If you’re buying a new car with depreciation in mind, its color can have a big impact on how well you do years later. And, as it turns out, you should be buying something yellow.
Obviously, there are other factors at play, but in a survey of more than six million new and used cars sold between 2017 and 2020, iSeeCars determined that yellow cars depreciate just 20.4% over three years.
For people who wish the road was a little less monochromatic, that’s good news. While a dull color like silver is exactly average in terms of depreciation, there are quite a few ‘colorful colors’ high on the list.
“There’s a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy going on here, with many consumers picking these mainstream colors not because they like them, but because they assume everyone else does,” said Karl Brauer, iSeeCars’ executive analyst. “This makes white, black, and silver appear to be in high demand, yet our analysis confirms that more obscure colors tend to hold their value better than common and popular colors.”
That obscurity may help them. It may also be that people pick exciting colors for exciting cars. The third best-performing color on the list, for instance, is orange.
“Like yellow, orange is most often found on low-volume sports and muscle cars,” said Brauer. “Orange is such a novel color that it is often the choice for popular special edition vehicles, like the 30th [anniversary] edition Mazda MX-5 Miata, which are typically limited production vehicles.”
Not all unusual colors are popular, though. Purple cars depreciate by an average of 41.2% over three years, 1.1x more than the industry average.
The worst-performing color was gold, which didn’t have golden returns as the hue performed 1.2x worse than average. Other underperforming colors were white, black and brown.