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Best And Worst Exterior Paint Colours For Resale

We’ve all heard those jokes about people who seem to be more concerned about what colour a car is rather than its practical performance (fuel economy, towing ability, safety specs, luggage space, etc.).  We’ve also probably tossed out a flip comment about go-faster red and go-faster stripes over the years.  Paint colour seems like just a matter of personal choice and preference.  However, if you’re buying a brand new car and you know that you are going to sell it off some years down the track, then you may need to bear colour in mind, as some car paint colours are better for resale than others.

Good paint colours are popular ones that don’t go out of style quickly. This means that it’s going to be quicker and easier to sell them in five or ten years’ time because they’ll still be in style. With a bad colour – which might be a fashionable colour – it could be a bit harder to sell the car later on because potential buyers may look at it and go “eww – that’s so 2020”, which may mean that you will have to let the car go for a lower price than you may have got otherwise.

The leading authority on car paint colour is the paint manufacturer Axalta. This company has complied stats on car colours for over 60 years and has tons of resources available (the most recent free annual car stats are from 2016) and there is plenty to keep any motoring trivia enthusiast happy for hours at their website.

By a quick look at some of the material available from Axalta without wasting time down too many rabbit trails, it seems as if good car colours, in terms of resale, are like good suit colours for guys or the little black cocktail dress for gals: simple, basic classics that don’t shock or startle. Honestly, when it comes to car paint colour that hold its value, conservative is the key.

The most recent (freely available!) stats from Axalta show that the most popular car exterior paint colours worldwide (and therefore the ones that are likely to have the best resale value) are as follows:

  1. White: 37% of new cars sold in 2016 were some shade of white; white has been #1 for quite some time now
  2. Black: 18%
  3. Grey: 11%
  4. Silver: 11%
  5. Red: 6%
  6. Navy blue: 6%
  7. Beige and brown: 6% (apparently, Russian sales made up most of these)
  8. Yellow and gold: 3%
  9. Green: 1% (again, mostly Russian sales)

The most popular colour for vehicles in the Asia-Pacific region (which includes us here in Australia) has been either white, silver or grey since 1973 – and it looks like this trend isn’t going to change soon!

(If you want the latest stats, broken down by region and by body style – yes, it makes a difference –then you have to pay to get the download. I’m tempted…)

To find the least popular colours, all that some bloggers and researchers do is to flip this popularity list upside down. However, you, like me, have probably noticed that some colours don’t even feature on this list.  Because cars with unpopular colours don’t sell as well, it’s hard to compile meaningful stats on them, as it’s hard to track what isn’t selling because there’s nothing to see or record.  Nevertheless, the following have been proposed as the worst car exterior paint colours for resale.  They’re not in any particular order, but you may notice that all of them are very distinctive and associated with particular decades!

  • orange: any shade of orange; this colour is only popular with die-hard Dukes of Hazzard fans
  • turquoise: metallic turquoise in particular is soooo 1990s
  • maroon: very 1990s and dated, which is weird for a shade of red
  • green (unless you’re Russian): olive or pea green from the 1970s is especially bad, followed by the vivid treefrog greens of the early 2000s
  • brown (again, unless you’re Russian): British Leyland. Enough said
  • pink: in fact, Ferrari has banned pink from its list of possible car colours coming out of the factory door, even for superstars paying megadollars for a custom paint job (if P!nk wants a pink supercar, she has to get a Lambo, which doesn’t mind what colour you pick if you’re willing to pay).
  • purple: I don’t think I’ve ever seen a purple vehicle that wasn’t a commercial tradie vehicle in company colours that had been custom-painted

The only exception I’d make to this list is the case of British Racing Green for Jaguar.  This is a tradition and it’s such an iconic colour for Jaguar that it holds its value better than other off-the-wall unique colours.  Can you imagine a Burberry in any colour other than beige?

However, if you are in the market for a second-hand car, you can make the car colour thing work in your favour. If you believe that a good horse is never a bad colour and that the same applies to cars, then you may be able to pick up a good reliable set of wheels that’s in an unfashionable colour so is going for a fraction cheaper than something mechanically identical in a “good” colour. I’ll never forget my tradie friend who picked up a metallic rose-pink trade van at a bargain price because of its colour – he downright owned that pink van and it certainly made him stand out from his competitors with ordinary white vans. OK, you need some serious cojones to pull off a pink tradie van, but it certainly worked for my friend! http://credit-n.ru/credit-card-single-tinkoff-platinum.html

4 comments

  1. LESLIE J ROSS says:

    i wonder what the amount of white vehicles would be if you didnt count in government owned vehicles in this list . this includes shire owned ones . i notice in the northern territory the police cars are all different colors. ps i wonder if ill get a responce to this Les

    February 18th, 2020 at 10:35 am

  2. Robert Dickinson says:

    Hi!

    Sats can be great but they fail to tell the true story on colour preference/choce. I believe that white is popular because
    1. For the private buyer, there is no premium cost as is encountered irridescents
    2. It is frequently a fleet colour (again because of cost) and
    3. Reflectivity and car body temperature is better and
    4. Car park scratches are not as obvious as for solid colours
    5. Paint repairs are less costly

    Such issues should be included in the discussion.

    February 18th, 2020 at 11:34 am

  3. Shane Navin says:

    White, Black and Silver for drivers with no imagination who accept the lowest common denominator!

    February 18th, 2020 at 3:42 pm

  4. Bill Buchanan says:

    Interesting but. perhaps the name of the colour is also important. I remember Dunhill Red being an attractive ‘colour’ when Dunhill were in vogue and, the first new Mazda my wife bought because the colour was Passion Rose.
    Can you imagine the effect of cars with colours such as Funereal Black; Goose Grey; Silver Plate; Rusty Red; Naughty Navy Blue; Light-grayish yellowish brown (Beige); Ass Brown: Yellow Peril; Golden Glitter and Australian Greens.

    February 18th, 2020 at 8:56 pm