When it comes to the colour of our cars, South Africans generally play it safe, with white dominating the highway landscape, followed by silver, grey and black.
But what impact does colour have when it comes time to trade in your vehicle, and do these dominant colours have the best resale value?
According to Gumtree, most of us buy cars with the heart – we want a specific brand, body variant, engine and gearbox type, accessories and colour.
“In South Africa, white and silver are the easiest to resell – darker colours like black and navy blue being less so. Were we in Europe, the converse is true – darker colours are favoured over lighter ones.
“Hues of silver include grey, and the local trend is very much in line with that of other countries considered to have hot and sunny climes. It seems buyer preference revolves around white, silver/grey, black/blue, red, and then shades of yellow, brown and green.”
According to Cars.co.za, most cars depreciate at a rate of 15% – 20% per year, with depreciation the most severe in the first year of ownership – as high as 50% in some cases.
“Buy a car with neutral external colours such as black, white and silver. These colours will most likely still be popular in a couple of years and will therefore sell for more,” the car advertising website said.
A new analysis of over 2.1 million used car sales by US based online automotive search engine and research website, iSeeCars.com, revealed that retained value actually varies widely across car colours.
It said that while the average car depreciates 33.1% in the first three years of ownership, yellow cars hold their value the best and depreciate by only 27%, followed by orange cars. On the other hand, gold cars depreciate the most by 37.1%.
On both a local and global scale, these colours combined make up only a tiny percentage of annual sales in the automotive industry.
DuPont’s global data showed similar trends to the local market when it comes to colour preference:
- White/White Pearl and Silver – tie, 22% each
- Black/Black Effect – 20%
- Gray – 13%
- Red – 7%
- Blue – 6%
- Brown/Beige – 5%
- Green – 2%
- Yellow/Gold – 1%
- Others – 2%
“Yellow cars are relatively less common, which could drive up demand and help maintain their value,” said Phong Ly, CEO of iSeeCars.com.
“Our analysis shows that yellow vehicles have the lowest depreciation of any color for lower-volume cars like convertibles. Interestingly, yellow is also the colour with the least depreciation for popular body styles like SUVs and pickup trucks.”
Orange and green cars also retain their value well and are also less common—together, yellow, orange, and green cars make up only 1.2% of all three-year-old cars, iSeeCars.com said.
However, rarity alone does not determine how much a vehicle depreciates. The three worst colours—beige, purple, and gold—have a 0.7% share, but depreciate more than 10 % worse than average. “Again, we find that this isn’t just due to the kinds of cars that tend to come in these colours,” Ly said.
The most common car colours—white, black, and gray—depreciated at a rate very close to average.
Average 3-year depreciation by colour: