What Determines the Black Book Valuation of a Car?


Quick Answer

Black Book determines the value of a vehicle based on several factors, such as the age and condition of the vehicle. Black Book is a subscription service available to lenders, dealers and other industry professionals. It started in 1955 in Georgia with three dealers comparing notes and is published weekly.

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Full Answer

Black Book frequently visits physical and online auctions and compiles all the sales data from these sources to create average values for vehicles based upon their age, make and model. Comparisons and other relevant factors are applied to the most accurate sales information to reach a final assessment.

Mileage and condition are two of the most critical factors in the evaluation, and these two factors can greatly add or detract to its value. Customizations or accessories may also affect a vehicle's value. The Black Book value of a vehicle is typically not available to consumers, although Newcars.com uses it for its online evaluations. Dealers often quote the consumer-facing Blue Book value of a car, which is heavily based upon local data, when evaluating the cost of a sale or trade-in. Black Book also performs vehicle data and trending analyses, which allow vendors to determine what reasonable future costs for vehicles may be.

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