NADA Guide Vs. Kelley Blue Book Value


Now more than ever, with the giant fluctuations that the used car market in 2011 has seen, do we rely on car price appraisal systems such as NADA and Kelley Blue Book. When it comes to determining vehicle values, whether used or new, the average consumer does not know where to start, and is dependent upon one or the other of these value determining guides. Often times, the same car with the same specs and features can be put into both systems, and there will be slightly differing values given. This article seeks to look at both the NADA guide and Kelley Blue Book value, in an effort to discern just what the differences are, and which is recommended for different situations where an appraisal of value is needed.

Before we discuss the differences between using NADA guide and Kelley Blue Book, let us examine the similarities between the two. For starters, the two are great guides for looking up book values for thousands of different used cars, trucks, minivans, and even other more obscure types of vehicular transportation. Neither guides are useful for obtaining values for older collector’s vehicles, as their values are too difficult to track and not a part of what the guides want to represent.

As far as similarities between NADA guide and Kelley Blue Book, most people are surprised to know that the two were in fact created (around the same era of the mid-1930s) primarily with car dealers in mind. Kelley Blue Book was created by a car dealer himself, and began as a list that his dealership used to keep track of the values of his own vehicle inventory. His inventory expanded so greatly and so quickly, that he had a very long list of values, which he in turn provided to other car dealers.


On the other hand, NADA (which actually is an acronym that represents the National Automobile Dealers Association), was founded to assist dealers in lowering the amount of taxes paid out on the sales of motor vehicles. They eventually began publishing lists, and once dealers saw how extensively detailed the lists were, and much of an aid they became, the NADA guide became incredibly popular.

As a result of the two company’s differing principles in foundation, they use different algorithms to calculate vehicle valuations. KBB places more emphasis on the vehicle itself, factoring in the specs, what sort of shape the vehicle is in, miles on the car, and how much the car is sought after. NADA, on the other hand, tends to place more value in the overall used car market, taking a good look at what dealers are paying wholesale, and what sort of demand is on the vehicle or vehicles in its class in the current market. Some would say that NADA is a bit more “real-time”, as the wholesale market is affected before the retail market is, especially by things such as current gas prices, availability of parts, and so on.

So, there are some basics on NADA Guide Vs. Kelley Blue Book Value systems. As you can see, both have positive aspects that make them worth using when determining the value of a car, truck, or minivan. While most people prefer Kelley Blue Book, and the dealers stick with NADA, we advise that any savvy customer take the time to check both guides, as it gives them more than enough knowledge and understanding of the car’s worth, before going in to a sales environment.

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