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The 3 best (and 3 worst) car colors for trade-in value

The 3 best (and 3 worst) car colors for trade-in value

Optimizing the car buying experience requires quite a bit of forethought. You may be reading about the best time of year for deals and the states with the cheapest prices. If you’re planning to buy online, you may want to study helpful tips before starting your search. If you’re buying in person, it may be worth learning how to negotiate before going to the dealer.

And then of course you have to decide what kind of car you want – and what color to get. Aside from personal preference, another important factor to consider is how color can affect a car’s resale value. So which shades should you look for and which should you avoid?

To answer that question, analysts at iSeeCars first compiled a list of 650,000 vehicles that came out in 2019 and were resold between August 2021 and May 2022. They then compared the original manufacturer’s suggested retail prices (MSRPs) – adjusted for inflation – with the average price tags on the used vehicles. According to their results, reselling a yellow car will make you the most money for your stunner.

Over three years, the value of the yellow vehicles has only depreciated by an average of 4.5 percent, meaning they went for about $3155 less than their MSRP. For reference, the average depreciation for all vehicles included in the study was 15 percent, or about $6,096 below the average MSRP.

“Yellow is one of the least popular car colors with the lowest vehicle share and is often a color for sports cars and other small volume vehicles that retain their value relatively well,” explains iSeeCars CEO Karl Brauer. “Because yellow vehicles are so new to the used market, people are willing to pay a premium for them.”

Similar conclusions can be drawn about the two colors with the best resale value after yellow: orange with an average depreciation of 10.7 percent and purple with 13.9 percent. On the other hand, a brown vehicle is about as hard to resell as you might expect. Its three-year depreciation value was nearly 18 percent — the highest of any of the colors on the list. “Rarity alone does not equal value,” Brauer said. “If a color doesn’t resonate with enough used car buyers, it will hurt the resale value, even if it’s unusual.”

Check out the top three and three worst trade-in value stats below and see the full list here

  1. Yellow // 4.5 percent (-$3155)
  2. Orange // 10.7 percent (-$3825)
  3. Purple // 13.9 percent (-$5461)
  1. Brown // 17.8 percent (-$7642)
  2. Gold // 16.7 percent (-$6719)
  3. Black // 16.1 percent (- $6993)