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Buying a New Car: Car Color Matters

Turns out, car color matters. A lot.

That’s probably not the first thing popping into your mind when shopping for a new car, but maybe it should be.

Before you balk at laying down several thousand bucks on a bold -orange or canary -yellow vehicle, just understand that bright cars have a better resale value. According to the latest analysis of 1.6 million 3-year-old vehicles by iSeeCars, vibrant, rainbow-hued cars sell a lot better than the chic grays and snowy whites.

Bold, Not Gold

While the average car depreciated 29.8 percent over the first 3 years of ownership, iSeeCars found that orange and yellow cars depreciate the least of any color — at 27.4 percent and 26.2 percent less than the average car, respectively. Both orange and yellow topped the list for the least depreciation across nearly all body styles and market segments.

In addition to scarcity, lower mileage on average is another factor in higher retained value for vehicles in these rarer colors. “Cars in orange, yellow and, to a lesser extent, green are primarily sports cars and muscle cars,” said Phong Ly, CEO of iSeeCars. “Not only do these colors appeal to many of the buyers in these segments, but these cars are driven less, most likely because they’re not used as daily drivers,” he explained.

Not Just Black and White

What about the oh-so-popular grays, silvers, blacks and whites? These cars show depreciation similar to the average ride. Those in love with shimmering gold cars should be extra cautious. Shimmering rides take the longest to move: Gold cars show the greatest amount of depreciation, so it seems that car color matters, even when it comes to jewel-toned rides.

Surprisingly, cars in rare colors don’t take much longer than the average vehicle to sell. “The average 3-year-old car takes 43.9 days to sell, while the average for orange cars is 44.1 days and 44.9 for green cars,” said Ly. “Yellow cars take a bit longer to move at 49.5 days, but they’re not languishing on dealer lots.”

The lesson? It’s always good to be bold.

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  1. It stinks all of my current cars are on the gray scale… mostly because no one offers manual transmission pinnacle sports cars in British racing green. To me its the perfect color… bold but understated. 

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