exclusive customer helpline has helped thousands of readers with
questions about pricing, content, and just plain general information
and advice. To help all our readers, we've assembled some of the more
commonly asked questions below.
Where do you get your
VMR's pricing data is compiled from several different sources.
Auction results, our exclusive Value-TrackŪ database, actual sale
reports from our helpline, government data, and new car inventory
levels and incentives are included in our pricing model.
Why do your values
differ from the guide the dealer has?
VMR compiles actual market data. Our guides publish numbers
the way they really are, not how some guide thinks they should be.
Dealer guides such as NADA (which is published by the National
Automobile Dealers Association - hardly an unbiased source) and Kelly
Blue Book, in our view often overstate the true market value of many
vehicles, sometimes substantially. This is precisely the reason dealers
use these guides - they lend credibility to inflated prices. Both
publish different versions of their guide with different prices - one
for consumers, one for dealer showrooms, and a wholesale guide for a
dealer's car buying purposes. There's only one market,
containing a wholesale level and a retail level. Why publish
different versions? Ask yourself this: If these guides benefit
dealers, where does that leave you?
Why don't some guides publish wholesale numbers?
The wholesale price is the market's single most important figure.
Guides that show trade-in, loan, or only retail figures are dancing
around the issue. The wholesale number sets the baseline for all
parties - buyer and seller. If you are using other guides in
addition to VMR's, or even if you are not using our guide at all, we
strongly recommend that you look for market-derived wholesale pricing.
It's the only way you can be reasonably sure of the kind of deal you
may be getting.
I call your helpline with questions about cars & car buying?
As long as you have a current PRINT edition of our
guide, we'll share our knowledge about anything to do with cars.
Purchasing the book buys access to our helpline. We're sorry, but
without the book, we can't assist you verbally. You can
email us, and we'll try to get
back to you within 24hrs. If you do not have a current edition
of one of our publications, they are easily obtained at bookstores and
newsstands everywhere, including Barnes & Noble Online and Amazon.com.
Do trim packages listed with trucks include power accessories?
No. All van and truck trim packages have been "decontented" so you
do not have to worry about figuring out what was standard and what
wasn't for the myriad of trim and equipment packages available. The
pricing reflects adjustments for the trim only (chrome, upgraded
interior, etc.) -- you still need to go to the Truck Equipment Table.
How much do I add for a "Certified" Used Car or
Truck? Manufacturer-backed used car
certification programs are one way for you get a little peace of mind
when purchasing a used vehicle--but it will cost you.
Furthermore, we have heard of countless instances where those "142
checkpoints" aren't really checked at all -- dealers simply slap the
label on the car and pay the certification fee to the manufacturer.
It's a good idea for you to ask for the checklist and go through a few
yourself. CPO (certified pre-owned) programs do add value
to a vehicle mainly for the extended warranty that goes with them.
Add $500-$1,000 to VMR values for most cars; $1,500+ for expensive
The dealer tells me that your prices are national, and that pricing is
higher in our region.
We hear this ALL THE TIME. It doesn't matter what region the
caller is in -- it's always the highest-cost region of the country!
Don't buy it. Our pricing is nationally averaged.
However, except in very isolated instances, prices fluctuate
less than 5% (usually much less) from any one region to another. Think of it
this way: If a Camry was worth $2000 more in L.A. than in
Cleveland, you'd see an endless stream of car haulers full of Camrys
on their way to the west coast every day. It simply isn't a