What is a car's black book value mean?

Written by william lynch
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What is a car's black book value mean?
Black Book determines a used car's value. (Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Daniel Cooper)

There are a number of means by which to determine the value of used cars. While the Kelley Blue Book was long the industry standard, the Black Book is now becoming the favourite choice among dealers and consumers alike.


The Black Book is a product of the National Auto Research Division of Hearst Business Media Corporation. It first came into use in 1955.


The Black Book's auto experts attend more than 50 vehicle auctions each week, visually inspecting the vehicles to record their condition, options, features, mileage and asking price. This information is then collected and analysed to determine an accurate wholesale value for any given vehicle.


The Black Book specialises in wholesale value, categorising vehicles by conditions such as Extra Clean, Clean, Average and Rough.


A vehicle's Black Book number is used to establish its market price and trade-in value. It helps to level the playing field for consumers, while still ensuring dealers receive a fair price.


Unlike other publications, the Black Book publishes its findings on a weekly basis, providing the most up-to-date information possible.


There are two versions of the Black Book. The dealer's Black Book value is lower than the Black Book value given to consumers. This is due to the dealer's reconditioning costs.

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