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Black Book Car Values - Review of Black Book Car Values - Where did Black Book Come From?

prices dealers trade people

When it comes to trading in your car or even just buying a used car without a trade-in, many people assume that the more resources they check for information, the better deal they will get. This assumption holds true in most situations, but the whole reason people are so wary of trading in a car is because car dealers and car salesmen have plenty of tricks at their disposal and will use every one of them, layer upon layer, to make the most profit they can on the unsuspecting buy.

One resource many people assume will help them get a good deal on their trade-in is the Black Book car values guide. Black Book is known as a highly reputable source of second hand car prices. They reported use a formula that is extremely accurate in discovering the true value of a car. The company currently has several products, including a print car prices guide, internet database of prices, and a daily updater tool for the latest and greatest prices. Given all this, Black Book seems like a great source of knowledge to get a good deal on a trade-in, especially if that trade-in is going for another used car, but does Black Book really deliver as promised?

Where did Black Book Come From?

Black Book originated in 1955 by three auto dealers in Gainesville, Georgia. In order to help them make better decisions on future purchases, they began tracking the prices of every car sold at auction. Soon, word spread and all the dealers were asking them about their “cheat sheets.” Being savvy businessmen, the group saw an opportunity and they began publishing their reports on a weekly basis. The publication spread like wildfire and within three years it was available nationwide.

Today, Black Book claims to use many of the same techniques they used at the beginning. They have representatives that attend more than 50 auctions per week gathering information for the car prices guide. They have also expanded by offering Black Book car values on new cars and motorcycles as well.

Do Black Book Car Values Stand Up?

The people at Black Book are expert businessmen. There is no doubt about that. This same quality that made Black Book car values so popular is the same force that prevents them from being trusted. As it turns out, Black Book is playing both sides of the fence. Black Book publishes two separate versions of their second hand car prices: one for consumers and another available only to dealers. To make matters more confusing, the regular consumer version of the Black Book contains three values: wholesale, trade-in, and retail. However, the wholesale price in your Black Book is not the same as the wholesale price in the dealer’s Black Book. This is justified by the auto dealers as being necessary to cover reconditioning costs.

The other factor that reduces the value of Black Book is that their listings are unavailable without a subscription, and for a subscription that includes the annual publication and weekly updates costs $298 per year. This is a steep price considering that Kelley’s Blue Book and the NADA car prices guide are both available online free and are just as reliable as the Black Book. Unless you have some need to know the values of used cars on a weekly basis, the Black Book cannot be recommended. The average consumer is better off with Kelley’s and NADA.

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