The vehicle buying process is rife with complications, with customers forced to consider myriad factors to reduce potential vehicle depreciation. However, one factor that customers may not always consider is car color, which, according to one recent study, can in fact have a profound impact on depreciation.
According to a recent report from iSeeCars, certain vehicle colors can help a vehicle hold its value over a three-year period. In the study, iSeeCars looked at more than 650,000 used 2019 model-year vehicles sold between August of 2021 and May of 2022. The MSRP of each car was adjusted for inflation to the current 2022 U.S. dollar value, then compared to the average list prices for the used cars. The data was then aggregated by car color and body style.
According to the study, yellow was the best car color among all segments studied with 4.5 percent depreciation over three years, or $3,155. The figure is 0.3 times the overall average rate of depreciation. Orange, purple, red, and green are all below the average rate as well, measured at 0.7 times, 0.9 times, 0.9 times, and 0.9 times, respectively.
“Yellow is among the least popular car colors with the lowest vehicle share and is commonly a color for sports cars and other low-volume vehicles that hold their value relatively well,” said iSeeCars Executive Analyst Karl Brauer. “Because yellow vehicles are so novel in the secondhand marketplace, people are willing to pay a premium for them.”
Meanwhile, more mainstream car colors, such as gray, silver, and white, tend to depreciate at an average rate, with iSeeCars stating that many customers elect for these hues, and as a result, they aren’t in low supply, and thus neither help nor hurt resale.
Meanwhile, the car colors with the worst depreciation are gold and brown, showing that rarity does not necessarily equate to lower depreciation.
“If a color doesn’t resonate with enough used car shoppers it will hurt resale value, even if it’s uncommon,” Brauer said.
Notably, vehicle depreciation as it relates to car color differs among segments. For example, although Brown did not appreciate well on average for all segments considered, it faired considerably better for the pickup truck segment, depreciating at an average of 11.7 percent, as opposed to 17.8 percent for all segments.