Look under "NADA Guides". It has used vehicle wholesale & retail listings by
vehicle category and model year. The NADA, Kelley Blue Book & similar sites
give you a very good idea of what nearly any car or truck is actually worth.
Use it to find out your car/truck's trade in value, or what you or a dealer
are likely going to be able to ask for it if sold retail.
"Residual value" just means "what the car is worth at 'x' point in time",
and is the same as the vehicles "trade-in value", i.e., it's wholesale value
of the car. It's a leasing term that represents a forecast of what a car
will be worth at the end of a lease, but it isn't necessarily an accurate
figure. You may get to the end of the lease and find out (as most buyers do)
that the residual was set way too high, and that if you buy the car at that
point you will pay more for it than if you just went out on the market and
found a similar make, model and year car/truck. My personal 2000 E430 Sport
has a residual thousands higher than the actual street value of the car at
this point in time.
Manufacturers use double-speak nonsense like "residual value" on leasing
contracts and use other terms like "capitalized cost" instead of "Retail
price", "money factor" instead of "interest rate divided by 24", etc. In
simple terms, it's all business bullshit intended to confuse the consumer.
Thanks Jerry but I am still confused. Wouldn't residual values give me the
value 3 years from now, i.e. in late 2006, for a given 2004 make/model? I
don't think that NADA, Kelly, etc. are going to do that.
Sorry for the further post but I've thought of a much better way to express
my confusion. Residual values, as I understand it, predict the future.
NADA, Kelly and the like, in my experience, do not. Right? Wrong?
You're correct, the only way to get EXACTLY what you're looking for is
through Automotive Lease Guides (ALG) who basically control all the
residuals. They charge a fee (around $75 USD) for a guidebook, and they have
an on-line calculator, which is around $20 USD. Try WWW.ALG.COM if
You can get very close by just using the free NADA site and overlaying a
particular three year old car/truck vs. its original retail cost, figure the
residual percentage and then multiply it against the new car's retail price.
You'll be within a few percentage points one way or the other. The only
thing that might affect this would be is a major problem or bit of good news
that affects a brand's overall street value. I.E., the Audi "runaway" scare
of the '80's has killed residuals for that brand for years, and the latest
bad quality news has hurt MB's once strong residual forecasts. BMW, too.
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