Buying A Boring Color Isn't Saving Your Resale Value You Coward

Photo: Lexus
Photo: Lexus

Conventional wisdom holds that if you get a flashy color for your new car, expect it to depreciate faster than a car in a “safer” tone. Well, wisdom be damned, because—according to a new study—the color that’s most likely to be discounted in used car transactions is beige.


This knowledge comes to us from a study by data analytics firm iSeeCars, which looked at 4.1 million used car transactions to find out what colored cars were most likely to be discounted 10 percent or more off the vehicle’s standard market value. Based on this study, you’re 24.3 percent more likely to find a deal on a beige car than an average used car.

This is great news for early Lexus enthusiasts, the elderly and of course people in Florida. But I’m being redundant.

The study also notes that beige cars have the highest average mileage of any color, suggesting that beige cars are every day drivers or, possibly, fleet cars. They say frequently discounted beige cars include the Volkswagen Passat, Chevy Malibu, Chevy Equinox and Toyota Sienna. That list is so boring that I’ve already forgotten what I just wrote.

Surprisingly, you’re less likely to find a deal on a car in a more exuberant color. Teal, red, purple and orange are the four colors that you’re least likely to find deals on, with orange cars being 20.4 percent less likely than average to be discounted.

Brown, Black, Silver and Gold round out the top five most discounted colors, suggesting that boring colors aren’t the best-bet resale value plays you might have assumed they would be. This is partly explained by the fact that sports cars and other exciting cars tend to be purchased in brighter colors, as iSeeCars notes:

“Yellow is a common color for sports cars like the Chevrolet Camaro and Ford Mustang, which are popular sports cars that aren’t often deeply discounted,” said Ly, further explaining, “but surprisingly, within the passenger car segment yellow is the color that provides the greatest chance of finding a deal, perhaps because the color is not as valued on daily drivers.” As for the other less popular colors, [iSeeCars CEO Phong] Ly said, “There aren’t many used vehicles in these colors in the used car marketplace, which could drive up demand and keep their prices high.”


Deals on yellow cars are good, because, as this site has long maintained, yellow cars are good. But besides that point on used cars, this study gives us an important lesson. Your financial excuse is weak, your life is short, buy a car in color.

Mack Hogan is Jalopnik's Weekend Editor, but you may know him from his role as CNBC's car critic or his brave (and maligned) takes on Twitter. Most people agree that you shouldn't listen to him.


Bring back color interiors!