Paying the white price for new cars

One in five new cars sold in the UK last year were white, but while it used to be a free colour from manufacturers many now carry an added premium of at least £250.

According to cap hpi, 80% of the top 10 new car models ordered in 2015 added an extra premium of at least £250 to go a whiter shade of pale. More than 2.6 million new cars were registered last year, with 21.4% of them white.

However, only the Audi A3 and the Mini Hatchback offer white as a no-cost option.

Among those models offering white as a premium option, the cheapest were the Ford Fiesta and Ford Focus at £250 extra. The Volkswagen Golf was next at £260 and then the Vauxhall Corsa at £275 for plain white, with metallic white at £545.

Mark Norman, managing consultant and chief residual value optimisation analyst of cap hpi, said, ‘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.

‘Buyers should be wary of paying extra for more unusual tones, just because they’re on trend now, 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, while 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.’