What is vAuto?

March 16, 2021
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The value of your car plays an important role in getting you into your next car. You might decide to use your old car as a trade-in, or perhaps you’d like to sell it privately and use that cash as a down payment. Either way that you’d like to go, you need to understand what your car is worth. That’s where vAuto comes in.

There are plenty of auto evaluation tools out there, commonly called “books” because of the way in which they used to circulate. These days, most of the evaluation tools are online and can provide an instant value of any car.

Today, we’re going to take a look at vAuto. We’ll go over what vAuto is, how it reaches its value, and examine how accurate their values are.

What is vAuto?

Founded in 2006, vAuto is a company that was formed by “automotive industry veterans” that aims to give car dealerships a new way to manage their inventory of used cars. Their inventory management tools changed in 2010 when vAuto was bought out by the AutoTrader Group, which gave them access to all of the data from two of the nation’s biggest wholesale markets:  Manheim and Autotrader.

All of this data serves to provide car dealerships with more information about their used car inventory. The goal is to help dealerships make the most of their used car inventory and ultimately make the most money possible.

In 2014, vAuto finally grew beyond its original purpose as inventory management software and launched Conquest, a tool for new cars and pricing services. These days, dealerships around the country use vAuto to manage their inventory, evaluate cars, and even guide the reconditioning process of trade-ins.

Have you noticed that all of their services are for car dealers? That’s because vAuto is not a consumer-facing company. The car dealerships are their customers, not car buyers. As such, they restrict access to their services to those who pay a subscription fee.

How Does vAuto Reach its Value?

As discussed, vAuto has access to two valuable marketplaces for wholesale cars:  Autotrader and Manheim. Using this data, vAuto calculates how much a dealership should pay for a car. Not only that, but they estimate how long it will take to sell the car in question.

Unfortunately, vAuto does not disclose any part of the algorithm used to calculate car values. We can assume that it takes into account all of the usual data, such as make, model, mileage, and condition. All of this information can be used to determine how much you should be offered for your trade-in.

Are vAuto Values Accurate?

Dealerships have been using vAuto for over a decade. It’s designed to help them manage multiple aspects of their business. Evaluating used and new cars is only one of the services made available by vAuto. As such, car dealers are quite confident in the services that they receive from vAuto.

Most car dealerships consider vAuto to be an important part of their auto valuation process. They’ll run your car through vAuto to gain a better understanding of how much to offer you, how long it’ll take them to sell it, and how in-demand your particular car might be. With all of this information in hand, they’ll make you an offer with the goal of making a profit on your car.

When Should I Use vAuto Values?

You won’t be using vAuto, as they are a subscription-based service that caters directly to car dealerships. However, you can use our Market Price Report, Kelley Blue Book, and NADA Guides to determine the value of your vehicle. You can even make use of YAA’s new integration with Black Book to help you understand what you’ll be offered for your trade-in.

Most car dealers will use vAuto in conjunction with the Black Book to determine what to offer a customer for their trade-in. You should understand that they’re likely going to show you the lowest valuation they can find, so don’t be afraid to push back. Highlight the valuations from other services to show that your car is worth more than what they’re offering.

One great strategy is to obtain quotes for your car from other dealerships or sites, such as Carvana and Vroom. Take these real quotes to the target car dealership to show them that you already have offers on the table. If they want your business, they’ll likely offer you more for your car.

Interested in learning how people come up with car values? You can learn more about other evaluation books here.

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