The car colours that could make or break the resale value

After comparing the prices of more than six million new and used cars from 2017 to 2020, has determined which colours help, hurt, or have minimal impact on a vehicle’s resale value.

“A vehicle’s colour is among the primary considerations after shoppers have decided on a make and model,” says iSeeCars executive analyst Karl Brauer. “With resale value being the single biggest factor in how much a new vehicle ‘costs’ over the course of ownership, consumers should carefully consider their colour choice.”

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Mainstream colours, including white, black, and silver, tend to depreciate more slowly than some colours because they are safe picks that appeal to a wide segment of drivers.

But are those the best colours for helping a vehicle maintain its value?

“There’s a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy going on here, with many consumers picking these mainstream colours not because they like them, but because they assume everyone else does,” says Mr Brauer. “This makes white, black, and silver appear to be in high demand, yet our analysis confirms that more obscure colours tend to hold their value better than common and popular colours.”

Some unexpected colours tend to hold their value very well, depreciating at a lower rate than average:

  • orange – 27.1 per cent
  • beige – 22.8 per cent
  • yellow – 20.4 per cent

Overall, yellow is the vehicle colour that holds its value best, depreciating less over three years than vehicles of any other colour. “Yellow may not be a widely desired car colour, but there are enough people who want yellow, versus the number of yellow new cars being ordered, to make yellow cars more desirable than others on the used market,” says Mr Brauer. “In fact, yellow is among the colours with the lowest vehicle share and is most commonly a colour for sports cars and other low-volume vehicles that hold their value relatively well.”

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Orange also appears on a small overall share of vehicles, and – like yellow – is most often found on low-volume sports and muscle cars.

However, the results of the survey show that rarity alone doesn’t determine how much a vehicle depreciates.

The three paint colours with the highest depreciation over three years are:

  • gold – 45.6 per cent
  • brown – 42.1 per cent
  • purple – 41.2 per cent

Vehicles in these colours also have a low market share but depreciate far worse than average. “Rarity alone does not equal value. If a colour doesn’t resonate with enough used car shoppers it will hurt resale value, even if it’s uncommon,” says Mr Brauer.

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The full iSeeCars list – with average three-year depreciation:

  • yellow – 20.4 per cent
  • beige – 22.8 per cent
  • orange – 27.1 per cent
  • green – 31.3 per cent
  • grey – 36.4 per cent
  • red – 36.9 per cent
  • blue – 37 per cent
  • silver – 37.6 per cent
  • white – 38 per cent
  • black – 38.4 per cent
  • purple – 41.2 per cent
  • brown – 42.1 per cent
  • gold – 45.6 per cent

So, when choosing the colour of your new car, it’s worth keeping in mind what others might think of it when it comes time to sell.

What colour is your car? Did you think about the resale value when you purchased it?

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Written by Ellie Baxter