It might be worth choosing a color other than the standard black or silver next time you're car shopping. A new study conducted by the used car search engine iSeeCars.com of over 20 million previously owned vehicles last year finds that less popular shades lead to lower price depreciation than the usually more favored hues. Yellow and orange show the lowest price drop in the analysis versus black, gray and silver with the biggest dives.

The difference isn't just a few dollars, either. Yellow cars depreciate 26.2 percent on average from their original MSRP over 5 years (adjusted for inflation), compared to 34.4 percent for a black vehicle. For example, for a typical $40,000 model, with all else being equal except for color, the yellow one loses $10,480 of its value over the half decade, and the black one drops $13,760 from its initial purchase price.

iSeeCars.com CEO Phong Ly speculates that the difference may be down to simple supply and demand. With new vehicles, the price of different colors is all about the same (unless you opt for a special paint), but the used market can more freely adjust price depending on the variables. Ly claims that only 1.1 percent of the cars on the road are yellow or orange. Therefore, it makes some sense that there's a premium for them over more common colors.

The study asserts that the results are true regardless of vehicle type. So if you're really trying to maximize your purchase and don't mind being a little bit different on the road, it might be worth considering a rarer color for your next purchase. Scroll down to read more about the study and see a full table of the shades by depreciation.
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Yellow Color Cars Depreciate Less Than Black Color Ones According to iSeeCars Study
June 16, 2014

Woburn, Mass. (June 16, 2014) – Contrary to conventional wisdom, iSeeCars.com's study shows less popular car colors such as yellow and orange have lower depreciation than the most popular colors like silver and black. Yellow color cars show the least depreciation at an average of about 26. For a vehicle with an MSRP of $20,000, that means on average, a yellow color one could be worth $1500 more at year 5 than the average car with average depreciation.

Car Color

Average Depreciation

Over 5 Years

Yellow

26.2%

Orange

27.6%

Green

31.3%

Teal

31.4%

Red

31.7%

Beige, Brown, Gold

33.3%

Blue

33.6%

White

33.7%

Silver

34.0%

Gray

34.2%

Black

34.4%

Average

33.6%


"While a popular car color like black or silver may get more interest and sell faster, our analysis indicates it may not get as high a value as a car, say, in yellow," Phong Ly, CEO and co-founder of iSeeCars.com said. "Scarcity may account for the difference - only 1.1. The dearth of supply of such colors may drive prices up."

iSeeCars.com analyzed over 20 million used cars of all different colors from model year 1981 to 2010. The depreciation was calculated for each car and color based on its original MSRP (adjusted for inflation), its used car listing price, and the age of the vehicle.

The lower depreciation of less common colors is seen across all car types including convertibles, coupes, sedans, SUVs, pickup trucks and wagons. For example, amongst SUVs, yellow color ones on average show the lowest depreciation. Amongst convertibles, teal adorned ones depreciate the least.

As for more common colors like black, silver, or gray, the depreciation is closer to the overall average depreciation for a car of about 34% over 5 years.

Methodology:
iSeeCars.com analyzed over 20 million used cars for sale last year and studied vehicles of all colors from 1981 to 2010. The depreciation for each vehicle was calculated based on the price of the used car, the original MSRP (adjusted for inflation), and age of the vehicle. Cars of the same color were then aggregated to determine the average depreciation over 5 years for each color. Inflation data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics were used in adjusting MSRP.

About iSeeCars.com:
iSeeCars is a car search engine that helps consumers find the best deal by providing key insights and analysis about each used car. The proprietary iSeeCars algorithm ranks cars by calculating an overall score based on analysis of the car's condition, history, negotiability, price and the seller. Based in the Boston area, iSeeCars was founded by former TripAdvisor and SAP developers and executives determined to improve the used car shopping experience for consumers.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 57 Comments
      GoGOGadgetZOom
      • 6 Months Ago
      This is beneficial news as ORANGE is my favorite of all hues!
        BipDBo
        • 6 Months Ago
        @GoGOGadgetZOom
        Beneficial if you're shopping for a new car and plan to sell it before it completely expires. Bad news if you're shopping for a used car.
      q3a7vodk4
      • 6 Months Ago
      2 problems. 1. If they're claiming that the average depreciation is 34% after 5 years yet all colors are of average or less depreciation, where are the colors that depreciate MORE than average? 2. They're using used car *list* prices, not purchase prices. It could just mean that yellow and orange car owners are self-inflated and list their cars for more.
      laguy19
      • 6 Months Ago
      Time for more colors on the roads. White, black and silver everywhere, so depressing.
      car-a-holic
      • 6 Months Ago
      Huh.... Wuh??? Come again??????
      RomanM
      • 6 Months Ago
      Yellow or Orange cars, to me that means a mustang, corvette or other sports car, some occasional orange BMW R/Rover, and exotic cars. Many Japanese automakers don't even offer that color, e.g. Lexus. These kind of cars are owned by car enthusiasts that take better care of the car on average, in comparison to a family sedan or a pickup.
      Tesla Fan
      • 6 Months Ago
      Orange prius... lol
      frank1946
      • 6 Months Ago
      Hot Rod Magizine knew all this in 1960. Yellow, Orange, Red..................Girls also !
      fliproll
      • 6 Months Ago
      I think the issue here is that although black is a desirable new car color, it is difficult to maintain. The explication in this depreciation research document may very well lay in the perception that finding a used black vehicle which looks as well as any other previously owned vehicle color is very difficult, if not impossible. Black simply is most unkind to poorly maintained vehicles. So consequently, people look away from used black cars, period.
        Gorgenapper
        • 6 Months Ago
        @fliproll
        My current car is the last black car that I will ever buy. From here on it'll be silver or white. I will consider blue or grey and take a hit with the effort of keeping it clean vs the previous 2 colors but it can't be as hard as washing and drying a black car.
      Storm Invictus
      • 6 Months Ago
      I bought my Inferno Orange Metallic 2013 Chevy Sonic LT because it stands out in the crowd. I get compliments on it everywhere I go, especially since I have the Camaro SS style black stripe kit, and I painted the stock rims black with VHT Wheel Paint. I admittedly got it for $2,500 under book because it was a double whammy (orange and has a manual transmission), but since it has the turbo, I'm sure that another fellow economically minded Jalop will give me a more than fair price for it when I eventually go to sell it.
        11fiveoh
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Storm Invictus
        Compliments everywhere you go in a sonic? HA, i'm sure.
          dohc73
          • 6 Months Ago
          @11fiveoh
          The general public thinks differently than the car enthusiast. http://www.autoblog.com/2014/06/16/chevy-outpacing-toyota-honda-ford-subcompact-sales/
          r_dezi
          • 6 Months Ago
          @11fiveoh
          Not everybody admires a muscle head in pick-up truck 11fiveoh.
        ravenosa
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Storm Invictus
        It's a GM vehicle. There's no saying it will still even be running in a couple of years. If a Sonic is what I think it is (Chevy's really cheap and chintsy looking compact car with the 90's brake lights), I find it surprising you get any compliments at all. You sure it's not sarcasm?
          Storm Invictus
          • 6 Months Ago
          @ravenosa
          Hey Ravenosa, there's no need to be such a snarky b**ch. And I think you're thinking of the Spark, which I admit is a goofy looking little economy car. The Sonic is a much better vehicle. I test drove vehicles in every segment, and the Sonic with the six speed manual and the 1.4 turbo was far and away the fastest and most enjoyable to drive in my budget range. (Wish I'd had the funding for a Focus ST, but if wishes were Ferrari's, the beggars would drive). I have put 18,000 miles on my Sonic since I bought it in late February. I have driven it everywhere between Grand Forks, North Dakota and Victoria, Texas (north/south) and Eagle, Colorado and Chicago, Illinois (east/west). It has some of the most comfortable seats I've ever sat in, it consistently gets 39 to 44 mpg on the highway and 32 to 36 mpg in city driving, it's shockingly roomy, and the Stabilitrak traction control is impressively effective on wet pavement and dirt roads. Sometimes too effective, I have to shut it off if I want to hoon it in the least. I have the Black Flash Package, which gave me the blacked out grille, blacked out spoiler, and blacked out mirror caps. I have further differentiated mine by adding black vinyl Camaro SS style stripes, I blacked out the taillights with a coat of VHT Nightshades, and I painted the stock wheels black with VHT Wheel Paint. If there was such a thing as a factory Sonic SS, it would probably look like mine. Stock, the Sonic is the most masculine looking offering in the segment, but with the visual modifications I have made, it's definitely a man's car. I also plan on eventually adding a Trifecta tune, which will give it an additional 30 hp and 50 lb feet of torque, which will give it 168 hp and 198 lb feet of torque, moving it into Fiesta ST territory. That is why I get compliments - because it's a unique vehicle, with a unique paint color, and unique visual modifications. Chevy has made a really high quality, comfortable, fun to drive compact car in the Sonic. It's world class, and that's something that couldn't be said of ANY of Chevy's previous compact vehicles. Take your asshattery elsewhere.
      Niels Marienlund
      • 6 Months Ago
      I don't think any car looks good in orange. And if it's not the right kind of car, yellow also looks bad, especially if it's taxicab yellow.
        kingrat001
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Niels Marienlund
        You would be wrong, very very wrong: http://static.cargurus.com/images/site/2008/01/07/19/28/1970_plymouth_road_runner-pic-63211.jpeg http://images.thecarconnection.com/med/2009-dodge-challenger-r-t-classic_100192853_m.jpg
        ravenosa
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Niels Marienlund
        Just about the only cars that look good in yellow are taxis and buses.
          kingrat001
          • 6 Months Ago
          @ravenosa
          Like Neils, you are so wrong: http://www.blogcdn.com/www.autoblog.com/media/2009/11/chal_detyel_630.jpg http://px6.streetfire.net/0001/58/10/1358501_600.jpg
        drew
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Niels Marienlund
        :(
      INCREDIBLE BOB
      • 6 Months Ago
      This article makes the writer look like a complete idiot who knows nothing about the auto business. Most yellow and orange cars sold in recent years are showy sports models, which also retain high resale value in other colors. However, most dull, common cars tend to be black, silver, etc, driving down the average resale value of the color.
      edward.stallings
      • 6 Months Ago
      I call BS on this study because many mundane cars are not even available in yellow or orange. What is being observed is that specialty and performance cars have better than average resale.
        Mudotaku
        • 6 Months Ago
        @edward.stallings
        In what universe performance cars have a better resale value??? Have you seen how much a Maserati Coupe cost??? Heck, Porsches and Corvettes lose like 60% of its value in a few years !!!
          Zoom
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Mudotaku
          Porsches don't. Sorry bub.
          Arturo Rios Jr.
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Mudotaku
          They do loose value but generally expensive cars hold their value better because they are better taken care off unlike regular cars. So in my opinion yellow and orange cars keep their value better now because of their color but because of the condition and miles this cars accumulate.
          turbo_awd
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Mudotaku
          Please find me ANY decent shape Porsche or Corvette that's 3-4 years old (you said "a few years") and less than 40% of initial cost. Or even the Maserati Coupe.. I'd love a lightly used model for $20-30k.. Haven't seen any around here (NorCal). I'm serious - if you know where I can find such, please let me know..
        Ken
        • 6 Months Ago
        @edward.stallings
        My thoughts exactly. You need to look at cars that have this as an option with any real take rate (Mustang, Vette, 911's, etc.).
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