There are two important factors to consider when choosing the colour of your next car. The first is: what colour would I like my car to be? The second is: What colour will the next owner like my car to be?

For most car owners, the second factor takes precedence.

Improving resale value by choosing a popular shade/colour

The UK's car buyers cannot, it seems, be described as adventurous when it comes to choosing the colour of their cars. In 2018, the most popular colour (or shade) was grey. In 2017 it was black, and in the four preceding years it was white.

Grey, black and white accounted for a whopping 59% of all cars in 2018.

But if grey, white and black are technically "shades", then the last time a proper colour topped the list was in 1999 - when blue was most popular.

Based on data from the last 20 years, we can surmise that UK car owners prefer sober paint jobs. Which means when resale time comes round, it will pay to choose a car in one of these shades.


Grey Britain

No less than 495,127 new models were painted grey in 2018 - amounting to 20.9 percent of the market. The UK's top sellers - Ford Fiesta, Volkswagen Golf and Vauxhall Corsa, sold more in grey than any other type of paint.

And let's not hold the press for 2019's results (yet to be published): unless Union Jack paint jobs have surged following certain events, then grey is probably the safest shade to choose!


But I really want a bright colour

If you want to express your brighter side, your safest bet is to choose blue (4th in 2018; 381,591 models had this colour paint); or red (5th in 2018; 236,522). The next bright colour on the list is orange (7th), which was used on just 26,042 models - so probably best avoided in terms of resale value. In 8th was green, with 21,167 models being sprayed this colour. This paltry figure is even more astonishing when you consider that in 1996, green was the most popular car colour in the country!


Colour configurators

However, if you want to see what your would-be car would look like in other shades, you can go to the manufacturer's website and use the colour configurator to see how different colours look.


What about small hatchbacks and sports cars?

If there's one segment that can pull off a more vibrant colour, it's the small hatchback segment. The small proportions of these machines seem to go well with brighter colours. The same is arguably true of sports cars - which are often sold in more eye-catching shades. Their sleek lines and sporty aesthetics make them good bedfellows for “lime green” and “cerise”.


The bigger, the soberer

The general rule seems to be: larger, more sedate cars will get a better resale price if painted grey, black, white or, at a push, blue. For smaller, sportier cars, you might be able to indulge your personality by picking a more vivid colour.

Of course, all this begs the question: do today's motorists ever actually choose a colour they like? Or do they just choose the colour they think people will like most come resale time? Do most UK drivers secretly want their car in luminous pink or canary yellow?

Until someone finds an answer to this question, there’s only one thing we can say: your next car can be any colour - as long as it's grey.