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Main Dictionary B

Blue Book

Kelley Blue Book is a familiar and reliable guide for car prices in North America. It’s a manual that provides information and prices on new cars and used ones, and other motor vehicles of all brands, models and types. Car dealer Les Kelley pioneered the Blue Book in 1926 in Los Angeles. Before the 1990s, only members of the auto industry had access to the book. After that, book and online publications introduced it to the general public.

The Blue Book is a collection of current information with a market price range of what potential buyers would need to pay for a certain car based on brand, model, year and style. Also, the Blue Book contains an analysis of individual, trade-in, retail and certified pre-owned vehicle (CPOs) prices. The Blue Book helps car buyers determine the potential costs of owning a car, such as fuel, repairs, anticipated depreciation, maintenance and insurance. So, buyers can imagine the potential cost of car ownership in five years from the time of its purchase.

Motor vehicle insurance companies often use Blue Books as a benchmark to assess the market price of a car involved in an accident to determine if the car is repairable or if it should be written off as completely defective.

Nowadays, Blue Book price guides are published for several markets, covering motorcycles, travel trailers, campers, ATVs, snowmobiles and garages.

Tips for Using the Blue Book

If KBB is a main guide you use and follow, here are some tips below, which can be helpful.

Appeal to the definitions. In case of negotiating to purchase a used car from a selling private owner, show the seller the KBB definitions on the condition of the car, especially if you think the car is overpriced.

Discuss and arrange. The pricing policy of KBB usually leans in with dealers, which means that listed retail prices may be higher than other benchmarks. You can start with the guide retail price and negotiate a lower price.

Ask about sources. Keep in mind that insider guides such as Manheim or Black Book typically have lower wholesale prices, compared with KBB. You can show interest in the source of the price offer or wholesale price.

Take other guides into account. Pay attention to more websites or price guides besides KBB to get an "average" value for the car for trading, selling or planning to buy. You can take into account three major guides (NADA, and KBB), check and calculate an average price, because they apply different pricing algorithms.

Other sources and guides and Cox Automotive companies have purchased Kelley Blue Book. Besides this guide, there are other "blue books". For example, the Social Security Blue Book listing disabilities.

Furthermore, few other sources exist for car sellers and buyers. They can refer to get an idea of car prices. National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) and J.D. Manuals of Power, Consumer Reports offer consumers a wide range of information, presenting prices of new cars and used ones, and vehicle history reports. Such manuals contain one more important tool for people, who are planning to buy a car on credit. It's an auto credit calculator.

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