How Colour Influences Your Car’s Value

Lance Branquinho / 3 September 2019

We don’t live in a monochrome world and one of the strongest initial product differentiators, is colour.

Everyone has their own personal colour bias, but could that favourite hue possibly be an incorrect choice when applied to your car?

The automotive realm offers an immense diversity of colours. Paint suppliers and automotive brands work together to produce unique shades and tones, in a bid to differentiate their models from rivals.

That diversity of choice is great, but if you want to order a colour for car which isn’t going to make it a struggle to sell in a few years, being conservative is best.

Car colour data for the South African market shows a clear pattern of popularity for more basic, plain colours. The most popular local car colour is white, accounting for 42% of new vehicle sales.

Why is white so popular? Well, South Africa remains a very dusty and dry country. Continuous public works and building projects generate a lot of dust to swirl around and cake your car, in both urban and rural areas. Due to its bland composition and lack of contrast, white doesn’t show up dust quite as much – making it a less burdensome car-care colour for any South African automotive customer.

The second most popular colour is silver, with 20% of new cars ordered with this finish. Following silver is the third most popular colour, grey, with 11% of new cars painted in this finish.

With more than 70% of all new cars being either white, silver or grey – the conclusion is simple: don’t buy a bright coloured car in South Africa.

Colours which are deeply unpopular in the local market are orange (1.4%), black (1.3%) and green (0.9%). Although these hues might appeal to your sense of colour awareness and style, they do carry an implied risk of making your car much more challenging to sell.

Outlandish colours also show up blemishes and dirt more distinctly than plainer paint finishes such as white or silver. Over time, even the best paint emulsions will fade in harsh South African sunlight, and this is another aspect of car colour choice where plainer is better: a white car doesn’t really fade, whilst an orange or green one will.

Are there instances where a colourful vehicle does have some merit? Yes. Brighter colour cars are more perceptible in traffic and at junctions, making them more visible and possibly reducing collision risk by a marginal percentage.

The rule with car colour choice is obvious and undeniable: keep it simple. If you desire to express your design literacy, wear an outrageously bright outfit whilst driving – but don’t go and order your new car in the manufacturer’s most radical (and rarest) colour. Because that might make it terribly difficult to sell three or five years from now.