Car Buyers Can Face Hard Color Decision

Duck Egg Blue and Truffle Mica aren’t menu items. They’re paint hues found at auto dealerships.

Phil Marzolf

October 1, 2015

2 Min Read
Phil Marzolf
Phil Marzolf

Duck Egg Blue? Ford Freudian Gilt? Beluga Brown? Truffle Mica? These are real car colors. It seems like dealership customers, mine included, have an ever-new rainbow of automotive hues to choose from. The trends are ever-changing.

This makes it hard for customers to choose a color. Plus, few people know the various impacts a car color can have.  

One primary consideration when choosing a car color is resale. Annual DuPont studies say silver is the most popular car color by far. This means that, as long as trends don’t change, it will be more popular with potential used-car buyers.

Color can affect resale value by hundreds, even thousands of dollars. The impact on resale value and which colors have the most effect can change by car manufacturer. So, customers asking a dealer or doing their research can get a better understanding of any future concerns.

For resale, neutral colors such as silver, white, black and gray are generally safe bets. Color is such an important element of car buying that a study by the Yankelovich Partners found 39% of consumers were likely to change brands if they couldn't get the color they wanted.

Car thefts vary by color, according to statistics on which color car is less likely to be stolen. Thieves apparently prefer bright colors, such as orange.

How about safety? Some studies indicate white vehicles are about 10% less likely to be in a crash during daylight hours compared with vehicles of colors that stand out less, such as black, blue, gray, green, red and silver. Parents of teen drivers might want to take note: White might not be the flashiest of colors, but it may be a safe option.

Some cars are cooler than others, temperature wise. Dealers in hot-weather states such as Florida don’t sell many black-on black cars because dark colors soak in the heat.

In places like that and for reasons like that, white wins again, according to an Applied Energy report.

Then there are cosmetic considerations. Darker colors require more upkeep than lighter ones because of fading and chipping being more noticeable.

Finally, despite popular opinion, studies indicate a person driving a red car is not more likely to draw police attention and then get a speeding ticket. Nor do red cars boost insurance rates. Car-color choice may affect a lot of things, but not auto insurance.

When it comes down to it, as a dealer, I tell customers to choose a color they like most. They’ll own the car and make payments on it for years to come. So they should go with the color they’re most emotionally drawn to.

Phil Marzolf owns i25 Kia in Longmont, CO, in the metro Denver market. His store is one of the leading volume Kia dealerships in the state. 

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