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Does Color Affect Resale Value?

If you’re shopping for a new car, you might be tempted by all the bright colors offered by automakers. You may also be eager to get away from colors such as silver, white and black that are so common on today’s cars. But before you order your next car in purple, we have a few words on how your car’s color can affect its resale value.

Popularity Matters

Are standout colors a bad buy? That’s definitely possible. Kelley Blue Book (KBB) says a whopping 50 percent of all new cars are silver, white or black. That’s a big figure, and it proves most drivers would rather choose a traditional color than experiment with a new one.

In other words, when you go to sell your bright yellow car, you might find a much smaller pool of shoppers than you would if your car was a more common color. Thus, it could take longer to sell your car — and could easily lower the selling price.

Not Always Silver, Black or White

You don’t necessarily have to get silver, black or white to preserve your resale value. While KBB says half of today’s cars are those colors, some market segments are open to other options.

For instance, dark red and dark green combine for around 15 percent of SUV, minivan and light truck sales. Roughly 15 percent of luxury cars are either dark blue or dark red. And nearly 20 percent of sports cars are either medium blue or bright red. That means car colors offer a little variation beyond the standard choices, if you pick the right color and the right model.

When Is Wild OK?

In some cases, it’s totally acceptable to choose a wild color such as bright green, orange or yellow. One example is if you decide to lease your car instead of buy it. While some dealers will groan at taking back an unusual color when the lease ends, leasing is one worry-free way to have a bright car.

You’re also in the clear if you own your cars a long time. While unusual colors may see a resale value penalty after the first few years, drivers who keep cars for 10 year or more likely won’t be affected when it comes time for a new car.

Of course, shoppers who simply don’t mind the resale value drop can also choose a wild color. If you know you might lose some money — and you’re okay with it — you can pick just about any color you want. Just be sure it’s one you won’t get tired of in a few months.

Doug Demuro
Doug Demuro
Doug DeMuro writes articles and makes videos, mainly about cars. Doug was born in Denver, Colorado, and received an economics degree from Emory University in Atlanta. After graduation, Doug spent three years working for Porsche Cars North America. Eventually, he quit his job to become a writer, largely because it meant that he no longer had to wear pants. Doug’s work has been featured in a... Read More about Doug Demuro

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