This Color Can Ruin Your Car’s Resale Value

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Upset car owner
DimaBerlin /

Even if you just can’t get enough of the color brown, think twice about choosing it for your next car.

Over a three-year period, brown cars depreciate by an average of 17.8%, making brown the worst-performing color when it comes to helping a vehicle hold its value, according to a new survey that zeroes in on how colors affect resale value.

In fact, brown cars depreciate about four times faster than cars of the color that best holds its value, yellow, with those vehicles only depreciating at 4.5% over three years, on average.

In compiling its rankings, iSeeCars compared prices of more than 650,000 used cars that were 3 years old and recently sold. It found that bold colors are most likely to hold their value, while common colors tend to depreciate at an average rate.

Overall, cars depreciate by an average of 15% over three years. However, cars of nine different colors depreciate more slowly than that. They are:

  • Yellow: depreciate 4.5% over three years, on average
  • Orange: 10.7%
  • Purple: 13.9%
  • Red: 14%
  • Green: 14%
  • Blue: 14.3%
  • Gray: 14.3%
  • Beige: 14.4%
  • Silver: 14.8%

On the other hand, four colors performed worse than average. They are:

  • White: 15.5%
  • Black: 16.1%
  • Gold: 16.7%
  • Brown: 17.8%

When you think of popular car colors, yellow, orange and purple do not immediately jump to mind. So, it might seem strange to learn that cars of these colors depreciate less quickly than others.

However, as a general rule, more obscure colors hold their value better than other colors. Take yellow for example. Karl Brauer, iSeeCars executive analyst, says:

“Yellow is among the least popular car colors with the lowest vehicle share and is commonly a color for sports cars and other low-volume vehicles that hold their value relatively well. Because yellow vehicles are so novel in the secondhand marketplace, people are willing to pay a premium for them.”

Rarity alone does not ensure that a color will help a car hold its value, though. Gold and brown also have low market share, but they are the worst-performing colors on the list.

Brauer notes that if a color “doesn’t resonate with enough used car shoppers,” it simply will not help a car hold its value.

Here at Money Talks News, we always suggest buying a used car instead of a new one. Before you shop, check out “5 Steps You Must Take Before Buying a Used Car.”