Theme : colour – The Lost Competitive Advantage

We’ve moaned about the dull uniformity of the world’s car parks. TTAC has some insight on the fact that opting for the boring colours is not helping you resell that car.

The Lancia Kappa: source
The Lancia Kappa: source

This is the link. “Silver and beige, the go-to colours of the 1990’s and 2000’s, have higher depreciation rates, but nothing is worse than gold. With an average depreciation of 33.9 percent, gold vehicles are dead last. Oddly, it’s the third-fastest-selling colour in the study, behind gray and black,” says the article. As it reports American data it does not say so much about black or mid-grey metallic. I imagine that a similar study would show that these colours aren’t helping protect value at this stage. There can’t be a competitive advantage to having a silver-grey or black Audi or Ford at this point. We must at this point be at peak monochrome. 

1997 Peugeot 406
1997 Peugeot 406: they really aren´t trying to sell this car, are they?

A few weeks ago I idly looked at what was for sale among the Peugeot 406’s of Europe. If I wanted such a car it would have to be a warm colour as in gold or rich beige. Out of about 300 cars I found one which fitted the bill. It’s not for sale anymore as I have gone looking for it now. It had a beige interior as well. Many people might not like it but it only has to sell once. I found another gold one on Autoscout – and, goodness, this seller is not making a lot of effort to exploit their car’s USP. There were 1200 other 406’s on sale and this is the only one that was listed as gold. All the dark blue, dark grey, black and silver cars are still there.

Which led me to think that if there is one advantage to buying new (there are more) it’s that you get to pick exactly the spec you like. It that means an idiosyncratic colour, the only person who has to worry about it is you. As it stands, a pleasant colour is almost a decided now for me. There are any number of plausible used cars I could opt for, technically, but very few in the kind of colour I might want to have.

Years ago I saw a green metallic 406 with a tan velour interior. That’s fetching I thought. And how many are there for sale? None. So, as long as it runs I’m sticking with my car which is painted exactly the shade of gold I like and I don’t care at all what anyone else says (a lot of people have complimented the colour so it’s not as if I have had to face a lot of brickbats).

Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

6 thoughts on “Theme : colour – The Lost Competitive Advantage”

  1. The market is flooded with boring coloured cars. Maybe there are more boring coloured cars than boring people, hence the difficulty in shifting them. But it probably depends on what you’re selling.

    If you have a lime green Ferrari GTO, a new owner might prefer red but, bearing in mind the several million you’re paying for it, a full strip and respray is peanuts. And, for the same reason, you don’t need to worry how much its resale value will be affected.

    If it’s a recent 6 series BMW in lime green, then you’ll have trouble because the executive market is pretty conservative, and it’s certainly not worth re-painting. And, even if you’re a lime green sort of person, recent 6 series aren’t really keepers, so it will be a devil to shift on again.

    If it’s a 10 year old Peugeot 207, there are lots of people who’re out browsing for something like that and, since it won’t be costing much anyway, there’s likely to be someone who thinks that lime green is fun. And they’re probably not thinking too much about resale value – unless they’re the person who wouldn’t look at my 18 year old 130,000 mile Audi unless it had full, dealer-stamped, service history.

  2. I like that Peugeot seller’s style.

    “If I got off my arse to walk downstairs to photograph it, do you really think that would make it any better? You know where I am. Give me a call. I’ll answer if I’m not busy watching TV.”

    Actually, I think that photo makes it look quite interesting.

  3. “Which led me to think that if there is one advantage to buying new (there are more) it´s that you get to pick exactly the spec you like. It that means an idiosyncratic colour, the only person who has to worry about it is you. ”

    In an ideal world, yes. Alas in most cases you’ll find that the exact combination of engine, transmission, body colour and trim you’re after cannot be ordered.

    1. “…it´s that you get to pick exactly the spec you like from that which is available”. I probably meant that. Yes, the days of odd combos are apparently past. What was the point of all that computerisation then? That said, BMW do offer some quirky colour and trim options. I just saw a 3 with what looked like crinkly wood on the dashboard. It was rippled. The badge on the wing indicated the trim was “Modern”.

    2. Indeed, there are some horrible crimes you can commit with the configurator, particularly the further upmarket you go. At Maserati level, there are some dire stitching and material options which, when I tried their configurator, seemed perfectly do-able. Maybe if I’d pressed ‘Confirm Order – PayPal or Credit Card’, a box would have told me I’d put in an illegal combination, but it seemed like anything went.

  4. Not everything can go on forever; there must be a time when the colour palette will shift. This cool and neutral period is into its fourth decade: it started around 1985, I think.

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