Your Car Could Be Worth More Over Time, Provided It’s Painted Yellow

Source: Corvette

A new study put forth by the auto comparison and shopping engine iSeeCars.com indicates that if you’re really concerned about resale value and avoiding depreciation, a yellow car might be the way to go. Less popular car colors — yellow, orange, green — fared better in a depreciation study than popular stalwarts like black and silver, the study found.

Using its data pool of more than 20 million used cars of all different colors from the model years 1981 to 2010, iSeeCars.com was able to determine — using the vehicles’ original MSRPs (accounting for inflation) — that yellow cars depreciated an average of 26.2 percent over the course of five years. Orange and green cars followed suit at 27.6 and 31.3 percent, respectively.

“While a popular car color like black or silver may get more interest and sell faster, our analysis indicates it may not get as high a value as a car, say, in yellow,” Phong Ly, CEO and co-founder of iSeeCars.com said in the site’s statement. “Scarcity may account for the difference — only 1.1 percent of all cars are yellow and orange; if teal and green are included, the percentage still goes up to just 5 percent. The dearth of supply of such colors may drive prices up.”

Further, the site noted that the lower trends of depreciation of less common colors was illustrated across all car types, including convertibles, coupes, sedans, SUVs, pickup trucks, and wagons. Among SUVs, the ones painted yellow on average showed the lowest depreciation, and in convertibles, it was the teal vehicles that depreciated the least.

Source: London Flash Cars / Flickr Creative Commons

Black cars, meanwhile, didn’t fare as well given that — though perhaps counter-intuitively — they are so much more popular than yellow cars. Over five years, iSeeCars’ data showed that black vehicles depreciated at an average rate of 34.4 percent off their original MSRPs, followed by grey at 34.2 percent, silver at 34 percent, and white at 33.7 percent.

Overall, the cars included in the study depreciated by an average of 33.6 percent. Red, beige/brown/gold, blue, and teal filled in the center, ranging from 31.4 percent (teal) to 33.6 percent (blue). For a vehicle with an MSRP of $20,000, that means that on average, a yellow vehicle could be worth $1,500 more at year five than the average car with average depreciation, the site says.

Economically speaking, less common colors are made in fewer numbers — obviously — and on a macro scale, hold their worth longer than colors that enjoy greater market saturation. Often, colors like yellow or orange are sought out by buyers looking for something more unique, and they might even be willing to pay a little extra to enjoy that particular shade, more so than black or grey.

An iSeeCars study from late last year indicated that men lean toward black and white cars, while women will gravitate toward silver. The study also indicated that used black cars commanded an average price of $21,700, but beige, for example, generated an average resale price of just $14,500.

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