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TORONTO, Ontario — Though it has been a longtime vehicle-valuation resource for dealers, Canadian Black Book is now reaching out to consumers, as well. 

The company recently rolled out a new Web site that boasts of a "Trade-In Value" estimator for consumers and also provides new tools and advice features throughout.

In addition to being able to use http://www.canandianblackbook.com/ to figure out the trade-in value, average asking price and future value of "virtually every" model from 1997 onward, visitors can also browse classified ads from dealers' inventories, as well as read auto reviews and articles from analysts and experts.

"It's an all new Web site designed to bring qualified consumers together with dealers," explained Kathy Ward, president and chief executive officer of Canadian Black Book.

Officials said the site generates data from various real-time transactional sources, giving the consumers "the most accurate values available."

Offering his comments on the new site, Dennis DesRosiers, president of DesRosiers Automotive Consultants, noted: "The new Canadian Black Book Web site and the tools it offers is welcome news to consumers who often don't know where to turn for authoritative pricing for a trade-in, a new- or used-car purchase or a leased vehicle.

"Building on its roots as the 'Industry Bible' and an unbiased provider of car and truck values based upon its proprietary transactional data, this is the natural evolution of Canadian Black Book," he added.

Officials contend the "ease-of-use and depth" of the new site is what gives it "top marks." Shoppers can search vehicles by model and year and then narrow their search by options and trim packages, as well.

The company explained that the engine which calculates a specific vehicle's value will consider the actual mileage on the unit, as well as mileage on similar models sold in the consumer's area.

After it does that, the engine produces a low-, medium- and high-value range "in seconds."

"Dealers advertising their cars and trucks with this degree of transparency are making a clear statement about their ethics," stated DesRosiers. "The site's ability to generate a future value for literally every vehicle available in Canada also provides an invaluable tool in determining the total cost of ownership."

Ward added: "This is something consumers have been asking for, for quite some time. We've created an excellent online resource to help consumers get answers and make smart vehicle purchasing decisions."

She continued: "The auto industry has been our business for 50 years. We can bring a balanced point of view to the consumer. With so many online classified sites and Web resources out there, it's easy to feel overwhelmed and confused when it comes to car buying and value. It also serves dealers by delivering informed buyers to their showrooms."

Canadian Black Book said it is best known for the printed reference guides that dealers turn to in their decision-making and will continue to provide dealers with data solutions that are specifically geared for them. However, the company is now also putting an emphasis on educating consumers.

"This is a bold example of how the Internet can be harnessed to the benefit of both buyers and sellers," commented Larry Shred, executive vice president Canadian Black Book. "Our new Web site will fulfill the unique role as a community that brings together consumers and dealers in a transparent environment, with education and accurate values at its core.

"In the past you had owners thinking their trade-ins were worth way more than they were, and dealers who had the advantage of current market data," he concluded.