What the most popular leasing colour says about our customers

Written by Kevin Blackmore

What are your key considerations when it comes to picking a new car? According to consumer data expert, Statista, fuel efficiency is the most important factor followed by safety and then suitability of use. All very sensible of course. If a car can’t get you safely from A to B without draining the fuel tank, then that’s an issue.

But I’d argue that colour is also a fundamental consideration. After all, if we offered you a great lease deal on a Volkswagen Taigo (which we do) but forced you to choose between white or brown (which we don’t), that decision would likely weigh on you more heavily than its fuel efficiency rating.

Of course, we’d never force you to choose – you can lease a brand-new car in any colour you like.

So, when it comes to that all-important colour choice, what do drivers prefer?

In their annual analysis of the most popular car colour in 2021, the Society of Motor Manufacturer and Traders (SMMT) found that grey has been the most popular car colour for the last four years running, with black taking the top spot in 2017 and white being the colour of choice for the four years prior to that.

In fact, the last time an actual colour was most popular was way back in 1999 when blue was the colour of choice for many drivers.

But, what is it with all this monochrome? And why aren’t we driving cars in passionate red, cool blue, or refreshing green? Are we a nation of boring drivers?

It’s not like manufacturers aren’t trying. The Volkswagen Taigo, for example, is available in a veritable rainbow of colours from ‘Kings Red’ to ‘Visual Green’ by the way of ‘Reef Blue’ (though there’s an unsurprisingly healthy selection of neutrals in there too.)

So how do the SMMT’s findings compare with the colour choices of Intelligent Car Leasing customers? Curiously, there’s a difference in the top slot.

The chart below shows the colour choices for cars ordered in 2021 by Intelligent Car Leasing customers compared to the SMMT’s analysis:

The three most popular colours choices across both sets of data are monochrome. However, our data shows customers favouring black and more customers opting for white over blue. This paints a slightly different picture in comparison with the SMMT data.

So why do our customers prefer black paint?

Black makes a statement

According to Colour Psychology black is especially prevalent in luxury model cars. A shiny black car exudes a feeling of luxury and the finer things in life. Black is sophisticated, powerful and always makes an impression. Choosing this car colour indicates that you wish to exude these qualities yourself.

We’re not psychologists, but that sort of makes sense. Leasing a new car is an aspirational choice that enables many of our customers to drive a better car, maybe even treat themselves to a premium badge model.

Perhaps our customers choose to lease black cars because they want to highlight the premium status of their new car? Or maybe they’re looking to make a statement by giving their car some extra driveway presence?

Either way, I think we can safely assume the preference for monochrome paint has nothing to do with being boring, but rather down to drivers looking to make an impression.

Colour choice over the years

If we compare the colour preferences of Intelligent Car Leasing customers over the last four years, we can see black, grey and white have maintained the same popularity and similar share. However, 2021 did see a drop in black cars in favour of white, while the share of other colours increased mainly at the expense of red and blue.

The only major anomaly over the last four years can be seen in 2020 when silver pushed red out of the top 5 altogether.  But one year on and it had reclaimed its spot.

Henry Ford famously said about the Model T: “You can have any colour, as long as it’s black”. That had less to do with taste and more to do with the fact the black paint dried faster, which helped Ford knock out cars at a faster rate to satisfy burgeoning demand.

Ford’s black-only strategy changed in the 1920s when rivals – offering a wider choice of colours -began to eat into their market lead. And so it is today that we have a bewildering array of colours to choose from.

Whilst that might make your final decision-making process a little more difficult, we understand. We’re happy to wait while you agonise over your colour choice…

Black? Coming right up!


This entry was posted in Car Leasing Knowledge on by Kevin Blackmore

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