October 19, 2004, 12:00 AM

Black Book enters the online vehicle appraisal race

National Auto Research, publisher of Black Book vehicle information, is rolling out an online vehicle appraisal service for automotive dealers. Black Book Online allows dealers to offer a vehicle appraisal service on their individual web sites.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor

National Auto Research, a division of the Hearst Corp. and publisher of Black Book vehicle information, is rolling out an online vehicle appraisal service for automotive dealers.

The new service, introduced in late September, is Black Book Online, which allows dealers to offer a vehicle appraisal service on their individual web sites using data supplied by National Auto Research. Dealers pay $249 a month for the service.

For many years, National Auto Research has provided a business-to-business service to dealers that gives them access to vehicle valuation and trade-in information. But the information until now has not been available for use by individual car shoppers or on a dealer’s web site.

However, personalized tools that let online car buyers type in their vehicle specifications and obtain a trade-in value are becoming popular on many third-party automotive research sites.

By providing information to dealers in a way that lets them build their own online appraisal tool, National Auto Research hopes to generate additional web sales leads for dealers. National Auto counts 10,000 used and new dealers around the nation as its customers.

Black Book Online, which National Auto Research is developing with Veretech Inc., a developer of online vehicle appraisal tools, gives customers at a dealer’s web site the ability to get an estimate on their vehicle trade-in, but it also asks them to provide name, address, phone number and other demographic and purchasing intention information.

“Dealers have come to realize that a high percentage of auto shoppers will research the value of their trade-in,” says National Auto Research president Bob Burnett. “A recent national survey of Black Book customers showed a significant percentage were likely to use Black Book trade-in values on their dealer web sites if it were available.”

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