Company Car

Your Independent source of fleet news, reviews & interviews

BCA CCT Knowledge Logo

Picking the wrong colour can ruin your residual value. Here’s how to avoid the air turning blue at defleet time

Colour has always had an important role in ensuring cars coming off fleets find homes quickly. Only three colours have topped the new car colour choice chart this century – black, white and silver, with black regaining the top spot last year after four years of playing second fiddle to white, which slipped to third behind grey in 2017. Between 2009 and 2012, black had ruled the roost.

In 2017, 59% of new cars were black, grey or white; add in blue, red and silver and you cover 94.9% of the market, according to figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

Outside of the top six, just 1.1% of new cars last year were green – 26,834 cars versus more than the 250,000 red ones one place higher in the chart, while orange, bronze and yellow rounded out the top 10.

“With colours, the advice from Glass’s editors would be to stay safe and choose a sensible option, preferably a metallic such as silver, grey, blue, black or even a deep red,” said Glass’s’ head of content Anthony Machin.” Additionally, the trend over the past few years has shown that whites in many cases continue to be very popular.

“However, Glass’s suggests avoiding solid dark blue, known in the trade by a multitude of names such as “doom-blue”, “nightmare-blue” and “90-day blue”, relating to the fact that they will take much longer to sell in the used market,” Machin continues.

“The safe colours are generally the greys, silvers, blacks, blues and whites”, said Machin. “Manufacturers offer wider standard paint palettes with colours including bright greens, yellows and brown – these colours prove to be divisive in the used market and sometimes come with negative connotations. For example, in the UK some people refer to green being unlucky.”


1.Ford FiestaBlue
2.Volkswagen GolfGrey
3.Ford FocusBlue
4.Nissan QashqaiBlack
5.Vauxhall CorsaGrey
6.Vauxhall AstraBlack
7.Volkswagen PoloBlack
8.Mini HatchGrey
9.Mercedes-Benz C-ClassBlack
10.Mercedes-Benz A-ClassBlack

Source: BCA


Historically, it’s always been assumed that metallic paint is worth a premium over base colours. Although technically still true, the difference is actually more of a penalty for non-metallic rather than the optional paint being worth a valuation boost, says Anthony Machin, head of content for valuations expert Glass’s.

“In reality, there is no longer a premium for metallic colours; it is probably the other way round,” Machin tells Company Car Today. “Having a solid colour usually makes the car harder to sell in the used market, which potentially has a negative effect on the residual value. Metallic paint has almost become the norm now.”



BCA Managing Director UK Remarketing, Stuart Pearson offers five tips on what the marker looks for with colour choice

Stuart-Pearson - MD - BCA UK Remarketing

Stuart Pearson – MD – BCA UK Remarketing

 1. Don’t limit your car’s appeal

Professional buyers at auction know that colour is important to motorists and will focus their attention on those cars offering the best combination of colour, condition, age, mileage and specification. The message for fleet managers is to choose a colour scheme that will attract the most buyers.


2. The blues aren’t a bad thing

We see larger volumes of metallic blues, greys and silvers in the remarketing arena. These subtle colours work well on bigger saloons, estates and coupes, with an understated elegance that appeals to used buyers and makes an attractive package when combined with a good specification. Flat, dull, non-metallic paint schemes should be avoided where possible.


3. Black is wheelie good

Black or white finishes in metallic or premium paints create a lot of interest with buyers, particularly when matched with the right exterior packs and wheels.  Black wheels are proving popular.


4. Being bright can be clever

There are a lot of brighter blue schemes hitting the market, and these are popular because the vehicles really stand out.  Retail dealers look for variety for their forecourts. It’s a similar message for high-value luxury and prestige cars. However, two-tone finishes have made a resurgence recently.”


5. Performance and sustainability don’t have to mix

On higher-performance and sports cars, there is generally less subtlety involved – bright red, luminous green or canary yellow schemes make sense. Brighter colours also work well on smaller hatchbacks and city cars.  Limited editions with overly fussy patterns tend to date the quickest and should be avoided where possible.”