CEO Update

UK car buyers seize the grey

20 January 2023 #CEO Update

While this week was host to ‘Blue Monday’, UK car buyers steered towards grey as their favourite new car colour in 2022. Taking pole position for the fifth year in a row, grey has cemented its place as the nation’s most popular car paint. Black and white maintained their second and third positions in the monochrome podium, with the three top colours accounting for more than six in 10 of all new cars sold in the UK last year.

But it was green, (powertrains, and the colour), that saw the biggest volume rise, as registrations for the colour grew by 74.2% in 2022, with EVs accounting for one in four green cars. The colour’s resurgence is apt, given that last year, more people than ever before chose a zero-emission powertrain thanks to an ever-growing selection of models and increasing driving ranges.

If we are to ensure these models are made in Britain, with all the economic benefits this brings, then we need sufficient battery manufacturing capacity so news this week that Britishvolt has entered administration was disappointing and of course devastating to its employees.

The UK’s promise to become an EV battery production location remains, however, with strong demand, a skilled workforce and attractive manufacturing sites all providing a compelling investment proposition. The window of opportunity for this investment is open, but it won’t be forever and so we need a comprehensive plan to ensure the UK remains competitive in the global race to industrial decarbonisation.

Also this week, the Department for Transport published proposals to shift MOT intervals from 3-1-1 to 4-1-1 or, even worse, a second option of 5-1-1. We’ve been here before – and not just once – so the fact that extending intervals will jeopardise road safety must be made yet again. Putting lives at risk in exchange for a small saving, which could cost consumers more in the long run as faults are left unidentified and untreated, defies logic. Consumers do face an incredibly tough time with household bills rising rapidly but the maintenance of safety standards should be non-negotiable.

Of course, we welcome the opportunity to work with government via the consultation and other channels on how to improve the test – but this will be achieved by making it more robust and keeping it relevant as new technologies come on stream. Stretching MOT intervals and shrinking this critical safety net is not the answer and should be taken off the agenda once and for all.

Update Newsletter