Show Me the Money: Car color and cash

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — We continue our series on the new car shortage. We’ve talked before about how that shortage is giving new value to used cars, but did you know the amount your car is worth could come down to its paint job?

New car prices are skyrocketing and used cars are in high demand.

“When you can’t buy a new car then you don’t get rid of your existing car because you’re waiting to get the new car you want that constricts the used car market,” said Karl Brauer, executive analyst with iSeeCars.

“So you end up with both markets new and used going up in value because there just are not enough vehicles to go around.”

Brauer says this could be a great time to sell your vehicle, especially if you have a truck or SUV.

“If you can get rid of a truck or SUV and buy a traditional car like a midsize or smaller sedan like a Honda Accord or Toyota Camry, you might be able to make up some ground because those don’t have the same kind of price hikes that the trucks and SUVs do.”

Here’s an interesting fact — the color of your car could have a big effect on how much you get for it.

The most popular car colors are silver, black, and white. But those aren’t the cars that will fetch you the most money.

“When you have those colors you’re not really standing out at all, you’re just part of the market, you’re not going to lose a lot of extra value but you’re also not going to retain extra value.”

Instead, think of unique colors.

“Yellow is a color most people don’t associate with a popular car color and it’s not, but, the difference between how many yellow cars exist and how many people want a yellow car is such that more people want them than are out there. So if you happen to have a yellow car you tend to have more value and you can sell it for a higher price.”

When it comes to retaining value, yellow tops the list. followed by beige, orange, and green.

For example, a yellow car depreciates in value 20% over the course of 3-4 years compared to 35% for a car that’s a more common color.

So what about the other side of this? If you’re going to buy a new car, should you be looking for one of these colors?

“Yeah especially if you can find one of these colors and it’s about the same price because that might be a person that doesn’t know that their car color helps retain value.”

Definitely something to think about if you’re in the market for another car. 

“Don’t forget the other thing that’s important. You should buy the color that you want at the end of the day but if you can be happy with a color like a yellow or an orange as well as finding one for about the same price, that would be the better investment long term.”

Just because a color is unique doesn’t automatically make it a good buy. The three colors that depreciate in value the fastest — gold, brown, and purple.
To take a closer look at the color study, click here.