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Car Prices: How Much is My Auto Worth? Myths and Specifics


What’s my vehicle worthy of? What a question! I wish any time, 20 years in the automotive industry, there were a simple answer. One would believe that all the information available might make prices and beliefs easier to obtain. In fact, in lots of ways, the numbers are more not clear than ever.

The following e-mail discussion regarding retail car costs and trade-in values features the confusion and myths about automobile price and value.

This conversation happened between me/Ted, the seller, and Rich, the customer…

[Begin Email] [Ted]

Hi Wealthy…

Donna loves the 2006 Volvo. It’s a perfect suit!

Again retail value is actually: $23, 800

Here’s what Medway Imports can do:

2006 Volvo S40 Price…………. $18, 995

2001 Chevy Impala Trade-In Value……….. $4, 000

Many thanks, Rich!

Note: the Volvo is still under its manufacturer’s 4-Year 50 000-mile guarantee, free roadside aid… etc.


Hi Jim,

Thanks for the information. The Volvo is a great price, but is my Impala is worth $6 000-$7 000?

Kelly Blue Book details the private party price at approximately $7 995. I know that does not mean it can sell for that amount. Nonetheless, most of the ads I see reflect a range of $7 000 to $9 000.

Based on the list prices, I would guess that the actual sale price tag would be discounted by $1 000-$1, 500. That would indicate a reasonable expectation would place value at $6 000-$7 000.


You’re appropriate, Rich… $6 000-$7 000 is certainly a reasonable “retail value” for the Impala, but the study shows it’s only promoted for around $4 000.

Strangely enough, based on your math involving knocking $1, 000-$1, 700 off private party bluebook would put the 2006 Volvo at a “reasonable” price of $22, 800, as it retails intended for $23, 800 to $24, 500 depending on which origin you use.

The facts are, nonetheless, neither the Impala nor the Volvo will sell for those retail values–not in today’s market at any rate.


I can lease a great Infiniti, which would probably expense me less every month. Our partner leased any 2007 loaded Infiniti for 39 months (78 000 miles) for $558. 00 month. Cap reduction has been only $595. 00.

Now I’m guessing that I could lease the same car for 36 months with 36 000 a long way for no more than $400/month.

Could you possibly be also willing to give me $7 000 for my I b? rjan p? tv? tusentalet Impala.

I’d appreciate your opinions!


Hi Rich…

Your current guesses “might” be close up; however, this is a classic confusion surrounding trade-in values and the actual auto worth.

That $7 000 they will pay you is called a new “feel good” number. Vendors use it all the time and then setback you on the retail great deals end of your new car or truck.

In other words, as a dealer, No later than this, I gladly give you $7 000 for your Impala if you are willing to pay $22 800 if not more for the 2006 Volvo…. apparently, based on these numbers, a person would spend more.

It’s stunning when people make this mistake every day based on blue-book-type retail numbers.

For a useful discussion on car principles, check out the article on bluebook pricing @ They have been eye-opening!

The facts are, still, we as a retail vendor are not likely to get $22 800 for the Volvo even though the book says it’s sensible. Websites’ book values or vehicle ideals are guides based seriously on opinions and lasts. Go to seven different websites, and you’ll get seven diverse values.

If you’d like, I can allow you to get any used car you want with a great value like the Volvo… but I’d still just be able to pay $4 000 for the Impala.

Since we all don’t use manipulative “feel good” numbers to inflate the trade-in value by boosting the sale price of the Volvo, it appears as if we’re presenting too little for the Impala.

In general, the numbers are inactive. $4000 is a real variety!

Note… none of this is a sales page, but the straight deal for the “value” of the Impala inside the real world. This is not to say you couldn’t sell it for $7, 000, provided you want to do often the footwork–advertising, replacing the bald automobile, service and reconditioning the item, fixing the rear seat… and so forth.

In short, what makes up the associated car is incredibly complex and variable.

What I wouldn’t wish you to think is that it occurs to be being lowballed on the trade-in price. What is happening, and it’s winning a hot we’ll do business, is that you are increasingly being given a “real value” and a “fair value” to your Impala.

The short solution to all this is that you’re acquiring a square deal on both ends–even though it may not “feel” deal with it with the Impala.


Hi Ted, if I had to fund approximately $14 000 for that Volvo, my monthly payment could be around $430/month (3 yrs @ 7%). I think I may be more inclined to be able to lease a 2007 crammed Infiniti, which would probably fee me less every month.


Hi Rich…

Leasing has its positives; however, at the end of some years, the value of the Infiniti to your account would be $0. The residual associated with the 2006 Volvo S40 is $9625.

One of the important downsides of leasing is always that at the end of the lease… you may have NO equity.

I will not be misunderstood if you choose to lease or obtain somewhere else.
What I know and can do for you is get you great “value” for your dollars.

$18 995 for an auto priced at $4805 beneath a low value of $23, 300 is a great value.

A real price is $4 000 for an Impala that needs $1 000 or more in reconditioning.

In short, you won’t buy wholesale and expect you’ll trade in for retail.

Unexpectedly, the current wholesale price of often the Volvo is $19 000 to $20 000. Put simply; I couldn’t even acquire this car right now for $18 995.

Those are usually my thoughts.

I hope it will help in your decision-making process.

[End Email]

As you can tell from this dialogue, the perception and the actuality of used car prices are quite different. This article illustrates that pricing used cars have to be done in context. A human judgment number set by a site or book distorts the particular real-life values for the automobile buyer and the seller. These “values” make everyone distrustful, uneasy, and confused. The particular auto industry won’t need any more of this!

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