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Are grey cars really silver? And other car colour questions

Silver vs grey car Image copyright Getty Images

What does the colour of your car say about you?

Half a million Britons bought a grey car last year - and in 2018, for the first time, it was the most popular car colour, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Silver, meanwhile, had its heyday in the early 2000s, topping the chart every year between 2000 and 2008.

In 2018, however, it didn't even make the top five.

But is there really a difference between grey and silver?

Silver is just metallic grey isn't it? Not in the car world it isn't.

The second most popular car model sold last year, Volkswagen's Golf, comes in "grey metallic" and "silver metallic".

A company spokesman explained that a lot of their colours are just translations from their German equivalent.

All newly-bought cars are registered with the DVLA - and the colour is recorded according to the car manufacturer's description.

However, that doesn't extend to distinguishing between cherry red and scarlet - in the DVLA's eyes they're both just red.

So why the difference between metallic grey and silver?

A spokesman from Nissan, which offers a "gun metallic" and "blade silver" finish to its Qashqai, said: "Silver aims to replicate the finish of silver the metal, whereas grey is the colour grey."

What are the least popular car colours?

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Image caption Sprinter Usain Bolt helped auction off a gold Nissan in 2012

Black, white, and silver have been firm favourites since the turn of the millennium.

But of the colours deemed less aesthetically pleasing, maroon was the least popular choice last year, with only 471 such cars registered.

Not far behind was cream, with 559 registrations.

Third most unpopular was pink - which also fell out of favour with ex-glamour model Katie Price, who tried to sell off her Barbie pink jeep after being banned from driving earlier this month.

Fourth was turquoise with 1,824 registrations and fifth was gold, with 2,919.

Will a white car be cheaper to insure?

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There have long been rumours that darker cars have higher insurance premiums.

The thinking goes that lighter and brighter cars are easier to see and therefore less likely to get into accidents.

But price comparison website MoneySupermarket said it doesn't ask customers to specify car colour.

The reason? "It's easier for a bad driver to change the colour of his car than the quality of his cornering!" a spokesman said.

If you do fancy a lick of paint though, you'll have to inform the DVLA.

Lee Griffin, president of comparison site GoCompare, said various studies had looked at the correlation between car colour and accident rates.

"However, UK insurers do not take colour into account when setting premiums as the statistics are too unreliable," he said.

"They will focus on your age and driving history as well as the type of car that you drive, which are all better indicators of your insurance risk."

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