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What are the Rarest Exterior Paint Colors for Cars?

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2019 Nissan Kicks
This Nissan Kicks sports one of the rarest colors on the road
Photo: Nissan

White, silver, and black vehicles are common sights on our roadways. However, there’s a whole spectrum of paint colors we rarely see. Here, we’ll take a look at some of the rarest car colors, and speculate about a few reasons that subdued hues rule the road.

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Uncommon colors

2020 Nissan Roox
Purple vehicles accounted for about 0.1 percent of models in the study
Photo: Nissan

According to an iSeeCars study of 9.4 million used vehicles sold in 2019, green, beige, orange, gold, yellow, and purple were the rarest exterior paint colors. Each one accounted for less than 1 percent of the vehicles in the study.

On the other hand, grayscale vehicles, which include white, gray, silver, and black models, made up 77.1 percent of the cars examined. Outside of those colors, red and blue were the most common, clocking in at 10.3 and 9.0 percent, respectively.

In terms of geographical location, Vermont, West Virginia, Wyoming, Montana, and South Dakota boasted the most variety in car colors. Used car buyers in Hawaii and California, on the other hand, preferred to stick with muted paint jobs.

The study notes that car color plays a slight role in its depreciation. If you pick a rare color, your vehicle won’t suffer as much depreciation. That’s because the color’s scarcity lends to its value, explains iSeeCars CEO Phong Ly. On the other hand, cars with common paint jobs tend to experience a typical amount of depreciation.

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What prompts people to pick colors?

2020 Nissan LEAF
Drivers flock to grayscale and neutral shades
Photo: Nissan

There are a few factors that play into our car color choices. First, cars with neutral colors can be low maintenance. They don’t readily show dust, dirt, and scratches. It’s also easier to spot scrapes on a brightly colored model.

Phong Ly suggests that America’s love of grayscale cars may be related to our love of technology. Most mobile devices boast sleek black, white, or silver exteriors, and our taste in vehicles may be an extension of that aesthetic.