Used Car Valuation Controversy Looms: Guide Books Challenged by Retail Sales Data

usedcarsPotentially Controversial Situation Causing Stress & Confrontation
: Move over Used Car Guide Books, here comes retail sales data seeking inclusion into the vehicle valuation process.  The successful utilization and dealer market penetration of the inventory management systems have provided dealer used car management with  a capability to identify, find, and aggregate local market inventory and sales data about every vehicle of a given make, model, or age within a radius of their dealerships.

Dealers, Funders, & Inventory Systems are asking:  Is it time to integrate aggregated retail used vehicle data in a given market into the Used Car Guide Books?

Dealers Now Know What’s coming “In” & Going “Out” in their Local Retail Markets:  As the massive data on local market retail sales is being stored, mined, and sliced, not only do dealers have an almost total view of their local competitive used car market , they “know” pretty much where specific types or what makes of vehicle are at what dealerships and what comparable vehicles to those they have on their lots are being priced, how long they have been there and what they sold for when retailed off the lot.  Or they know what is coming “into” their market place and what is going “out” by retail sales or being sold retail or even sent to and wholesaled at auction if the vehicle did not “move” within a given time frame.

So What is happening with UC Sales Data?  Leaders and pioneers in the new vehicle remarketing and the development of used vehicle inventory management systems are beginning to see, realize, and react to a comparison of the data banks of used vehicle sales data derived from their retail dealer clients and the values being reflected in the industry used vehicle value guides, both wholesale and retail..

“Whole Lot a Shaking Going On” — Called Transformation: There is an increasing interest on the part of such respected used vehicle market gurus as Dale Pollak of vAuto, in sorting out a way to integrate, mingle and migrate this retail data which in many cases provide a kind of wholesale value benchmarking for vehicle being stored,  managed and processed by a given vehicle inventory management system.

See and listen to what Dale Pollak says in this video interview about a fundamental transformation in the used vehicle market regarding the process being utilized in the algorithms and data by the UC Guide Books.

Sparks Fly as “Fit Begins to Hit the Shan:” The reaction from and by some of the used vehicle value guide books have been somewhat of a pushback or an out and out confrontation.  Specifically, the exchange between Dale Pollak, vAuto,  and Mike Stanton, VP of NADA UCG, at the recent AFSA panel in Orlando on Feb 8th when Dale apparently suggested that the “Books” were not all the accurate in reflecting current values of vehicles in a given market or region.  To gain backstory and a briefing on what came down, see the linked and articulate reporting from Dave Ruggles from Wards recent Enewsletter issue at

“Love My UC Guide Book:” Used car guide books have visibility, credibility and respectability.  No question that the major used vehicle guide books have been visible and seemingly reliable in their print books,  on the Internet, and now in on cell phones in the auction lanes and show room floors. And in many cases, their “numbers” have been gospel and largely unchallenged.  The evolution, application, and utilization of vehicle inventory management systems by virtually all dealers have given companies like vAuto,  FirstLook,  and DealerTrack the opportunity to not only aggregate,  track and analyze tons of UC sales data but have given them real-time, and on the ground UC values based on hard and documented sales results of literally millions of vehicles.

“Show Me the Numbers” — Transparency is Here and Now: Henceforth, all UC Guides, Systems and Data Gathering companies must be totally open and transparent from beginning to end. And this transparency in data acquisition of sales transactions has given the dealer’s used vehicle operations a need to challenge if not demand that the used vehicle guide books be transparent or tell all, particularly retailing dealers, exactly how they come up with UC values hour to hour, day to day, and book to book. This kind of need or demand is unprecedented in the past when the book gathered used vehicle sales info by Black Book in the lanes or in dealer meeting like Bob and Buster Kelley once did.  Jokes about  the retail or wholesale vehicle valuation process being so secretive like the Colonel’s Kentucky Fried Chicken Secret Sauce or Coke’s formula in the bottling plant went on for years.

Big Data Gives Power and Opportunity for Big Ideas from Big Thinkers:  The day may be here or coming round the corner when we have as many as 50 used vehicle markets based on aggregated, curated, and reports of combined retail, wholesale, and even private sales data about a specific market.  Or that the systems, technology, and Internet platform are in place and ready to go. So here we go. All we need are some visionaries and leadership to make the used car retail and wholesale market data more trustworthy, credible, and available right now anywhere, anytime. And to anyone.

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