Complete colour turnaround whiter than white for car sales

Some car-makers have used the rising popularity of white cars to launch special edition models such as this Kia Picanto White.

White’s all right again when it comes to the top car colour and it has grown on motoring editor Andy Russell.

For years I had a real aversion to white cars and it went far deeper than many people’s assertion that “they show all the dirt”.

I recalled my early dislike of white cars when it was revealed it was the most popular car colour for the second year running, accounting for one in five new cars last year. Quite remarkable when you consider that 10 years ago less than 1% of UK new car buyers chose white.

The first car I can remember my parents driving was a three-door white Ford Cortina Mark I and one Christmas, when they really were white and I was still in a child’s car seat, Dad slid off the icy road, up a bank and the car rolled over on to its side. No one was hurt but for years it put me off white cars.

As for showing the dirt, any car does if you don’t clean it but there is something pure and clinical about a gleaming, newly-polished white car and they do stand out… in anything but a blizzard!

My attitude to white cars changed while visiting family in Australia when our hire car, along with so many privately-owned ones, was white – until coated in dust – because they reflect the sun’s heat.

Now I have taken a shine to white cars which really show off chrome and black and silver trim and embellishments. And a white soft-top with a dark red hood is a ray of sunshine – whatever the weather.

I was struck back in 2007 that more and more car-makers were choosing white cars for their publicity pictures and it was interesting that demand for white cars saw exponential growth from 2008 to 2012, with registerations growing from 1.1% in 2007 to 20.9% in 2012.

White was the most popular colour for new cars in the UK in 2014 for the second year running, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

Of 2,476,435 new cars registered last year, 22.2% were white – the highest proportion since records began in 1996.

The colour’s record-breaking popularity follows a strong upturn in the uptake of white cars, over the past decade. In 2010, white cars accounted for just under 10% of new car registrations, making it the sixth most popular car colour, with black and silver cars the best-selling. Five years earlier, it was less than 1%.

Last year, black cars took second place with 19% followed by grey at 14% of the market. Silver – the second most popular colour in 2010 with almost a quarter of registrations – has now slipped to sixth place at 13%.

White became the UK’s most popular choice in 2013, but for many years it was one of the least-favoured choices of car colours.

It has been helped by several manufacturers creating black and white special editions but also by the fact that solid white is a standard colour and some company car drivers will choose a solid colour rather than pay extra for a metallic option so increasing their benefit-in-kind tax burden.

You could call this colour change a whiter shade of sale!


Tyre pressure alert bit of a blow

I had a car with a tyre pressure monitoring system (TPMS) during a recent cold snap. Everything was fine when I drove it home from the office but the next morning the warning light came on and, checking the system, revealed all four tyres were underinflated.

Bearing in mind the pressures would have been checked the previous day in the press fleet garage there was no way all four tyres could have gone down so I did a little research.

Weather affects tyre pressures – hot weather may cause them to rise, cold weather to fall, even more so if parked outside.

You should check pressures, and set the TPMS, when the tyres are cold but it’s worth doing when they are at their coldest – probably first thing in the morning. TPMS is not an alternative to checking the pressure and condition of your tyres.

Most tyres can handle higher pressures resulting from driving and in hot weather, provided they were set at the correct pressure when cold.

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