It's Not Easy Being Beige: Vehicle Color Affects Depreciation, Study Shows

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
its not easy being beige vehicle color affects depreciation study shows

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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  • Art Vandelay Art Vandelay on Aug 12, 2016

    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!

  • Jeff S Jeff S on Aug 12, 2016

    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.

  • FreedMike If it were a GLI, it’d be a decent project car. But at the end of the day you have a base Jetta, and those weren’t all that great. Speaking of project VWs - when I was living at my old house a few years ago, one of my neighbors had an OG 1983 GTI sitting on his lawn. Lord, did I want to take that car home.
  • Dukeisduke "Gouging" - lol. California's gas prices are driven by a combination of the highest state gasoline tax in the US (66.98 cents per gallon) and the CARB-mandated California-only boutique fuel blends.
  • Astigmatism Honestly I'm surprised it's not higher. My parents bought two garage spots in Boston for $250k in the 1980s. When I worked in midtown a decade ago, garage spots near my building rented for $500 a month, which would support a $125k mortgage.Places get expensive when lots of people want to live there.
  • 28-Cars-Later As much as the Orwellian nature concerns me I must say to "add a turbo" as it were to net roughly 20% more bhp for $1,195 doesn't sound too bad. In days of old the V6 -> V8 upgrade was upwards of 20-30% of the base model cost.
  • Nivya Typical Manhattan parking spot price usually ranges anywhere between $15 to $75 for two hours. However, there are plenty of alternative parking options that provide even cheaper rates.
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