By on August 11, 2016

2014 Toyota Corolla Exterior

Owners of orange or yellow cars should consider themselves blessed, especially if they’re planning on selling.

A study of 1.6 million three-year-old vehicles by iSeeCars.com reveals that a vehicle’s paint color has a big effect on depreciation and the amount of time it takes to sell.

The study found that orange vehicles depreciate the least after three years (21.6 percent), followed close behind by yellow at 22 percent. That’s 27.4 and 26.2 percent less, respectively, than an average vehicle.

Obviously, you’re thinking. Orange and yellow cars are usually sought-after exotics or muscle cars.

True, vivid colors often show up on droolworthy vehicles, but there’s something else working in their favor — rarity, and less wear. Orange and yellow vehicles make up just 1.5 percent of the market. The two colors topped the “least depreciation” list in almost all body styles and market segments.

“Cars in orange, yellow, and to a lesser extent, green, are primarily sports cars and muscle cars,” said Phong Ly, CEO of iSeeCars.com, in a statement. “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.”

Green, brown and red round out the top five colors with the least depreciation. Gray, white, blue and black, among the most common paint choices, are near average.

Silver and beige, the go-to colors of the 1990s and 2000s, have higher depreciation rates, but nothing is worse than gold. With an average depreciation of 33.9 percent, gold vehicles are dead last. Oddly, it’s the third-fastest-selling color in the study, behind gray and black.

While vivid colors hold their value, it doesn’t reduce the amount of time the vehicle sits on the market. Yellow and red are second and third from the bottom in that part of the study. At an average of 55.8 days on the market, beige vehicles take the longest to sell.

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97 Comments on “It’s Not Easy Being Beige: Vehicle Color Affects Depreciation, Study Shows...”


  • avatar
    Coopdeville

    It’s no wonder about gold given the god awful hue some mfgrs have gone with in recent years. Toyota and Ford both come to mind with some truly hideous shades:

    http://imganuncios.mitula.net/2009_toyota_camry_4dr_sdn_i4_auto_le_gold_cd_player_bucket_seat_98963525454598814.jpg
    http://imganuncios.mitula.net/2014_ford_escape_titanium_karat_gold_in_boston_harbor_washington_100429362345350821.jpg

    I’ll take the pewter/beige Corolla color any day.

  • avatar
    orenwolf

    If I never have to see another burnt orange car again, I can die happy.

    • 0 avatar
      Chocolatedeath

      Thats funnny.. I actually love burnt orange. Infiniti used to make a great one..lol

      • 0 avatar
        statikboy

        A friend of mine had a 1985 Honda Civic Wagon in a beautiful metallic burnt orange. I can’t find a picture, but I know I saw at least one other, and a bunch of similar year hatchbacks as well. In the spirit of the post, gold instead:

        http://www.curbsideclassic.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Honda-1987-civic-wagon-rq.png

        Check out the sightlines on that baby!!

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

        GMC had a sweet burnt orange on early 2000s Sierras, and they pulled it off the shelf for the first gen Canyon, too.

      • 0 avatar
        cdotson

        I’ve never owned a burnt orange car, but had a thing for the color since before college. Goes really well with maroon accents and interior.

        • 0 avatar
          ItsJustaRide

          I dig orange cars.

          I painted my ’80 Vanagon Kubota orange.

          My NB Miata is Evo Orange Mica.

          Useless fact: Evo Orange is the least common, non-special edition Miata color in North America. Mazda imported only 644 ’99 & ’00 cars with this paint.

      • 0 avatar
        Wodehouse

        I love it, too!

    • 0 avatar
      Nostrathomas

      Agreed. As a graphic designer, I like to think there’s no such thing a a bad color, only bad colors for certain applications….but I just can’t stand burnt orange.

      I wonder which car started that trend…Pontiac Sunfire? That’s the first one where I really remember noticing it and being put off (then again it holds true for a Sunfire in any color).

    • 0 avatar
      Joss

      My Burnt Orange Sentra SER sold off the dealership lot in 2 days.

    • 0 avatar
      energetik9

      I personally love burnt orange. The BMW 1M in Valencia orange is one of my all time favorites. I think Lotus used that color too. In additional to multiple exotics of course.

      I do agree that it very much depends on the car to make it look fantastic.

    • 0 avatar
      duffman13

      I was never a fan of it on the Corvette, but I always liked it on the RSX and 350Z. I can’t think of any other cars that really showed up in burnt orange all that much.

  • avatar
    PRNDLOL

    All I can think about now is yellow Cavalier coupes and WHY

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    I wonder how different this is when one looks at pickups?
    White is your typical fleet colour. It isn’t popular as a civilian colour.

    • 0 avatar
      86er

      It isn’t?

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      I’ve had 6 white cars, and none came from fleets. I see a lot of white cars on dealer lots.

      • 0 avatar
        Joss

        In Japan the flavor seems appliance white. Never seen so many white cars washed away on YouTube tsunami videos.

        • 0 avatar
          golden2husky

          I have one white car and -oops- its a fleet car for work. White IMHO is the color for lacking imagination – whether it is a car or a home interior. Yet white is one of the most popular car colors.

          Some good exceptions would be 911s and C7 Stingrays. Those cars actually look good in white.

          • 0 avatar
            nrd515

            White, along with brown, green, gold, and tan, is a “Hell No!” color for me. Silver is boring, but not horrible. Yellow, red, and orange, not burnt orange, are ok by me. I’ve not grown tired of it, even after almost 6 years:

            https://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/640x480q90/910/qrsyQx.jpg

          • 0 avatar
            HotPotato

            I was shocked to see the new Chevy Volt looking really good in white. Goes great with the new shark-like body style. And yet the new Cruze, which shares a great deal of its styling with the new Volt, looks lousy in white. Maybe it’s to do with wheel size and style?

    • 0 avatar
      Carlson Fan

      When shopping for a used Volt this spring I specifically wanted one in the Diamond White Tricot. I call it the “Cadillac Paint” and it was a $1000 option on that car when it was new. Love it! I’m also a sucker for dark blue metallics which is what is on the ex’s A4 and that’s gorgeous also.

    • 0 avatar

      I used to have a bright yellow Ranger. I bought it new, and got a pretty good deal on it, because it had been sitting on the dealer’s lot for about a year.

      A few days after I traded it in, a friend of mine saw it on the road, so I guess it didn’t sit long as a used car.

      • 0 avatar
        BuzzDog

        Your Ranger’s color was irrelevant. It’s a Ranger.

        For some strange reason, nice used ones seem to sell quickly in my area. I drove mine off of the dealership lot when it was new in 2000, and even though I don’t drive it all that much I’ve been approached by potential buyers every four to six months over the last two years.

        ——————

        Full disclosure: The above account of Ranger ownership represents a sample of one, so rake it for what it is. Your mileage may vary. Not valid in all states. The accounts and descriptions of this game may not be disseminated without express written consent of the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball.

        • 0 avatar
          vtecJustKickedInYo

          I’m currently driving an ’03 FX4 Level 2 manual trans that’s in Sonic Blue. I’ve had a couple of offers left on the windshield now that I’m living in Detroit and it’s a rust free Georgia Ranger.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      white for pickups doesn’t seem to be popular at least in my part of the world. I see plenty of white cars and SUV’s.

      • 0 avatar
        BuzzDog

        As SSJeep posted below, white is a popular fleet color for pickups where I live, and it’s commonly seen on what I assume are privately owned trucks (that assumption based on how they’re equipped).

        It could be a Southern thing, as white vehicles are supposedly cooler in the summer.

    • 0 avatar
      SSJeep

      All fleets around here have a white exterior. It seems to be equally popular in the civilian purchase realm as well.

      I have seen some really neat deep blues in the Ford lineup lately. And I have to admit that I like the Ford burnt orange (pumpkin?) on the Edge Sport.

    • 0 avatar
      duffman13

      White is a popular color in some circles though. On a pedestrian car, it’s fairly standard, but on certain sports and luxury cars it’s one of the more desirable choices. It also depends it if’s basic refrigerator white or something with some nice pearl or metallic effects.

      The Integra Type-R in Championship White and S2000 in Grand Prix White (doubly so with the red interior) are prime examples.

    • 0 avatar
      cognoscenti

      Every time I think of Teal as a car color, the Geo Storm pops into my head!

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Look at a Lexus lot and you won’t be saying this about white.

  • avatar
    86er

    “Green, brown and *red* round out the top five colors with the least depreciation”.

    Oh, so that’s why I overpaid for my Roadmaster…

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    It’s interesting now how many of the more desirable colors are optional at 300 to 1000 bucks additional.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      This. I looked at the configurator for the 2017 Buick LaCrosse, and other than white or black (and not pearl-white, either), every color was at least a $400 upgrade.

      For reals, Buick? You gon’ do us like that?

      • 0 avatar
        jkross22

        I wouldn’t worry about that. By the time the 200 people who have been waiting on this car buy it, these will once again require incentives to move, more than making up for the ticky tack costs of having a blue LaCrosse.

      • 0 avatar
        redliner

        IKR, I guess they are trying to be more “European” than we thought with the extra cost paint. It used to be that extra cost paint was only for very limited colors or true luxury cars.

        Speaking of LaCrosse, the new LaCrosse looks deliciously comfortable and quiet. Now make it electric and I’m sold.

        • 0 avatar
          Lorenzo

          Don’t blame the Europeans, Detroit came up with the options list as long as your arm, and two-tone and three tone paint jobs at extra cost back in the 1950s. We’re back to monochrome cars now, and special order colors are only the latest bean counter inspiration.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      It is also very interesting to see the differences in prices for the same optional paint on different cars. I chose Crystal red for my Stingray convertible and it was $1000 extra. The very same color on a Malibu was $399 extra. The real irony was there was more square footage to paint on the Malibu than on my convertible.

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        They probably figured you’d be more finicky about the Stingray quality and charged extra for it.

      • 0 avatar
        shaker

        “I chose Crystal red for my Stingray convertible and it was $1000 extra. The very same color on a Malibu was $399 extra. The real irony was there was more square footage to paint on the Malibu than on my convertible.”

        I’m going to guess that the paint formulation needs added “stuff that makes paint stretch” for the fiberglass.

        Or, what Lorenzo said.

        The Crystal Red Tintcoat on my 2013 Malibu and 2015 Volt were both $399 options.

  • avatar
    Nick_515

    If only we had a statistical method available that could ‘control’ for color availability and mileage. Imagine the kinds of knowledge we’d be privy to.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    This is not useful for anything beyond getting iseecars in the news. These colors are biased towards niche segments, very few popular models are available in these colors, and they don’t seem to be controlling for these factors.

    “Obviously, you’re thinking. Orange and yellow cars are usually sought-after exotics or muscle cars.”

    Yes, exactly. And nothing in this article or the iseecars website article on their 2014 version of this study suggests anything was done to correct for that. You’ve got yellow Mustang GT depreciation rate going up against white Hyundai Elantra depreciation.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    I used to love the metallic teal on the Geo Metro 3-cylinder. Made it look like a million bucks. Well, $10,000…

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      I saw one of those on the PA Turnpike over the weekend. A convertible. That car looks tiny next to a modern mid-sized sedan, and like it’s driving through a canyon when squeezing between modern SUVs (the drivers of which probably never knew it was there).

  • avatar
    Fuzzilina

    I miss my Gold 1994 BMW 325is. It was stunningly beautiful, Samana Beige is what the factory color name was, but it was 14 carat gold. Not enough Orange to be 18 carat, but enough green to be 14. I haven’t seen a BMW in that color since the 90s. It was sweeeeet.

  • avatar
    True_Blue

    Hot Rod just had an article showing off a Sunlit Gold Poly ’68 G.T.350. That hue should be illegal – it’s way too luscious.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I prefer pewter, champagne, and silver they are colors that never really look dated as are white and black. If you are going to keep a vehicle a while orange, canary yellow, green, and tinsel blue will get old. After growing up in the 60’s and 70’s I got tired of brown, burnt orange, harvest gold, and avocado green. Bland colors are much easier to take care of and less noticed by the cops.

    I guess everything comes around and with a new generation you can sell them oranges, browns, and greens. They will have to bring back shag carpet, mood rings, pet rocks, plat form shoes for men, gold chains for men, and bell bottom jeans.

  • avatar
    redliner

    Resale value be darned, my next car will be green if it is one of the available colors. Like Toyota’s Spruce Mica, or GMs Unripened Green Metallic or Dark Emerald Metallic.

    • 0 avatar
      brettc

      I like green, it’s sad that green seems to be so hard to find these days. VW had a nice Alaska Green years ago and GM currently has some nice green choices. We need more green cars.

      • 0 avatar
        TMA1

        I bought a green car last month. The real issue was finding one that didn’t have an all-black interior. I had to go out of state for that. Options were very limited, because Ford killed off their green for ’17.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      Too bad you can no longer get Ford’s old “seafoam green”, which people thought was dull yellow. I had that color on my ’68 Mercury Montego, and it could take a glossy wax job and still look good with a week’s dust on it.

  • avatar
    brettc

    I don’t know, I see too many orange and lime green Dodge Darts (too many being more than 1). I’ve also seen too many ugly gold Nissans and Fords. I can’t imagine any of those colours are in demand in the used market on low end cars.

    Maybe I’m horribly wrong though.

  • avatar
    pmirp1

    I love a green Jeep. I can not believe that the Grand Cherokee green is not like the first two years. Or that Mustang doesn’t offer a British racing green. Or same for Corvette now. After that, as a man I love me some deep blues and deep red. The Jewel colors. The black looks good on anything. Can’t stand a silver, or beige or brown colors. Life is too short for boring colors.

  • avatar
    rocketrodeo

    Our Fusion is Ginger Ale Metallic, a light green-gold-brown that changes subtly in different lights and seems nearly impossible to photograph accurately. I wasn’t wild about it at first, but the other half was, and it gets a LOT of comments. Edmunds thinks it’s worth a few dozen dollars in price adjustments as well.

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    This topic hurts my heart because every image of a gorgeous color/shade in my memory is accompanied by several of how that color looks being eaten away with rust.

    Around here we literally salt our cars’ wounds.

  • avatar
    dwford

    Of course, when you show up at a dealership with an orange, yellow or neon green car, they will tell you that those colors are hard to resell and LOWER the value of the car. So there’s that.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      If you show up with the most popular color in the world they will tell you it is too common and not worth as much.

      Buy what YOU like, not what the next owner will like.

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    My wife’s MY03 Yellow Mini Cooper S still gets looks and lots of smiles.

    In yellow with black hood stripes it looks “exotic” compared to my plain white Clubman with a black top.

  • avatar
    Corollaman

    Is this why my 400k mile, Sandrift metallic ’98 Corolla is only worth about $250?

  • avatar
    Johnster

    When I was growing up, the utility company had all orange and black vehicles. Old Chevy pickups and Chevy Biscaynes. They would eventually have their utility logos taken off and were sold to the public and there quite a few of them on the streets and everybody knew you bought it used and cheap, sort of like an old police cruiser.

    I knew a handful of people of Irish descent who refused to purchase an orange car because of religious and political considerations, but they liked British racing green. Go figure.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    If you keep a vehicle a long time does it really matter what color it is? The color of a 10 to 15 year old car is not going to be that much of a factor in its worth as its condition. Anyway most dealers are not going to keep an older vehicle unless it is low mileage, perfect condition, and a model that will sell. For a person driving average or below average miles it is better to keep a vehicle for 10 or more years. You buy a vehicle to use and not as an investment. If you drive a lot or if you just have to have a new vehicle every couple of years then you might be more interested in what type of vehicle it is and its colors and options. Its not like changing the color of your bath towels or bed sheets to keep up with the latest color fads, those are a lot cheaper than a vehicle.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

    This study is crap. Why they wasted time, money and energy to find out why boring cars don’t sell quickly while flashy ones get more attention is beyond me.

    As stated, desirable flashy/sporty/rare cars often come in vivid colors. Boring cars come in silver or beige, because it isn’t offensive and Enterprise didn’t really care when they ordered it new.

    Common sense just isn’t that common any more, I guess. Maybe we should commission a huge multi-year study involving many people and costing tens of thousands of dollars to figure that one out.

    By the way, I stumbled upon a white Mercury Bobcat the other day. Boring color? Eh, open the door, the interior is ORANGE! Lol sure don’t see that often.

  • avatar
    zip94513

    My two favorite colors on vehicles are silver & beige. I don’t believe a word of this study.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    I won’t own a beige or medium/dark grey car. The colors are very appealing, but they blend into the background or pavement like damn chameleons. So I wonder if their owner know how invisible they can be at times, especially with no lights on, nor LEDs. It’s almost irresponsible.

    I’ve got a bright red pickup (STX) and I always run the headlights, 24/7.

  • avatar
    JMII

    Nice… says the guy who owns an orange sports car (see avatar).
    I also owned a Yellow Prelude Si and a green Mitsubishi Eclipse back in the day. I love colorful cars and can’t stand the current trend of 10 different shades of grey. My wife has a white car now but NEVER again, it gets dirty on days when the sun rises in the east. Also black is a no good – too hot in Florida, I had a black Ranger Splash so I will not make that mistake again. While silver is terribly boring it has a huge advantage in the easy to sell and can’t tell its dirty category.

  • avatar
    cargogh

    My next car will be white. Mostly because I’m hoping it will stay a few degrees cooler parked in the sun during summer.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I am in the silver and beige category as well because both don’t show the dirt as bad and both are cooler in warmer climates. Also both are timeless colors which don’t date a vehicle as much as other colors. I like the pearl white as well. One of my favorite colors has been the pewter on my 99 S-10 which still looks good after 17 years and doesn’t date my truck like tinsel green, orange, or purple. I have a black truck which is sharp when it is clean but it will be my first and last black vehicle. I don’t dislike red but neither do the cops.

    • 0 avatar
      nrd515

      Funny, I’ve had many bright red, orange, and yellow vehicles, and the only one I got a ticket in was the yellow Dodge Power Wagon, for going 35 in a 25 zone. My present car, which is hardly “stealthy” is ticket free after almost 6 years. I was pulled over in it, right after I got it, so the OSP officer could ask me about it, and take pics:

      https://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/640x480q90/910/qrsyQx.jpg

  • avatar
    FalconRTV

    Oops… I just ordered a new 2016 Toyota FJ Cruiser in beige.. er “Sandstorm”.

  • avatar
    ajla

    No accounting for taste, but I liked this color.

    gminsidenews.com/forums/gallery/data/744/medium/ATSSummerGold.jpg

    A gold ATS sedan with a 5.3L/8A and polished 18s for like $41k would work.

  • avatar
    mchan1

    Doesn’t matter for people who keep their vehicles for many years as it’ll be traded in or sold ~10 yrs or so.

    Like white, silver and red and shades of those colors.

    Remember reading many media articles about vehicles and regional colors. U.S. Northern areas where there’s cold weather had more dark colors whereas the Southern areas had more lighter colors, which made sense.

    Lived in the south for a short while (TX) and not many dark colored vehicles, considering the amount of sun and heat there was. Up north in the New England area, Lots of dark colored vehicles like black, grey and blue.

    Whatever color one likes… to each their own.

    Just wished that:
    1. Many automakers would STOP charging for some common colors like ‘White’!
    2. Some years ago, some auto makers had a paint scheme where the color was on the ‘bottom’ and there was a clear coat on top. It seemed that the color changed its tone depending on how or where one looked at the vehicle. It looked terrific.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      It sounds like what you are thinking about are the “tri-coat” paints. Base/clear is the norm for most colors on most cars. Tri-coat adds another layer of “pearl” between the base and shiny clear. The are called pearls because originally they achieved that effect by mixing ground up pearls into the paint and it was done intentionally by customizers. Now Metallic paint was an accident when a machine that was used to grind pigments started shedding metal that wound up mixed in with the pigment.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I think whenever you trade a car in the dealer is going to give you the lowest value that they can give you regardless of color and even condition. For most people it is better just to run the wheels off their vehicles or to give it to a family members. Cars are a necessity for most people and very few will ever increase in value. Buy something you like and are willing to keep for a long time and then take very good care of it. Pay yourself first and don’t be in debt to the car industry. That’s my 2 cents worth.

  • avatar
    walleyeman57

    I remember seeing a study that claimed white or yellow were the safest colors-being more visible and all. It appears to me that a number of fire and EMS vehicles have gone to higher visibility colors also, rather than the red that was more common years ago.

    When looking for my last purchase my wife asked what color I was looking for. “Anything but silver”. You guessed it, we got one more silver car. As we have purchased most of our cars used in recent years it seems to me that, at least here in MI, there are many more in silver- used anyway. When buying used, I don’t think about resale color-I’m just looking for the best condition car in my budget.

  • avatar
    Big Al From 'Murica

    What about the hue of Green that was on Jack Baruth’s Audi? I’d pay extra for that all day and will one day paint an NA Miata that color. I see Brown was on the desirable list…something I attribute to this forum and the good people at the Brown Car Appreciation Society!

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    If this article is true then I will look for good used silver vehicles since they are less desirable and cheaper. I prefer silver anyway.


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