Color Does Matter in Car Resale Value

By Thomas Lee

Orange and Yellow Cars Depreciate the Least Based on Study

Color does matter when it comes to a car’s retained value. While the average car depreciated 29.8 percent over the first three years of ownership, orange and yellow color cars depreciated the least of any color – 27.4 percent and 26.2 percent less than the average car respectively, according to’s analysis of 1.6 million vehicles. These colors topped the list for the least depreciation across virtually all body styles and market segments.

“One of the main contributing factors is supply and demand,” explained Phong Ly, CEO of “The more unusual colors, such as orange, yellow, and green, are not as readily available (making up only 1.5 percent of all vehicles), yet they are popular with enough car buyers to create a demand that directly affects their resale value.”

Average Three Year Depreciation by Color

Car Color Average Depreciation Over 3 Years % Difference Compared to the Average Car
Orange 21.6% -27.4%
Yellow 22.0% -26.2%
Green 24.5% -17.6%
Brown 28.5% -4.2%
Red 29.1% -2.4%
Gray 29.5% -1.1%
White 29.5% -1.0%
Blue 29.9% 0.3%
Black 30.2% 1.4%
Silver 30.6% 2.6%
Beige 31.2% 4.8%
Gold 33.5% 12.5%
Average Car 29.8% --

In addition to scarcity, lower mileage on average is another factor in higher retained value for vehicles in these rarer colors.  “Cars in orange, yellow, and to a lesser extent, green, are primarily sports cars and muscle cars,” said Ly. “Not only do these colors appeal to many of the buyers in these segments, but these cars are driven less, most likely because they are not used as daily drivers. For example, the average mileage of three-year-old orange sports cars is just 27,210 miles, and 26,822 miles for muscle cars, compared to 36,324 miles on average for all cars,” he explained.

Surprisingly, cars in rare colors don't take much longer than the average vehicle to sell. Ly said, “The average three-year-old car takes 43.9 days to sell, while the average for orange cars is 44.1 days and 44.9 for green cars. Yellow cars take a bit longer to move, at 49.5 days, but they are not languishing on dealer’s lots.” In fact, cars of almost all colors except beige sell within 6 days of the average car.

Average Days on Market for Three Year Old Vehicles by Color

Color Average Days on Market
Orange 44.1
Yellow 49.5
Green 45.0
Brown 46.2
Red 49.0
Gray 41.4
White 42.8
Blue 43.6
Black 42.1
Silver 46.6
Beige 55.8
Gold 42.6
Average 43.9

Unexpectedly, popular car colors like black, white and gray showed depreciation that was closer to the average car. “Because buyers shopping for such colors have a lot more choices, sellers may not have as much pricing power,” Ly commented.

Gold vehicles showed the worst depreciation of any color, at 33.5 percent over the first three years. The majority of gold cars are sedans, which have seen less demand in recent years. "We suspect that the lower popularity of sedans may be what's driving the depreciation of gold vehicles overall," mentioned Ly.

Consumers who will be turning in their leased cars or trading them in soon shouldn’t expect more than the average retained value. “But,” Ly said, “Consumers who have a car in orange, yellow or green may be able to get more money for their cars, potentially adding to the down payment on their next car.”

Methodology analyzed over 1.6 million used three-year-old cars (model year 2013) of all colors sold between July 1, 2015 and June 30, 2016. Depreciation over three years was calculated by comparing the average listing price to the average MSRP (inflation adjusted) for each car color, as well as for each color and body style/market segment. Colors with fewer than 1000 cars, and colors and body styles/market segments with fewer than 30 cars were excluded from the analysis.

About is an automotive data and research company that helps consumers find the best car deals by providing key insights and guidance. It turns used and new car shopping on its head by applying Big Data analytics powered by over 25 billion (and growing) data points and using proprietary algorithms to objectively analyze, score, and rank millions of cars and tens of thousands of dealers. Based in the Boston area, was founded by former TripAdvisor and SAP developers and executives determined to improve the car shopping experience for consumers.

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