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Are the most popular car colours leaving us out of pocket? Rivervale Leasing has compared the price of 21,000 cars being sold online to see how the colour of paint can affect a car’s value.

Grey remains Britain’s most popular car colour, according to the latest SMMT data, with 397,000 new registrations in 2020. Black comes in second place with 324,000, followed by white at 283,000 and blue at 276,000.

The study shows that black and blue cars sell for the lowest amount, when compared to the average £10,050 sale value of all 21,000 cars analysed. While it’s a very common colour, black cars are shockingly 68% less valuable when selling, which could mean losing out on £6.8k. The data also shows that blue cars, our third most popular, drop in value by 30% or £3k, on average.

Brits with the most popular choice aren’t affected as much, although grey cars still may result in a negative resale value. Roivervale found grey cars to be 14% less valuable, or a loss of £1.4k.

Comparing the top five least popular car colours – multicoloured, pink, maroon, turquoise and bronze – our analysis shows you could get up to £2.8k more when it comes to selling.

The only one of these unpopular colours which results in a loss is pink, which is infamous for limiting a car’s appeal, after Katie Price’s Range Rover ‘wiped £3,000 off its value’ with a pink paint job, according to HPI.

When looking at manufacturers and their colour options, yellow Mercedes-Benz cars prove to be the most lucrative in the study. Drivers could get up to £38k more than the average selling price of a Mercedes if they have a yellow model.

Things also look bright if you have a gold Audi or a multicoloured BMW. Both car colours could net around £21k more than other models made by the manufacturers.

Unsurprisingly, as black proved to be the least valuable colour overall, it’s the same result for 75% of manufacturers. Rivervale found that the lowest-selling colour from 15 out of 20 brands was black. For those that weren’t, here are the colours you might need to avoid.

  • Abarth – white -£3,983
  • Alfa Romeo – turquoise -£4,579
  • Land Rover – silver -£12,721
  • Volkswagen – pink -£9,372
  • Volvo – purple -£4,925

Rivervale’s Group Marketing Manager Bud Johnston said: “There are many reasons why we might prefer minimalist car colours, like wanting the exterior and interior to match. If your dashboard and seats are neutral, you want the outside of the car to complement them. We also might pick certain colours purely because they’re more popular historically.

“However, as so many more cars registered are grey, black or white, there are of course going to be more of these coloured cars up for sale. This could affect the selling price, as there are lots of models available. Drivers who are in the market for an unpopular colour have less choice, so might have to pay more to get the car they want.”

Rivervale asked psychologist Lee Chambers to explain more about the meaning of car colours. He said: “The psychological reasoning behind car colour has been considered for years, and with good reason. When you look at the popular colours, grey, black, and white, they are conservative. When driving, we want to make our journey seamless and safe, and these colours are less likely to trigger attention and other road users.

“The least popular colours would all be labelled as unconventional. For example, pink is a bold statement colour. When added to the cultural consideration as a colour of femininity and pampering, it’s appeal as a vehicle colour is niche at best.”