Vehicle colour choice- impacts on depreciation and visibility

Choosing a colour for your new car is one of the most exciting aspects of buying a vehicle. Everyone has a different method when choosing their car’s colour – do you pick your favourite colour, or be practical and choose a common shade?

This article focusses on the latter, as colour selection can actually affect your vehicle and safety in ways that may not be initially obvious.


Most people don’t often think about car colour in relation to a car’s depreciation, but choosing the right colour can add thousands to its resale price. While the car colours that depreciate the least depend on the make, model and interior trim, there are some basic rules to follow when picking a car colour that will be easy to resell.
The following table shows the five most popular car colours in the Asia pacific according to a survey conducted by leading paint supplier PPG Industries, and the car colours retained value over time:

Vehicle colour popularity & retained value

  % of cars bought in 2012 Retained value of car colour
1. White 23% 38%
2. Silver 23% 38%
3. Black 19% 40%
4. Natural 10% -
5. Red 8% 35%

Generally speaking, the inoffensive and consistently popular colours of white, black, grey or silver retain their value the most over time. On the contrary, the fad colour of the moment may seem like a great idea for your car now, but several years later when the colour is no longer popular you will have a difficult time selling it.

Visibility & Safety

Although it may seem slightly absurd at first, there is actually a relationship between car colour and safety. This is due to the visibility of certain car colours being less than others, therefore less visible cars are slightly more at risk of being involved in an accident.

Below shows the car colours with the highest relative risk (compared to white) at different times of day, from a 2007 study conducted at Monash University:

Vehicle colour vs. safety risk compared to white

Light condition Vehicle colour Percentage of higher risk
(when compared to white)
Daylight Black 12%
  Blue 7%
  Red 7%
  Silver 10%
Dawn or dusk Black 47%
  Silver 15%
  Red 2%
Dark Silver 8%
  Red 10%

White is the colour that is statistically the safest – hardly surprising considering that it is also the most visible on the road. Darker colours however, are the least visible during daylight – silver, blue, red and black are more likely to blend into the dark coloured roads. However the statistics do change when in different light conditions as shown by the data above.

Car colour from a fleet perspective

Fleet buyers generally still prefer the traditional car colours of white, silver and blue – often because it ensures consistent resale value, and matches a more traditional corporate identity. Standard vehicle colours, particularly white, are also popular for fleets as drivers are happy to drive a car in an inoffensive colour, and they are fairly easy to maintain and repair.

Final thoughts

Although we have laid out several reasons for you to choose a sensible colour for your car, ultimately you want something that you are going to be happy with in the long-term. These are simply points to consider when making your selection. At the end of the day, it is your new car and the colour choice should be one of those fun aspects of the vehicle purchase!

Did you know with a Fleetcare novated lease you can pick any car you like? click here to find out more. 

Do you always buy a certain coloured vehicle?

Have you had issues selling cars in particular colours or not being able to see certain coloured cars on the road?

Please comment below.

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