The brighter the car color, the brighter its future retention.
According to an iSeeCars.com analysis of 2.1 million used vehicles, yellow vehicles depreciated an average of just 27 percent in value after three years, and orange cars depreciated 30.6 percent.
These school bus-inspired colors led the class, as they had the lowest depreciation rates among the 13 colors included in the analysis.
Yellow and orange were followed closely by another color that can be both rare and bright: green, at 30.9-percent depreciation.
The average cars depreciates 33.1 percent after three years, according to the iSeeCars study.
“Yellow cars are relatively less common, which could drive up demand and help maintain their value,” iSeeCars chief executive officer Phong Ly said in the analysis.
“Our analysis shows that yellow vehicles have the lowest depreciation of any color for lower-volume cars like convertibles,” he said. “Interestingly, yellow is also the color with the least depreciation for popular body styles like SUVs and pickup trucks.”
As Ly notes, rarity certainly plays a role. The company said that just 1.2 percent of all 3-year-old cars are either yellow, orange or green.
However, the two other colors that had better-than-average depreciation were white at 32.6 percent and red at 32.7 percent, which are actually both quite common.
Additionally, the three colors with the highest depreciation rates — gold at 37.1 percent, purple at 36.7 percent and beige at 36.6 percent — are also pretty rare, making up just 0.7 percent of the market.
So what gives?
For gold, in particular, Ly notes that its “near-universally poor depreciation may reflect lower consumer demand for the color — given the choice, consumers may just prefer the more common colors or flashier colors.”
Speaking of the common colors, white was slightly better than average at 32.6 percent, black was a bit below at 33.6 percent, and gray was at 33.5 percent — meaning the respecitve depreciation rates for the most common colors were all within a percentage point of the average score.
“Because these colors are so common, buyers can shop around more easily if they're interested in these colors, reducing the amount of pricing power for dealers,” Ly said.
Below is a list of average depreciation over three years for the respective colors in iSeeCars data:
Average Car: 33.1%