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    Southern California’s boring car colors resell poorly
    • July 3, 2023

    Buy yellow, sell black.

    That’s the suggestion of a study looking at used-car prices based on a vehicle’s color by iSeeCars. The used-car tracker compared this year’s pricing on 2020 vehicles vs. the original manufacturer’s suggested retail price to determine a depreciation rate.

    Personally, it irks me to see Southern California streets and parking lots filled with vehicles painted within the boring grayscale – black, white, gray and silver. The last four cars I bought were maroon, green, orange and, yes, white.

    So, it’s encouraging to see the car market sort of agrees with my colorful thinking. Predictable shades don’t resell as well as flashier hues, either locally or across the nation.

    Just look at the top of the iSeeCar’s color scorecard.

    Yellow vehicles were No.1 in Southern California for holding their value with an average depreciation rate of 15.4% over three years. Nationally it was 13.5%. Those dips in value are far smaller than depreciation rates for all cars – 20.5% locally and 22.5% in the U.S.

    “A color like yellow is particularly popular with coupe and convertible buyers, and you see plenty of those on the streets and highways of Southern California,” said Karl Brauer, iSeeCars executive analyst.

    Conversely, black was the worst performer of 13 colors tracked across Southern California with 22.4% depreciation. Black was third-worst in the U.S. at 23.9%.

    “Black is certainly common in Southern California, as any casual glance of the roads will confirm – but its high availability hurts it in the supply-versus-demand curve,” Brauer said. “I also think Southern California’s culture is even more friendly toward expressive colors vs. muted colors than the national average, further helping yellow, orange, and other bright tones.”

    Ponder that other grayscale colors fared only slightly better …

    No. 7 White: 20.1% depreciation locally vs. No. 6 nationally, at 21.9%.

    No. 8 Gray: 20.1% depreciation locally vs. the same ranking nationally, at 22.5%.

    No. 9 Silver: 20.5% depreciation locally vs. No. 10 nationally, at 23.2%.

    But not every offbeat color does well. Look at what resells as poorly as grayscale …

    No. 12 Purple: 22% depreciation locally vs. No. 9 nationally, at 22.7%.

    No. 11 Gold: 21.4% locally vs. No. 13 nationally, at 25.9%.

    No. 10 Brown: 21.3% locally vs. No. 12 nationally, at 24%.

    The top of the ranking, though, includes some bold colors …

    No. 2 Green: 18.2% depreciation locally vs. No. 4 nationally, at 19.2%.

    No. 3 Beige: 18.3% locally vs. No. 2 nationally, at 17.8%.

    No. 4 Red: 18.6% locally vs. No. 5 nationally, at 20.6%.

    No. 5 Orange: 19% locally vs. No. 3 nationally, at 18.4%.

    No. 6 Blue: 20.1% locally vs. No. 7 nationally, at 22%.

    Sadly, California’s reputation for exotic tastes in the car models doesn’t extend to the paint. Last year I noted that Golden State buyers are fairly boring when it comes to their car-color choices. OK, some might say they’re simply practical.

    A 2022 study by iSeeCars found only 17% of California autos were outside of grayscale colors, the lowest among the states and below the 22% U.S. share.

    Jonathan Lansner is the business columnist for the Southern California News Group. He can be reached at [email protected]

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    ​ Orange County Register