ACV facts & figures
Most people know that a vehicle’s make, model, and mileage impact resale value, but it’s easy to overlook the importance of color as part of that equation. As a dealer, you want to be sure to stock the cars your customers want and that is pretty consistent each year: white, black, gray, and silver continue to top the list of most popular colors1. While safety and reliability are critical factors, the color will play a significant role in your inventory’s desirability.
Does Car Color Affect Price?
In general, color won’t affect the price a buyer pays for a new vehicle. It can, however, affect the resale value—but not for the reasons you might expect. Supply and demand and the combination of vehicle color and type (i.e. sports cars) also play a role. Color trends are an additional factor to consider; a new color may be popular today and not so popular five years from now.1
A 2022 study from used vehicle website iSeeCars.com analyzed over 650,000 used model year 2019 cars sold between August 2021 and May 2022 and found that yellow vehicles have the smallest three-year depreciation rate2. Other bold colors, like orange, purple, and red, also had slower depreciation rates than common colors.
The simplest explanation is that there’s a smaller supply of vehicles with these colors compared to the demand for them in the used car market. Additionally, these bold colors are often included on low-volume vehicles that hold their value well, like sports cars, according to iSeeCars Executive Analyst Karl Brauer. This often means that buyers looking for used yellow cars are willing to pay a premium for something unique.
Though popular vehicle colors—like gray, silver, beige, and white—are perceived as highly desirable, cars in these colors actually experienced average depreciation levels of 15% over three years2. The reason here is simple. Around 25% of all cars, trucks, and SUVs are white, followed closely by black, gray, and silver3 meaning there is more inventory to find.
As you can see, color can influence a car’s resale value based on rarity, but availability and customer perception are bigger indicators of what is more likely to actually sell.
Best Car Color for Resale to Buy According to Car Type
It’s important to note that the type of car plays a key role in determining the best car color for long-term value. The combination of body type and color often points to the driver’s lifestyle and priorities. Here are the findings from the 2022 iSeeCars analysis.
For sedans, purple and red were the lowest-depreciating colors. Even in this more understated vehicle segment, flashier colors still offer a resale value advantage. Bright reds inject some fun personality, while deeper metallic reds and purples exude luxury.
Yellow and orange were still the best colors for resale value in SUVs. In addition to being sporty, exciting colors, these shades can be practical for safety and visibility when drivers go off-roading.
For pickup trucks, beige was the best color for resale value thanks in large part to Toyota’s popular quicksand beige pickup color and strong reputation. These workhorse vehicles are prized for their performance more than their color, so owners often prefer to keep it simple.
Just like the overall result, the best car color for resale convertibles is yellow. This combination is the ultimate eye-catching car, which can reflect the driver’s energetic personality and make them more visible to others on the highway. Yellow offers style and safety all in one.
What Color Cars Should You Buy for Your Dealership?
The finding that yellow cars experience the lowest depreciation over three years doesn’t necessarily mean that yellow is the best car color to buy for your dealership or what actually sells.
Overall, neutral colors are still safe bets simply because of the high demand for vehicles in these colors4. These colors are average in terms of value retention, meaning they neither help nor hurt resale value.
In 2021, global paint supplier PPG identified the top car paint colors in North America as follows⁵:
Find Great Deals on Cars of All Colors
Whatever color vehicles you need for your dealership, find great deals at ACV auctions. Join today and enjoy access to a nationwide network of quality vehicles, detailed condition reports, and several flooring options including ACV Capital.
- Valdes, R. (16 Feb, 2022) What are the Best Car Colors to Buy? Kbb.com. Retrieved October 3,2022 https://www.kbb.com/car-advice/what-are-the-best-car-colors-to-buy/.
- Blackley, J. (6 June, 2022) Car Color and Its Effect on Value. iSeeCars.com. Retrieved October 3, 2022, from https://www.iseecars.com/car-color-study - v=2022
- Gorzelany, J. (16 June, 2022) Here’s How The Color Of Your Car Will Affect Its Resale Value. Forbes.com. Retrieved October 4, 2022, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/jimgorzelany/2022/06/16/heres-how-the-color-of-your-car-will-affect-its-resale-value/?sh=569bc3554415
- Most popular car colors in America. Germain Cars. Retrieved October 3, 2022, from https://www.germaincars.com/most-popular-car-colors/
- Rigby, K. Global Automotive Color Popularity 2021. News.ppg.com Retrieved October 4, 2022 from https://news.ppg.com/2021automotivecolor/
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