Kelley Blue Book has begun providing dealers and consumers used-vehicle values state by state.
The 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 state values. Previously, it reported values by five regions, says Juan Flores, Kelley'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 3 percent of all used vehicles are in excellent condition, and about 23 percent are in "very good" condition. "Very good" vehicles, in general, are valued about 1 to 2 percent lower than "excellent" vehicles.
Says Flores: "The introduction of 'very good' gives a more reasonable place for the dealer and the consumer to [meet] on the condition of the vehicle."