What is a Blue Book Value?
Written by Lee Wyatt (last updated August 9, 2012)
Have you ever thought about purchasing, selling, or even trading a new or used car? If so, then chances are pretty good that you have at least heard the phrase blue book value. This little phrase has an unbelievably huge impact on what you can and can't get for a particular type of vehicle, and as such is one that you really should understand before you start the process of buying or selling a car.
- What is the value? Simply put, the "bluebook value" is the value of a certain car, truck, motorcycle, or other vehicle as reported by the Kelley Blue Book company. This book is published each year, and is widely considered the single most accurate book of its kind in the field.
- What is the Blue Book? The Kelley Blue Book company was first established back in 1918 as the Kelley Kar Company in Los Angeles, California, by Les Kelley. The first incarnations of the Kelley Blue Book were lists of the inventory that Les Kelley (the founder of Kelley Blue Book) had for his used car company. Within the a few years of these lists coming out, the banks and other dealers in the area came to trust and hold the values established in them. These lists weren't readily available to the public until 1926, and the company remained within the control of the Kelley family until 1980.
- How is the value determined? The exact method used to determine the value listed in the Blue Book is a closely guarded secret that the Kelley Blue Book company doesn't share. It is generally believed though that the value is pretty much an average compiled by visiting wholesale auctions, independent dealers, franchised dealers, rental companies, and other companies that like to sell vehicles. While at these places, agents for the Kelly Blue Book company make note of what each vehicle sells at. This information is compiled, and the resulting average is what is most often used.
- Differences in value. One of the things that help make the Kelly Blue Book so trusted and valuable a resource is that it offers some variants of the value for a specific vehicle. These variants are expressed in the book, and are usually listed by the type of extras or options that the vehicle has.
- Who uses the value? Just about anyone who has an interest in buying, selling, or trading cars has the Kelly Blue Book nearby. An example of this can easily be found in most credit unions, where they have a "car buying center," where the latest copy of this publication on hand.