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A Peek At The Blue Book's History

May 16, 2008
You may have referred to the Blue Book to identify a classic car's value or used its logo to sell your old car. Indeed, Blue Book has become an integral part of the automotive industry. Let's have a peek on how the Blue Book became the most trusted valuation company.

Kelley Blue Book is the largest and most popular automotive vehicle valuation company in the United States. The company started with car dealership in 1918. It was founded by Les Kelley with the help of his thirteen year old brother Buster. He started with three units of used Model T Fords.

For inventory purposes, he came up with a list of cars he wanted to acquire with specifications of the amount he was willing to pay for it. He distributed the list to different dealers and banks. Automotive stakeholders began to trust his judgment and took his price list as an accurate value of the cars. If one wanted to know how much an old car is worth, they would simply refer to his list.

In 1926, Les Kelley came up with the first Kelley Blue Book. It contains values of old cars. With its publication, the term blue book value became a popular term in the automotive community. But what is a blue book value? It is a term used to refer to how much a car is worth. In accounting, it is simply the market value of one's car. Because of the company's popularity, the terms used by the company became synonymous with car values. The term blue book value is still used up to the present. If a person wants to know the value of his car, he'd simply ask, "What is my car's blue book value?"

During the World War II, car prices skyrocketed. This led the government to put a ceiling on car prices and used the blue as a ceiling. Because of this, dealers must acquire a copy of the Blue Book.

Kelley has earned its reputation to be innovative in terms of selling car. Car dealership then was different form car dealership today. A purchase of an automobile before would include driving lessons. The company also ventured to insurance. The insurance was part of their package. They reinvented the car paints as well, instead of following the traditional black paint; they took a risk and painted a car pink. It paid of because it was sold almost instantly. This led to a number of pink cars driven down the street. The company also changed marketing strategies through time. They used media to advertise their cars. It started with a full page news paper ad followed by a fifteen minute long television ad.

Although the dealership business was successful, Les Kelley decided to sell it in the late 1950s and concentrated on the Blue Book together with his brother Buster and nephew Bob. The Blue Book became a trade publication. It has continued to evolve. It was the first reflect the effect of mileage with the car's value.

The company took advantage of the information age when Bob's son, Mike, joined the company in 1978. It has continued to innovate as the need arise. They were able to identify those needs and addressed them properly as well.
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