New Study Reveals the Best and Worst Car Colors for Resale Value

Good news if your car is yellow

Yellow Mustang
What color cars hold their value the most?
Anthony Fomin/Unsplash

When looking to buy a car, many prospective vehicle owners must wrestle with the same question — namely, “Just how well is this going to retain its value?” A study cited in this 2019 article indicated that most drivers keep their cars for around six years. And while the market for used cars has gone through some unexpected ups and downs in recent years, the principles at the heart of reselling one’s vehicle remain the same.

A new study at iSeeCars ventures further into the question of how a car’s color affects its resale value. The company analyzed the colors of 650,000 used three-year-old cars to what effect they had on the depreciation. The results point to some interesting conclusions — beginning with the fact that the color at the top spot on the list was yellow.

According to the study, yellow cars’ depreciation was at 4.5% — compared with 14.3% for blue cars, to cite one example. It’s followed by orange.

The study cites the average three-year depreciation as 15%. It’s worth mentioning here that the majority of the colors in the survey are within one percentage point of the average. Blue, grey, beige and silver are all slightly below the average, while white is just over it. Black, gold and brown cars have the highest levels of depreciation, with the last of these topping the list at 17.8% depreciation over three years.

According to analyst Karl Brauer, the presence of yellow and orange cars on the list is due to their relative rarity. “Because yellow vehicles are so novel in the secondhand marketplace, people are willing to pay a premium for them,” he said. But he also pointed out that gold and brown cars are also relatively little-seen. “Rarity alone does not equal value,” Brauer said. “If a color doesn’t resonate with enough used car shoppers it will hurt resale value, even if it’s uncommon.”

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