Question: I want to buy a car; which color is the best?
Answer: Car colors have come a long way since monochrome-minded auto titan Henry Ford noted that consumers could have Model T’s in any color they wanted as long as it was black. Today, we enjoy a palette as varied as a Lady Gaga outfitt, ranging from Audi’s Beluga Brown to Kia’s Vanilla Shake. The selection is just Plum Crazy.
Of course, what’s considered the “best” car color will vary from person to person. But it’s easy to figure out the most popular, said Nancy Lockhart, color-marketing manager for Axalta Coating Systems, a leading vehicle-coatings company.
“White has been the most popular color worldwide since 2011, and since 2007 in North America,” she said. In 2014, 29 percent of cars built worldwide were white, 19 percent black, and 14 percent silver, she said. In fact, an Axalta car-color-popularity report reveals that during the past 60 years, white has been a top-five finisher in all but three years.
Warm climates could influence a customer’s color choice because lighter vehicles retain less heat, said Lockhart, adding, almost two-thirds of cars sold in Africa in 2014 were white or silver.
But one color all consumers care about is green. A 2014 report compiled by used-car-website iseecars.com contained a big surprise: Cars that are yellow – an unpopular color – depreciate only 26 percent after five years, compared to an average of nearly 34 percent for all other cars included in the analysis.
The study, which analyzed more than 20 million used car sales, model years 1981 to 2010, found black cars, – one of the most popular colors – depreciate the most after five years. A yellow car that originally sells for $20,000 could be worth about $1,500 more after five years than the same car painted black. The explanation? Yellow cars are rare, so under the law of supply and demand, they fetch a higher price.
It’s worth noting, though, that the color you select may serve as aRorschach test of sorts, says Marcie Cooperman, color-theory expert and professor at the Parsons The New School of Design. “The color you pick often mirrors your personality,” she said. “Some people, for example, choose charcoal gray because they don’t want to stand out. Black is generally a power color, it says you’ve made it. And red is an explosive, look-at-me color.”