Which colour used cars sell for the most money?
What’s the impact on used car pricing of picking the best, or worst, colour? We investigate the impact of colour on used car pricing. - Tristan Young
A version of this article was first published on YesAuto UK.
We all have our favourite colours for cars and we all know how some cars just look ‘better’ in certain colours. But how does this emotional reasoning impact the value of used cars?
YesAuto has spoken to car value expert Cazana to get to the facts and answer questions such as; which colour cars hold the most value, do colours go in and out of fashion and what’s the impact of different colours on different types of car?
Most popular car colours
Last year grey was the most popular car colour making up nearly a quarter of all new car registrations, and up 8% on 2019. If you argue that grey is just dark silver (or even that silver is just light grey) and lump the two colours together, then almost a third of new cars fall into this category. After all, at what point does dark silver become grey?
Interestingly, last year – during the pandemic – there was an increasing number of people buying more vibrant colours such as orange, yellow and green. However, even combined, these three colours only made up 2.6% of the new car market.
Car colour trends
The rise in the number of people buying more ‘standout’ colours could be down to the rise in sales of smaller SUVs which not only can be ordered in brighter colours, but are ordered in brighter colours.
According to Cazana’s data and experts, this year has seen a rise in the values of reds and yellows at much steeper rates than darker colours, and well-ahead of the average used car value performance for this sector.
Cazana uses the example of a two or three year old red Ford Ecosport currently being worth around £500-£600 more than the equivalent car in black.
Demand for brighter colours on mini-SUVs doesn’t carry over to other sectors.
For superminis, where many mini-SUV buyers have come from, differences in values aren’t anywhere near as pronounced.
Cazana’s data shows that almost all colours are valued broadly equally and any variation is more likely due to shortages of popular colours, not a rise in demand.
In the family SUV sector, which includes cars such as the Nissan Qashqai, used car values by colour have also tracked equally over the past year with two exceptions. At the start of 2020, red was the least valuable colour and silver the top, with a difference between the two on a one or two year old car being almost £800. However, that position has now almost reversed with silver being the least valuable colour while red is a very close second to blue. The difference between the two has narrowed and is now more like £400 for cars equal in other respects.
In the executive car segment that includes cars such as the Mercedes E-class, manufacturers tend not to offer brighter colours as owners and buyers are more conservative in their tastes.
However there are still changes in fashions, according to Cazana’s experts.
Over the past year white has remained the least popular colour, but silver, which has come in and out of fashion for large executive cars is now the most valuable colour today coming from second worst at the start of last year.
A year ago a silver one year old Mercedes E-class was worth almost £2,000 less than a blue one, but today silver is just ahead of blue in terms of value.
Knowing these trends is one thing, but using the information is something else.
If you’re not fussy about the colour of your next used car, then you could save yourself a significant sum when buying. But remember, like share price warnings; past performance is not an indicator of the future, so when you come to sell, your colour choice may or may not be in fashion.
The better way to win at car colour choice is to pick a ‘safer’ darker colour knowing that it’s value is likely to less fluctuation; even if that means the roads are a more boring place.
Check more Tristan Young's articles on YesAuto UK.