car colours is very individual and subject to what manufacturers offer, there must come a point where drivers feel a particular colour has become too common and think they should opt for something else, after all it wouldn’t be much fun if we all drove the same colour cars.”