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Brightly-colored vehicles lose the least amount of their value

An analysis found yellow vehicles have the smallest depreciation after three years

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(c) Hedgehog94 - Getty Images
When choosing a car or truck, the buyer often considers the vehicle’s color. It’s only natural. But the color a consumer chooses will affect its resale value, according to an extensive analysis by iSeeCars.com.

Company analysts compared prices of more than 650,000 recently sold three-year-old used cars. The analysis determined the average three-year vehicle depreciation rate by car color. 

The results were surprising. White, black, and silver may be the most common colors on the lot but they may not be the most desirable.

“I think there’s an element of people who like those colors but I also think there are a lot of people who assume that everyone likes those colors so they choose those colors thinking it will be easier to sell the car later,” Karl Brauer, executive analyst at iSeeCars.com told ConsumerAffairs. “You see a bright color on a car, like yellow or orange, and you think you’ll never be able to sell it.”

It’s not a popularity contest

But Brauer says you would be wrong. He says colors like yellow and orange actually hold their value better. And there’s a very good reason for that.

“They held their value better because, as few people who like those vehicle colors, there are even fewer cars made in those colors,” he said.

In the depreciation analysis, vehicles painted black lost 16.1% of their value. White cars depreciated by 15.5%. Silver wasn’t much better, shedding 14.8% of its value. On the other hand, a yellow car lost only 4.5% of its value.

‘A primary consideration’

 “A vehicle’s color is among the primary considerations after shoppers have decided on a make and model,” Brauer said. “With depreciation being the largest cost of vehicle ownership, consumers should carefully consider their color choice–especially if they plan on selling their vehicle.”

It turns out popularity has little to do with it. Brauer says yellow is among the least popular car colors with the lowest vehicle share. But because yellow cars are so rare, some people are willing to pay a premium when they find one.

After yellow, orange ranks second as the color that holds its value best, for much the same reason – there aren’t that many of them. Often common on highway department trucks, orange is also associated with low-volume sports and muscle cars.” 

Brauer says consumers should choose a color they like, but if they prefer a bold vehicle color that makes a statement, they shouldn’t shy away from it for fear they won’t be able to sell it.

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