Conventional Wisdom Proven 100 Percent Wrong: Yellow Cars Depreciate the Least

Go buy your next car in a bright color, you coward!

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Photo: Toyota

Look, I get it. You bought your black, gray, white, or silver car because you thought it would rake in more cash than a yellow or purple one when it came time to sell. After all, that’s just common knowledge, right? Buy the most banal, inoffensive car color you can imagine in the hopes that it’ll net you an extra twenty bucks in eight years?

As it turns out, that common knowledge may be a common misconception. A new study from iSeeCars ranked the average three-year depreciation on cars by color, and the insights are certainly interesting: Black, gray, white, and silver were all in the bottom half, with some of the most depreciation of the bunch.

Image for article titled Conventional Wisdom Proven 100 Percent Wrong: Yellow Cars Depreciate the Least
Screenshot: iSeeCars
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Brown and gold were the worst offenders, depreciating by 17.8 percent and 16.7 percent over three years, respectively. Yellow, orange, and purple had the best resale — losing only 4.5 percent, 10.7 percent, and 13.9 percent of their MSRP over the same period. The data is clear: Buy your car in a good color if you want to get the best return down the line.

Well, it’s sort of clear. Once you start breaking down the data into different market segments — sedans, coupes, pickups, etc. — things start shifting around wildly. There’s little consistency between groups, other than interesting colors generally performing considerably better than their grayscale counterparts.

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What’s missing from the data, however, is context. Fun colors are overwhelmingly found on the least and most expensive of cars, with a dearth of hues in mid-priced vehicles and downright monotone offerings for most luxury cars. Those luxury cars also often depreciate fastest, while budget-friendly cars like the Mirage or Spark hold their value better.

While colors may factor into resale, the choice between yellow and white won’t make all the difference in the world. Instead, the actual kind of car you’re buying matters far more. This cuts both ways — getting your next car in bright yellow may not help your resale value too much, but it likely won’t hurt it either. In other words, get the fun color. Enjoy yourself.