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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 Statista’s 2018 Global Consumer Survey, fuel efficiency is the most important factor when choosing a car, followed by safety and then suitability of use.

Well, I’m sure they were all being very sensible when they were being asked those questions, but really? OK, they are important considerations, but what about colour?

I confess I place looks over practicality, and whilst Statista’s survey suggests drivers adopt a logical approach to choosing a new car, many of us will admit that looks – and particularly colour – are key factors in the final decision-making process.

After all, if we offered you a great lease deal on a Volkswagen T-Roc but forced you to choose between white or brown, that would probably concern you more 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 – but you get the point.

Recently the Society of Motor Manufacturer and Traders (SMMT) conducted an analysis of the most popular car colour in 2019 and found that grey was the most popular car colour for 2018 and 2019, with black taking the top spot in 2017 and white being the colour of choice from 2013 to 2016.

In fact, the last time a non-neutral colour was most popular was way back in 1999 when most drivers opted for blue cars.

But how do the SMMT’s findings compare with the colour choices of Intelligent Car Leasing customers?

Curiously, they don’t match up.

The chart below shows the colour choices of Intelligent Car Leasing customers for 2019 compared to the SMMT’s finding for the same period:

Black is most popular across our customers. This paints a slightly different picture in comparison with the SMMT data which puts grey as the top colour. But why the difference?

Black makes a statement

According to Colour Psychology black is especially prevalent in luxury model cars. A deep black shiny 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.

And that sort of makes sense. Leasing a brand new car is an aspirational choice. Replacing an ageing car with a new car at an affordable monthly cost enables many of our customers to drive a better car, maybe even treat themselves to a premium badge model.

So do our customers choose to lease black cars because they want to highlight the premium status of their new car? Are they looking to make a statement when they park in their driveway or turn heads when sitting at the lights?

It certainly looks that way.

If we take our top ten most popular manufacturers over the last three years, we can see that the majority are premium brands, and in 80% of cases, the most popular colour choice is black, with discerning Volkswagen and Volvo drivers being the only exceptions.

So, we think it safe to conclude that our customers prefer to highlight the ‘premium-ness’ of their car choice by selecting a black finish. And why not? There’s nothing to beat the feeling of a brand-new car, and who are we to say that you shouldn’t shout about it?

Henry Ford famously said about the Model T: “You can have any colour, as long as it’s black”. Of course, that had less to do with taste and more to do with the fact the black paint dried faster, which helped Ford to 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 lead. And so it is today that we have a truly 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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