Funky colours might actually help with a car’s resale value

We all know that white, silver, and black are the most popular colours on cars – you don’t need a study to tell you that (although there’s at least one every year), just take a look outside your window. They’re not the most exciting of colours, but most people will tell you they chose that because it’s “safe”, thus retaining more value when it’s time to sell.

Well… as it turns out, that might not be the case in actuality. According to a study done by, cars with funky colours such as yellow, beige (yes, beige), and orange might actually have a higher resale value compared to the traditionally safe colours. Yes, we know, we’ll give you a moment to gather your thoughts.

According to the study, which compared the prices of more than six million new and used cars between 2017 and 2020 in the United States, Yellow ranked first with an average depreciation rate of 20.4% after three years, while white, black and silver cars all hovered around the average mark at 37.6%.

So why are people still buying these boring colours? Here’s iSeeCars Executive Analyst Karl Brauer’s take: “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.

“Because there are so many of these vehicles in the used car marketplace, buyers can shop around more easily if they’re interested in these colours, reducing the amount of pricing power for dealers,” said Brauer. “This means black, white, and silver are the safe colours to buy if you’re satisfied with average value retention, but not if you’re trying to do better than average.”

What that essentially means is that because fewer people are buying these colours on new cars, the number of these funky-coloured cars on second-hand markets are also lesser – and as we all know, high demand plus low supply equals to higher price.

Green is the best car colour. Why? Just take a look at the Alfa Romeo Giulia and Stelvio QV…

Moreover, colours like orange are more frequently found on higher performance or special-edition models, and that usually means they come in even more limited quantities, making them hold their value better.

However, just scarcity itself isn’t an accurate-enough indication of how well a car will hold their values. The three car colours with the highest depreciation rate in the study – purple, brown, and gold – also have some of the lowest market share, but depreciate far worse than average.

Here’s a “regular” car that’s available in Orange – the all-new Nissan Almera Turbo

“If a colour doesn’t resonate with enough used car shoppers, it will hurt resale value – even if it’s uncommon,” added Brauer. The effect of that is even more apparent when you factor in the car’s body style and types. For example, orange SUVs might hold their values well, but they depreciate significantly worse on sedans compared to other colours.

The study isn’t completely infallible, either. There are just too many variables to reliably assess resale value based solely off of one factor – car colours aren’t distributed across carmakers, types, models, and trims. Perhaps a better comparison would be how a yellow Porsche 911 compares to a blue one, or how a red Honda HR-V compares to a white one.

This Nissan GT-R R34 is priced at RM2 million, partly thanks to its Millenium Jade colour – only 156 V-Spec II Nur editions were ever made in that hue

So with all that being said, what colour should you buy for your car? We think that you should just buy the colour (and car) that you like, enjoy the car, and get over the whole hoo-hah on resale values.

In our experience, car colour rarely alter the second-hand value that much anyway, perhaps at most a few thousand Ringgits. What matters more is usually the condition of the car, so as long as you take care of them properly, you’ll be golden.

[Source: iSeeCar via lifehacker]


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