Pick the right car color to get the best resale value



Myles Ma

Myles Ma

Senior Managing Editor

Myles Ma is a health care expert & personal finance writer for Policygenius. He edits the Easy Money newsletter.

Published November 3, 2017|2 min read

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Yellow cars hold their value better than any other color. The average car depreciates 33.1% in the first three years of ownership. Yellow cars lose only 27% of their value over the same period, according to an analysis by iSeeCars.com.

The car search website analyzed more than 2.1 million used car sales as part of the study. Yellow cars depreciated the least, while gold cars lost the most value. They depreciated by 37.1%.

“Yellow cars are relatively less common, which could drive up demand and help maintain their value,” said Phong Ly, CEO of iSeeCars.com.

Yellow vehicles had the lowest depreciation of any color in a number of vehicle styles, including convertibles, SUVs and pickup trucks. Yellow SUVs and pickup trucks depreciate 25.8% and 10.8% respectively, compared to 30.9% and 20.9% for SUVs and pickup trucks overall.

Aside from yellow cars, orange and green cars also hold their value well. Like yellow cars, they are rare. Yellow, green and orange cars make up only 1.2% of all 3-year-old cars.

All that glitters is not gold

Rarity isn't necessarily the key, though. Beige, purple and gold cars are also rare, but depreciate 10% more than average. Gold cars are like the opposite of yellow cars. Whereas yellow cars hold value across vehicle styles, gold vehicles have some of the worst depreciation rates across almost all styles.

"Given the choice, consumers may just prefer the more common colors or flashier colors," Ly said.

Someone better tell this guy:

White, black and gray are the most common car colors. They depreciated at close to an average rate. If buyers want these colors, they can easily shop around, so sellers don't have as much pricing power, Ly said.

We're not saying that you should go out and buy a new yellow, orange or green car, but if you do, you may get less value if you sell the car after a few years. If those are your favorite colors, congratulations. On the other hand, if you like, gold, purple or beige, consider buying used, since those colors lose value the quickest. (And if you're wondering, car color has no impact on your insurance rates. That's a myth.)

iSeeCars.com conducted its study by looking at 2.1 million used 3-year-old cars (model year 2014) sold between September 2016 and August 2017. They calculated depreciation by comparing the average list price to the average manufacturer's suggested retail price, adjusted for inflation.

Image: SylvanMagnus