For years, car companies and banks kept car values close to their chest. The mysterious “blue book” gave dealers an edge when it came to price negotiations for used vehicles. Your friendly banker had the same info, but used it only to decide whether to lend you enough money to buy those prized wheels. The Internet changed all that.
In the U.S., Kelly’s Blue Book has been available for years, offering surfers the ability to check a car’s value in any Zip code in the country. Canadians did not have that opportunity. Until now. Canadian Black Book, the recognized institution for vehicle values for almost 50 years, has announced its own website for consumers that includes access to a "Trade-in Value" estimator, as well as some new tools and shopping advice.
Car buyers and tire kickers visiting www.canadianblackbook.com can learn the trade-in value, average asking price and future value of virtually every car and truck manufactured since 1997.
"It's an all new website designed to bring qualified consumers together with dealers," says Kathy Ward, president and CEO of the Canadian Black Book. The company claims data drawn from a variety of real-time transactional sources provides the public with the most accurate values available. However, our tests showed a 2000 Mustang GT coupe will draw the same price on Toronto’s Younge Street as Newfoundland’s Water Street. Still, it’s good info to have in any negotiation.
The website also offers classified ads for cars and trucks for dealer inventory, plus feature articles and automotive reviews by its own industry analysts and guest experts.
Industry analyst Dennis DesRosiers said, "The new Canadian Black Book website and the tools it offers is welcome news to consumers who often don't know where to turn for authoritative pricing for a trade-in, a new or used car purchase or a leased vehicle. Building on its roots as the ‘industry bible’ and an unbiased provider of car and truck values based upon its proprietary transactional data, this is the natural evolution of Canadian Black Book."
The new site is easy to use and loaded with information. Select your model and year, then options and trim packages. The engine that calculates the vehicle's value takes into account the actual kilometres, and similar vehicles for sale in the consumer's vicinity, then provides a low, medium and high value range in seconds.
DesRosiers says there is a boon for sellers in using this open information. "Dealers advertising their cars and trucks with this degree of transparency are making a clear statement about their ethics," he said. "The site's ability to generate a future value for literally every vehicle available in Canada also provides an invaluable tool in determining the total cost of ownership."
"This is something consumers have been asking for, for quite some time," Ward added. "We've created an excellent online resource to help consumers get answers and make smart vehicle purchasing decisions.
"The auto industry has been our business for 50 years. We can bring a balanced point of view to the consumer. With so many online classified sites and web resources out there, it's easy to feel overwhelmed and confused when it comes to car buying and value. It also serves dealers by delivering informed buyers to their showrooms."
Ward has worked at Canadian Black Book since her early teens and has become a prominent expert in the automotive valuing process. After assuming control of the firm from her father in 1996, she has grown the company into the go-to industry source for car values. Most widely known for its printed reference guides consulted by dealers, the Canadian Black Book continues to offer data solutions specifically for dealers but is now ready to turn its expertise toward helping the consumer better understand the industry.
"This is a bold example of how the Internet can be harnessed to the benefit of both buyers and sellers," says Larry Shred, executive vice-president of Canadian Black Book. "Our new website will fulfill the unique role as a community that brings together consumers and dealers in a transparent environment, with education and accurate values at its core. In the past you had owners thinking their trade-ins were worth way more than they were, and dealers who had the advantage of current market data."
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