Kelley Blue Book
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Kelley Blue Book Co., Inc., began as the Kelley Kar Kompany, a Los Angeles-based car dealership, in 1918. The dealership was founded by Les Kelley, an Arkansas-born businessman who started the dealership with three used Model T Fords and one employee, his 13-year-old brother. In order to obtain inventory, he began circulating lists of cars he wanted to acquire along with the price he was willing to pay for them. The price lists quickly became a standard among Los Angeles area banks and car dealers.
In 1926, Kelley published his first Kelley Blue Book, a guide to used car values. The service was primarily regional until the 1940s. In the years immediately following World War II, a large number of returning servicemen and the pent-up demand caused by four years of wartime rationing caused a huge spike in the demand for cars. Since most car companies had yet to retool from wartime production, the price of used cars skyrocketed. During this time, Kelley Blue Book expanded to become a nationwide automobile appraisal guide. The book remained with the Kelley family until 1980.
Kelley Blue Book steadily expanded its scope over the years. New-car appraisals were added in 1966. In the years following, recreational vehicles, motorcycles, and mobile home appraisal guides were added to company's list of services. Kelley Blue Book guides were primarily trade publications until 1993 when a consumer edition of Kelley Blue Book was launched. The company began its website service in 1995 and has become one of the most visited automobile related sites in the Internet. Kelley Blue Book does not provide its methodology and sales data used to generate pricing valuations.
In late 2010, it was announced that Kelley Blue Book was being sold to AutoTrader.com for an estimated $500 million.  AutoTrader is owned by privately held Cox Enterprises and investment firm Providence Equity Partners.
The company reports market value prices for new and used automobiles of all types, as well as RVs, motorcycles, snowmobiles, and personal watercrafts. For new automobiles, KBB provides information about a make's MSRP, dealer invoice price, and a vehicle's New Car Blue Book Value; what others are paying for a new car this week. For used cars KBB provides retail value, trade-in value, and private party value. It obtains retail pricing by collecting information about actual retail sales.