November 28, 2023

When it comes to the most popular vehicle colors in the United States, it seems the more things change the more they stay the same. Hues of white, gray, silver and black continue to dominate as the nation’s most popular new-car colors. Even convertibles and sports cars, which one may expect to be most often slathered in expressive tones, are most frequently found painted black or grey, according to automotive supplier PPG.

And before anyone asks, no, it’s a myth that cars painted red or in any other flashy shade are more likely to be ticketed than those that come in more conservative colors.

With so many new-vehicle buyers choosing monochromatic models that tend to to blend into a crowd, used-car lots tend to be filled with incognito-painted rides. Those wrapped in the brightest colors in an automaker’s exterior palette, though far smaller in numbers, tend to stand out like an inflatable gorilla on a dealer’s tarmac.

That could well be one reason that vehicles painted in the flashiest shades often tend to bring an owner more money at resale time than those wrapped in the aforementioned non-colors. That’s according to the annual study of how paint treatments affect a vehicle’s value after three years on the road, based on an analysis of more than 1.6 million transactions conducted by the online marketplace

The study found that owners of three-year-old vehicles painted in a bright yellow will, on average, wind up pocketing as much as an added $3,000 in resale value compared to comparable rides coming in what are actually more popular, though far less eye-catching, shades.

“Yellow cars continue to represent the greatest disparity between how many are produced and how many people want one,” explains iSeeCars Executive Analyst Karl Brauer. “While not many people want a yellow car, there are clearly more people who want one than exist, which is why yellow performs so well on the secondary market. The same can be said of orange and green, colors you don’t see often but are obviously in higher demand than supply.”

Though yellow takes the prize in general, the most valuable paint treatments do tend to vary somewhat by market segment. For example, the website found that while yellow is the top color for resale value among SUVs, convertibles, and coupes, beige scores highest among pickup trucks. Some segments seem to be outliers in this regard, however, with brown (yes, brown), taking the prize among sedans, and green bringing the most bucks back at resale time among minivans.

Of course, times and trends change over the years, and as they say in the financial service business, past performance is not necessarily a prediction of future value, but yellow has been the color that holds onto a vehicle’s value the most tenaciously for several years now. Two-tone vehicles are becoming more prevalent these days, especially among SUVs, so three years from now we might see, for example, an orange-and-white Creamsicle-like color combination climbing the resale value chart.

In the meantime, here are the hues says will retain their respective vehicles’ values after three years, with the average percentage of depreciation noted:

  1. Yellow (-13.5%)
  2. Beige (-17.8%)
  3. Orange (-18.4%)
  4. Green (-19.2%)
  5. Red (-20.6%)
  6. White (-21.9%)
  7. Blue (-22.0%)
  8. Gray (-22.5%)
  9. Purple (-22.7%)
  10. Silver (-23.2%)
  11. Black (-23.9%)
  12. Brown (-24.0%)
  13. Gold (-25.9%)

Overall average three-year depreciation: -22.5%

You can read the report, including full lists of most-valuable colors by vehicle type here.

The above content was 100% generated by a human contributor.


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