Red. Blue. Yellow. Find Out Which Used Car Colors Will Sell Out and Which Will Sit on the Lot.

Managing the colors of the cars on your lot could increase sales.

Color could help you optimize your preowned vehicle inventory.

Want to gain better control over your dealership’s used car inventory? Most dealers are looking for every possible edge to beat the competition these days.


Believe it or not, the color of the cars you purchase and sell could have an impact on your cash flow and the efficiency of your operation. A recent analysis of 2.1 million used cars that sold over the last four years found that certain color vehicles sell faster than others. Other cars command premium prices because of their color and the demand for it. If you consider these factors together, you could be able to better control your inventory so you can sell used cars quickly at premium prices.


According to the study, the average three year old preowned car takes almost 37 days to sell. Surprisingly, purple cars sell the fastest in just 33 days. Basic beige cars can take 47 days, on average, to move off the lot.


Here’s how long it typically takes to sell different color preowned cars:


  • Purple: 33.2 days
  • Gray: 34.2 days
  • Gold: 34.3 days
  • White: 35.0 days
  • Brown: 35.3 days
  • Black: 36.0 days
  • Green: 36.2 days
  • Average car: 36.5 days
  • Blue: 36.8 days
  • Orange: 38.1 days
  • Silver: 38.8 days
  • Red: 40.9 days
  • Yellow: 41.5 days
  • Beige: 46.6 days.


The other factor covered by the study that could impact your used car inventory decisions is the average three year depreciation of different color cars, which is 33.1 percent. That can range from as little as 27.0 percent for yellow cars to as much as 37.1 percent for gold ones. A lower depreciation rate indicates a higher retained value and could be an indicator of demand.


Here is the average depreciation for different car colors, from lowest to highest.


  • Yellow: 27.0 percent depreciation
  • Orange: 30.6 percent
  • Green: 30.9 percent
  • White: 32.6 percent
  • Red: 32.7 percent
  • Average car: 33.1 percent
  • Blue: 33.5 percent
  • Brown: 33.5 percent
  • Grey: 33.5 percent
  • Black: 33.6 percent
  • Silver: 34.0 percent
  • Beige: 36.6 percent
  • Purple: 36.7 percent
  • Gold: 37.1 percent.


Yellow cars are less common than most other colors. They also have a relatively high level of demand. This is why they retain their value more than any other color car. This is true across all types of vehicles including sports cars, which would be expected. It’s also the case with unexpected ones like SUVs and trucks. The average SUV loses 30.9 percent of its value in three years, but only 20.9 percent for yellow ones. When it comes to pick-up trucks, they typically lose 25.8 percent of their value in three years, but yellow ones only 10.8 percent. This means yellow SUVs and trucks could be more desirable to customers, and profitable for your business, than other color ones. They could give you more control over pricing.


You do have to couple this with the fact that they take five days longer to sell than the average used car, likely because even though there is demand for yellow cars, it may take a little extra time to find the right customers for them. That means you probably want to keep some yellow vehicles on your lot, but not too many to exceed demand.


If you look at the top three color vehicles in terms of retaining value, yellow, orange and green, they only make up 1.2 percent of all three year old cars. However, rarity is not the only factor that impacts value. The worst three colors for depreciation, beige, purple and gold, make up only 0.7 percent of three year old inventory. When you couple this with the fact that beige and gold vehicles take longest of all cars to sell (purple fly off the lot fast), you probably don’t want too many beige and gold vehicles on your lot. The profit margin may not be as high as other cars, and you could be sitting on them for a while.


The most popular used car colors by volume for three year old models, and for most years, are white, black and gray. They enjoy average depreciation levels which will allow you some room for negotiation when you buy and sell them. However, of the three, only gray has high demand from used car buyers. You should consider this when planning your inventory. Too many black and white cars could end up hanging out on your lot for a long time. Because there are so many available, buyers are able — and likely — to shop around, which could limit the profits you earn on them.


Of course you have to consider many factors when buying and selling used cars and managing your dealership’s inventory. However, one that’s often missed is color. If you’re trying to maximize the number of cars you sell at optimal prices, you might want to consider color as one of them. You owe it to yourself to take time to find the right color mix of vehicles to optimize your overall sales.




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