Coloured judgement - Will the colour of your car deter prospective buyers, asks HPI?

Article date: 9 October 2008

When it comes to choosing that next set of wheels, following fashion could cost car owners dearly, warns HPI's valuations experts. Although the fashion conscience driver could be tempted by the latest "in vogue" exterior bodywork shades, this could impact the value of the vehicle when the time comes to sell it. To keep sellers in the pink and to avoid leaving prospective buyers green around the gills, HPI offers some words of wisdom.

"The main problem for buyers is choosing a colour that suits the car, as this can be a very important factor in deciding how much value it will retain," explains Alan Senior, HPI's used car valuations expert. "Silver has become a favourite choice over recent years, however, this means it could be out of favour for those wanting something different. Too many of the same models in the same colour can lead to over-saturation in the market.

"As with clothes, black is probably the safest option, as it always seems to find a buyer no matter what make or model. The latest trend for white is in many ways similar to yellow or bright green; you either love or hate it, so take this into consideration. Some colours work well on sporty models, but are bad news on larger saloons or hatchbacks."

Colours that find buyers:

  • Black - classic, timeless colour that suits all types of vehicle
  • Silvers - second only to black, but there are too many cars around in the market in this colour. Champagne is a good alternative on premium models
  • Blues - metallic is a must, with bright hues working well on sporty/Gti models but are not good news on MPVs, hatchbacks and saloons, where medium to dark shades work better. Solid blues are okay on small hatch and sports models, but dark blue is a real no-no
  • Reds - Solid red is fine on small hatches and sports/Gti models, but go for metallics on saloons and MPVs
  • White - hailed as the new silver, but not nearly as universal. Suits sporty models and coupes, but has limited appeal on larger saloons and MPVs
  • Greens - go for brighter shades on small hatchbacks and sporty/Gti models, but steer clear on everything else
  • Yellows, purples and the rest - experiment at your own risk. Fine on small hatchbacks and sporty/Gti models, but hard to pull off on other models

Senior concludes: "Many car owners don't think about resale value when choosing the colour of their car. In our experience, the colour can have a huge impact on pulling buyers in, so we'd advise buyers to think carefully before making a statement in a cerise MPV."


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Margot Tomkinson, Dominic Dennis and Justine Hoadley at HSL 0208 977 9132.

Notes to editors:  

*About HPI Valuations
HPI's valuation service is offered in partnership with used vehicle experts Vehicle Information Publishing Ltd (VIP) who have provided current and forecast used values for cars and light commercials for over four years. As well as Fleets and Dealers, their customers include What Car? and Wisebuyers. VIP was founded by Martin Keighley and Alan Senior who together, spent more than 35 years working for CAP Motor Research. VIP launched the TraderGuide book in 2005 and then the PC application VIPDATA ( in 2007, providing values for over 30,000 vehicles.

Alan Senior
Alan Senior has spent 30 years dealing with used vehicle valuations from all aspects of the motor trade. He spent 17 years working for CAP Motor Research in various Editorial roles including Senior Editor for both the Black and Red Books. His broad knowledge of both the trade and consumer markets can only be gained from real hands on experience. His whole working life has been dedicated to the industry and there are very few people more experienced in these fields.

About HPI
Originally established in 1938, HPI Limited is a primary source of vehicle information for the UK motor industry and motoring consumer, which since August 2004 has been owned by Norwich Union. HPI encompasses both the HPI database of all UK road registered vehicle descriptions and histories, and the National Mileage Register which holds in excess of 125 million mileage readings.

Together, HPI and NMR represent the UK's largest vehicle information source, combining and interpreting data from government agencies, industry bodies, private organisations, the police and the general public. Registering with HPI helps companies to protect their financial interests in motor vehicles and a wide range of other mobile assets. HPI Checks give purchasers instant confirmation of whether vehicles are correctly described, known to be subject to outstanding finance or serious accident damage, or recorded as stolen or "clocked".

'HPI' and the HPI logo are registered trademarks of HPI Limited. 

(1) All prices include VAT and are correct as of 1 January 2006
(2) Mileage Data is not covered by The HPI Guarantee
(3) The HPI Guarantee is subject to terms and conditions

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