If you’re sitting near a parking lot right now, I invite you to look around and take in the colors. Something tells me that you’re sitting in a sea of monochrome: black, gray, silver, and white (which isn’t actually a color). Am I right?
Recently, a study by I See Cars analyzed the most popular car colors for Model Year 2023 vehicles and found that monochromatic colors made up a staggering 78.9% of the market. Just let that sink in. Four out of every five cars on the road are some form of white, black, gray, or silver. How absolutely mundane.
Those one-in-five cars with a splash of color, however, are a sight for sore eyes. Blue is the most popular non-grayscale color, flip-flopping its place with red, which was the most popular non-gray color in 2018. Next after a steep drop-off is green, which makes up one out of every 100 cars on the road. A few other colors are sprinkled as the color concentration gets lower until you hit the least popular color for 2023: yellow.
Most Popular Car Colors
|Rank||Color – 2023||Market Share – 2023||Color – 2018||Market Share – 2018|
Yellow has never really been a popular color for cars, despite there being some great choices over the years, like Ford’s Tangerine Scream. Neither has purple (a stat coming directly for Dodge’s Plum Crazy). Those have taken the bottom, or close to it, consistently, along with gold and beige.
Despite this, cars in unpopular colors appear to have held their value better than the 50-some shades of gray on the market. Out of left field comes beige, which, despite being its own special kind of hell, ranks as having the highest change in average vehicle price since 2018. The study reveals that the average price of a beige-colored car has more than doubled from $18,890 in 2018 to $38,001 in 2023.
It’s unclear if this is due to pandemic pricing driving up the cost of vehicles, or if people are simply valuing the price of these everyday drivers more than they were in the past. It should be said that relatively flat, earthy colors seem to have been enjoying a renaissance in recent years, anecdotally speaking, and beige could perhaps be benefitting from that trend.
“With regard to beige, we’ve seen the same story with economy cars,” said iSeeCars Executive Analyst, Karl Brauer. “Cars that weren’t as desirable before the pandemic have been swept along with the price increases impacting the entire used car market. That means vehicles with relatively low prices in 2018 have, as a percentage of their previous price, gone up the most. This includes previously unremarkable beige cars, which are now much more valuable simply because they are part of today’s massively elevated used car market.”
Change in Average Price by Car Color
|Rank||Color||Average Price – 2023||Average Price – 2018||% Change|
We might not be damned into a neutral-toned purgatory forever, though. Earlier this year, General Motors’ Director of Global Color, Jennifer Widrick, told the world that her team was recently tasked with forecasting the most popular car colors over the next five years—and they believe that there’s about to be a color renaissance in the auto industry.
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