Back to black – UK car-buying mood turns darker

But almost a third of AA members’ cars have a silver lining

They may be harder to spot in bad light, heat up more quickly in the sun and be associated with taxis and hearses, but the Brits have a growing love affair with black cars. Compared to two years ago, 9% more AA members have one. More ‘back to black’ cars are likely to take to the roads as the new ‘63’ plate cars hit the road on Sunday (1).

Silver and blue cars have maintained their top two positions as the most popular car colours with AA members, according to the latest AA Cars “State of the Nation’s Cars” report.

The latest AA Populus research shows 29% own a silver car and 23% a blue one. A similar survey in 2011 ran at 25% silver and 23% blue. So the number of blue cars has remained static whilst silver ownership has increased despite a 9% hike in black cars.

The report shows the top colours with 2011 scores in brackets.

  1. Silver 29% (25%) up 4%
  2. Blue 23% (23%) no change
  3. Black 23% (14%) up 9%
  4. Red 9% (11%) down 2%
  5. Green 6% (7%) down 1%
  6. White 4% (4%) no change
  7. Yellow 1% (1%) no change
  8. Beige 1% (1%) no change

There wasn’t great variety amongst the sexes but females were slightly more inclined than males to opt for blue and green.

Black cars were more favoured in the NE (20%), silver cars in Northern Ireland (33%), red cars in Yorkshire and Humberside, white cars in the West Midlands (5%). There weren’t many orange cars but they were more likely to be owned by older drivers in the South East. The higher the social status the more likely the driver was to own a silver car.

But does your car colour matter?

Status: Some feel that black or white cars denote status whilst those with orange, yellow or purple cars are trying to be whacky.

Sale: When it comes to reselling the car there are still two clear contenders for most saleable colours – silver and black. Sellers of purple or beige cars may struggle. Various police forces switched to silver cars a few years ago to cash in on better resale values.

Spick and span: One of the attractions of silver is the feeling that it is by far the easiest to keep clean or indeed appear to be clean. Black and white cars tend to show up the dirt.

Safest: AA members believe that lighter colours are the safest. Yellow, white and then red topped the poll for safety. In bad light some colours are easier to spot than others hence the importance of using your lights when visibility is poor. The AA uses yellow vehicles to enhance visibility of the patrols’ vehicles.

Sanest: A motoring psychologist has suggested that owners of beige or pastel coloured cars are more likely to suffer from depression. The happiest drivers have blue metallic cars. Owners of black cars try to top the pecking order whilst white car owners tend to be distant and aloof. Other psychologists suggest that silver denotes prestige and wealth but has a feminine energy; it is related to the moon and the ebb and flow of the tides – it is fluid, emotional, sensitive and mysterious. It is soothing, calming and purifying.*

Suits: Some people argue that a certain colour may suit a particular model of car such as a red Ferrari or British Racing Green older MG. Others accept that more quirky cars (2CVs, Beetles) can get away with more exotic colours.

David Bruce, Director of AA Cars, said:

There has been no radical change in car colours over the last couple of years although we have seen a surge in black cars. When buying a used car you need to have a degree of flexibility in your colour choice but don’t make any rash judgements – it is you that will have to live with that purple or brown car. It is also worth thinking about resale values for nearly near cars.


The AA Cars website offers over 100,000 cars so there is bound to be a make, model and hopefully colour to match your needs.”

Edmund King, AA president, added:

We expect to see more ‘back to black’ cars hitting the road as the new 63 plate registrations roll out. Car colours are generally fairly conservative and I wouldn’t worry what the shrinks say about your colour choice.

It is most important to get the right car with no hidden secrets and this is where complimentary AA car data checks  can help.

“We certainly won’t be changing the colour of our AA patrol vehicles anytime soon but do you fancy a change?”





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