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Rare Car Colors Effect The Resale Value

Color matters. The color you choose for your new car can affect both the cost of ownership and its resale value. This is due to various reasons, including changing tastes in color, where you live, and whether manufacturers have retired your vehicle’s color.


According to a study of over 650,000 pre-owned car transactions conducted by the used-vehicle website, a buyer’s color choice can help boost or bust its return down the road. Specifically, the report determined that vehicles painted yellow are no lemons when it comes to bringing back the bucks. All else being equal, yellow cars depreciated an average of just 4.5 percent over a three-year ownership period. That’s 70 percent less than the average vehicle painted in a far more neutral tone.

Rawpixel Ltd/ Getty Image | All of those cars were once just a dream in somebody’s head


When it comes to the overall used car market, one color that fights off depreciation better than any other color is yellow. The average depreciation of the used vehicles analyzed was 15%, but that number fell to only 4.5% for yellow cars. Other less common colors joined yellow as a safe investment, with orange coming in second with a depreciation rate of 10.7% and purple in third place with 13.9%. After purple, red, green, blue, and gray all beat the average depreciation rate and fell within a tenth of each other in the 14% range.


According to the study, the average car depreciated by about 30 percent during the first three years of ownership. In the same period, orange and yellow cars lost only about 22 percent of their value. Indeed, in an analysis of 1.6 million vehicles, orange and yellow cars depreciated less than those painted any other color. Green was the next best at about 25 percent depreciation.

Best and worst colors 

DARREN MCGEE/THE GLOBE AND MAIL | Brown vehicles are considered the “saddest, most unattractive” car color


Yellow is generally the vehicle color that retains its value best. It depreciates 70% less than vehicles of other colors. Orange comes second. It’s also good to know that the colors with the highest depreciation are gold and brown. Of all the colors in the study, gold fared worst. Gold vehicles depreciated by about 34 percent.


White, black, gray, and silver are the most popular car colors and depreciate at a rate close to average. Beige, a relatively uncommon car color, also depreciates at a rate close to average, while four jewel tones, purple, red, green, and blue, hold their value better than average. Although the term ‘beige’ has become synonymous with boring, it encompasses a spectrum of hues from off-white to a light brown and stands out in a parking lot while still being a neutral color. 

CARS24/ iStock | Some rare antique cars sport rare shades of “razor” or “electric” blue and turquoise


Red, green, and blue fare slightly better than average because they are slightly more novel than grayscale colors and allow drivers to stand out without choosing a flashy, obscure color.”

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