In 2013, the Chevrolet SS sedan was released in what Chevy enthusiasts widely regarded as the best color that General Motors ever offered: Perfect Blue. To some, it was an understated hue that managed to stand out while still being tasteful. It was, well, perfect. Unfortunately, the general public disagreed, and the majority of SS cars that sold featured more traditional shades. Eventually, Perfect Blue disappeared from the menu of color options altogether, and surviving examples are incredibly hard to find, even just a few years after production stopped. However, a used Chevy SS in Perfect Blue now sells for up to $8,000 more than SS sedans in more common colors—and this isn’t an uncommon occurrence. 

The relationship between car color and resale value is not always clear from the start. The best selling colors worldwide are distinctly subdued. White, black, and silver are the most popular car colors; they sell well when new and maintain their value when resold. But sometimes, colors like red, blue, green, or bright yellow can command a higher value for the right customer. As such, the most important things dealers need to know about car color and resale value are their customers’ preferences and how to present their inventory to those customers.



Part of the reason white, black, and silver are so popular in new cars is that these colors do not typically compromise resale value. They’re safe bets. But more colorful used vehicles sometimes have a distinct and unpredictable advantage over their more low-key counterparts. 

In 2019, a CarMax survey of used car buyers found that yellow was the lowest selling color overall. However, the best selling car in the yellow car category was the Chevrolet Camaro, a muscular coupe that represents an investment in speed behind the wheel. It is also an investment that may pay off later, as yellow cars have an average resale value of 18.5 percent more than similar cars in their class later on. According to Phong Ly, CEO of

Yellow cars are relatively less common, which could drive up demand and help maintain their value. Our analysis shows that yellow vehicles have the lowest depreciation of any color for lower-volume cars like convertibles. Interestingly, yellow is also the color with the least depreciation for popular body styles like SUVs and pickup trucks.

Carmax’s survey tells a similar story, suggesting that color popularity and car type closely correspond; the best selling red car is the Mazda MX-5 Miata, the best selling orange car is the Hyundai Veloster hot hatchback, and the best selling blue car is the sporty Subaru WRX. Notably, these brighter colors tend to do better on the resale market than silver, which sells for an average of 2.6 percent less than the average resale price, and black, which sells for 1.6 percent less. White is the only one of the top sellers that holds its value, selling for 1.6 percent above the average resale price. 


The lesson for car dealers is that while safe and sober colors are dependable sellers, brighter colors that speak to specific buyers might be more rewarding overall—even if they take a bit more time and effort to find a buyer. With a wider online market, these more vivid shades can find their new owners more easily.


automotive marketing trends

One of the top automotive marketing trends in the past few years is dealers migrating more of their operations online. In 2020, this reached a new level as customers and employees sought to limit contact during the COVID-19 pandemic. The switch to online marketing and sales, however, had been underway for quite some time, with Cox’s Automotive’s annual studies finding that most car buyers start their shopping online and that they have done so since at least 2016

This can be a challenge to dealers, as customers can now browse the entire inventory of new and used vehicles in their area from the comfort of their own homes. They are no longer limited to what’s on any one particular lot, and they no longer have to settle for the car colors that happen to be available at their local dealership. Instead, they have access to a state, regional, and nationwide market that allows them to be more selective than ever before. But for forward-thinking dealerships, this is an opportunity.

With digital technology, dealers also have access to a nationwide market at all times. Whatever the color of a new or used vehicle in their inventory, there is someone likely to be looking for that exact shade. Being able to provide true-to-life color photos can help car shoppers find the specific hue they want and connect vehicles with the right buyers. This can significantly decrease the time that a vehicle spends loitering in inventory and helps dealerships get the best possible price for brighter colors that might otherwise be slow to move. 


Despite the undisputed importance of color, dealerships don’t always provide color correct images in their online listings. In fact, it’s common to encounter listings that do not show a photo at all or that shows a stock photo of the car in the wrong color. It can be a crushing disappointment for someone to find that the vehicle listed is black when the stock image was Perfect Blue. Alternatively, dealerships can miss opportunities if buyers are looking for a subdued hue but the only image shown is a bright, rare color. It is also worth considering that auto manufacturers offer several different shades of white, black, and silver, which means that these shades also benefit from true-to-life color stock images.

The reason car color often isn’t accurately represented,or represented at all, in car listings is that it takes some time for dealers to photograph cars. Color correct stock images can also be difficult for dealerships to find. But presenting customers with the wrong color or no color in a listing undermines customer confidence, and it is a missed opportunity for a dealership. When it comes to car color and resale value, including color correct stock images can help dealers maximize the visibility of their listings and optimize their profits. This is true even if listings include actual photos of the specific vehicle being sold, as such images often don’t capture true-to-life colors.


For dealerships, capitalizing on the relationship between car color and resale value means finding the most efficient way of putting true-to-life colors in front of interested customers. Stock libraries that specialize in automotive imaging can provide complete imaging solutions that include color correct photos of virtually any used model. Thanks to years of expertise and access to state-of-the-art technology, these databases contain all the assets needed to present each used vehicle in a way that speaks to car buyers and represents reality. But they can also help dealerships to sell new cars. 

Most new cars on a dealership lot will be the black, white, and silver vehicles that they know will sell. But including color correct stock photos the dealership’s website and other digital marketing channels allows dealers to present alternative options that are available for order. These images help dealers appeal to buyers with specific tastes without needing to bring potentially hard-to-move vehicles into their inventory.

With the right images, car dealerships can make the most of the opportunities made available by the digital marketplace and connect car buyers to the vehicles they want—no matter what the color.

EVOX Images leads the industry in automotive imaging and offers the largest library of virtual reality and augmented reality assets available for commercial use. Contact our team or call us at 310-605-1400 to learn more about our innovative imaging solutions.