The Kelley Blue Book was founded in 1926 by California car dealer Les Kelley to help fellow car dealers assess the value of used cars. New cars were added to the book in 1966. The prices listed in the “trade” edition of the book — published for the auto industry only — indicate the value of vehicles that have been reconditioned to manufacturer specifications, safety checked, and warranted by the dealer.
The Wholesale listing refers to the base price for a reconditioned vehicle. The Retail value refers to the estimated dealer asking price for that vehicle, and is often used as a starting point for negotiations with a buyer. Many consumers mistakenly believe that the Wholesale value is the price they can expect to receive when they trade in a vehicle.
However, when you trade in a car, the dealer still has to absorb the cost of readying the vehicle for sale, advertising, sales commission, etc. Therefore, you're unlikely to receive wholesale value. Rather, trade-in values are based on Actual Cash Value (ACV), the price that the car could be expected to bring at auction. ACV is market-driven and varies depending on the demand for that particular make and model at a given time.
In 1993, Kelley began publishing a consumer version of the Blue Book. The consumer version lists Trade-in value — what you can expect to be offered by a dealer when trading in a used vehicle; and Retail value — the asking price you can expect from a dealer. Wescom finances up to 100% of Retail value plus tax, license, and MBI. To find out the Kelley Blue Book value of a vehicle, click here or call 1-888-4WESCOM (1-888-493-7266).