Kelley Blue Book has begun providing dealers and consumers with used-vehicle values on a state-by-state basis.
The guidebook company also added "very good" as a used-vehicle condition category, between "excellent" and "good," to help dealers and consumers agree on trade-in values.
On Oct. 28, Kelley Blue Book began reporting values specific to all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Previously, it reported values by five regions, says Juan Flores, Kelley Blue Book's director of vehicle valuation.
Flores says some vehicle values varied by as little as $100 or $200 from one state to another within Kelley Blue Book's previous regions. That may not sound like much, but the difference adds up for dealers who buy hundreds of used cars and trucks a year and for financial institutions managing portfolios of thousands of vehicles.
Kelley Blue Book also incorporated the more specific information into the retail values it makes available to consumers on kbb.com.
"The automotive industry is moving toward more transparency and more accuracy and we're following suit," Flores says.
He says Kelley Blue Book's new valuation method gives the auto industry a more accurate value picture. For example, the values of full-sized trucks generally are higher in Michigan than in states such as Pennsylvania, Maine and Rhode Island. All four states were in the same region. As a result, the premium for full-sized trucks in Michigan was slightly muted by the other states, Flores says.
Kelley Blue Book has added "very good" as a vehicle condition category, because the guidebook company learned from its retail site that many consumers believe their vehicle's condition exceeds "good," even if it isn't "excellent."
Flores says about three percent of all used vehicles in the market are in excellent condition, while about 23 percent of used vehicles are in "very good" condition. "Very good" vehicles, in general, are valued about 1 to 2 percent lower than "excellent" vehicles.
"The introduction of 'very good' gives a more reasonable place for the dealer and the consumer to [meet] on the condition of the vehicle during the trade-in process," Flores says. "It eliminates some of the tension between the consumer and the dealer."