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Surprisingly, Yellow and Orange Cars Retain Value

A car’s color can help or hurt its resale value, according to a new analysis by iSeeCars.com.  After comparing prices of more than 650,000 recently sold three-year-old used cars, iSeeCars determined the average three-year vehicle depreciation rate by car color. Surprisingly, the study found bold colors like yellow and orange tend to hold their color best, while common colors like black and white depreciate at a rate close to average, which is 15%, or about a $6,096 difference from their manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP).

Overall, yellow, with a 3-year 4.5% depreciating value, is the vehicle color that holds the best value, as it depreciates 70 percent less than the average vehicle.  Yellow is a common color for sports cars and has the lowest vehicle share. iSeeCars Executive Analyst Karl Brauer says it is because “yellow vehicles are so novel in the secondhand marketplace, people are willing to pay a premium for them.”

Orange, a vehicle color has a 10.7% 3-year depreciation, ranks second as the color that holds its value best for similar reasons. The color is also popular on low-volume sports and muscle cars, particularly among special edition vehicles, like the 30th edition Mazda MX-5 Miata and the 2023 Toyota GR86 Special Edition.

Gray, silver, white, and black, the most popular car colors, depreciate at a rate close to average, at 14.3%, 14.8%, 15.5%, 16.1%, respectively. Bauer says choosing these common car colors “won’t help or hurt resale value much.” 

Beige also depreciates at a rate close to average, at 14.4%, while purple (13.9%), red (14%), green (14%), and blue (14.3%) hold their value better than average. Colors with the highest depreciation are gold (16.7%) and brown (17.8%). The car colors have low market share, and depreciate worse than average.

Examining car color depreciation by vehicle type, iSeeCars found in the SUV segment, the color that holds its value best is yellow, while brown depreciates the most. For pickup trucks, beige retains value the best while green depreciates the most. Purple holds its value the best in sedans, while black is the highest-depreciating color in this type of car. For minivans, green is the lowest depreciating color, while red depreciates the most. For convertibles, bright colors retain the most value while neutral colors depreciate the most.

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

See the iSeeCars study for more details at https://www.iseecars.com/car-color-study.

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