Figures from residual value experts cap hpi show that customers had to pay a premium of at least £250 for white paint on eight out of the top 10 new car models ordered in 2015. White, once shunned by car buyers, and previously normally a no-cost option, is now the most popular colour on new UK cars, accounting for a fifth of all new car sales in 2015.
White has now topped the sales charts for the last three years now, and more than half a million of the 2.6 million cars registered last year (21.4 per cent) were white, according to the SMMT. However, cap hpi analysis of the new car market reveals that the only two models in the 2015 top 10 offer white as a no-cost option; the Audi A3 and the Mini Hatchback.
Among the models that are offered in white as a ‘premium’ option, the Ford Fiesta and Ford Focus are the cheapest at £250 extra. Next comes the Volkswagen Golf at £260 and then the Vauxhall Corsa at £275 for plain white, but metallic white comes at a hefty premium of £545.
“It’s interesting to see that manufacturers have noticed the rising popularity of white cars here in the UK. As it’s become more desirable, it makes business sense for manufacturers to start charging extra for the snowy tones,” explains Mark Norman, Managing Consultant and Chief Residual Value Optimisation Analyst of cap hpi. “Buyers should be wary of paying extra for more unusual tones, just because they’re on trend now – for example the SMMT has reported that mauve, orange and yellow cars are in demand – as it could make your car difficult to sell once that colour goes out of fashion.
“It’s also interesting to learn that manufacturers change standard non-cost colours in different regions of Europe. For instance, the non-cost Fiesta colour in Germany is Blue and they charge €200 extra for Red or €150 for white. Their standard metallic charge is €565. In France they don’t charge extra for solid colours and standard metallic cost €500. In Spain Blue is non-cost, red and white cost €200 and standard metallic costs €425 and in Italy the standard colour is red, solid blue will cost you €300, white €400 and standard metallic €600.
“However, here in the UK, those that spent that extra £250 spent on a new Ford Focus or VW Golf two or three years ago, will get that back if they decide to sell in the current used car market, making it a sound investment. However, with so many white cars on the road today, that may not be the story by 2018. Look back a decade and some cars weren’t available in white because it didn’t sell, whilst black was the hottest colour on the road. The trick is to avoid being caught out at the tail end of a colour trend, leaving you trying to sell a car in a colour that nobody desires anymore.”