One of the fun things about buying a new car is choosing a colour. But some buyers forget they’ll have to live with it for three or four years. And when the time comes to sell, potential buyers may not share your taste.

ACCORDING TO A RECENT SURVEY, Australian car buyers are among the most conservative when it comes to choosing a colour. Sampling more than 9000 new car purchases in 2013 (remembering that we bought more than 1.1 million cars) an online car buying service found that 21% of new cars sold were white.

A quick glance around you on the road will prove this correct: an overwhelming number of cars are white (especially if you include government and suppliers such as power companies) with grey a close second (18%) and black and silver on 17% each. It’s even worse in the US where 70% of new cars are white, black, silver or grey.

The survey found that only 27% of buyers went for “vibrant” colours. Older readers may remember the 1970s when Holden Toranas, Ford Falcons and Valiant Chargers could be had in an eye-straining range of outrageous colours, including “Peel me a Grape” purple, “The Lone Oranger” orange and various shades of bilious greens and turquoise. What were they thinking?

Obviously car colour choice is influenced by the prevailing fashion and social trends. Apparently cheaper cars are more often optioned with bold and bright colours (think Fiat 500, Barina, Suzuki Swift and the like). But when buyers are looking at spending larger sums, they scuttle back to safe colours.

But there are some practical factors you should take into account when making your colour choice. White and lighter shades are much better at reflecting heat, whereas darker shades tend to absorb it. White and other light colours are also safer because they are more visible – I have often chosen a bright yellow for some of my cars (especially smaller cars) because it stands out and will be seen by other motorists.

If you need a final argument for choosing a sober, conservative hue, keep in mind that fashion trends change. What looks bang up-to-date today in three years may well look as dated as 27-inch flared trousers and a nylon paisley body shirt.

By all means indulge your inner creativity. Just don’t expect buyers to share your taste when the time comes to sell or trade your purple VE ute or bright orange FG Falcon.


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