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Experience The Kelley Blue Book® Brand

Kelley Blue Book® began in the U.S. in 1918 when Les Kelley started the Kelley Kar company. After years of successfully running the car company, Les Kelley introduced the Kelley Blue Book® in 1926.

Les Kelley was so successful at selling cars that he constantly needed more cars for his lot; he began distributing a list of automobiles he wanted to purchase with the prices he was willing to pay for them to dealers and banks.

Soon, the automotive community trusted his judgement as a good reflection of current values. Other dealers and banks requested the list for their use, and the Kelley name became the most trusted for car values. This list later became known as the Kelley Blue Book.

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History Timeline


Kelley Kar company founded

In 1918, a young man named Les Kelley parked three Model T Fords in an open lot, put USD $50 in the till and started the Kelley Kar Company. It was to become the largest dealership in the world and, along the way, spawn a need for placing values on used and even new cars, known as Blue Book® values.


Kelley Blue Book® published in 1926

Banks and dealers have now become so dependent on Kelley’s value that he decides to begin publishing them in book form. The Blue Book of automotive values is born.


The U.S. Government uses Blue Book values to set Price Ceilings on used cars

World War II brought with it a shortage of cars. Used car prices got so high the American government decided to put a ceiling on prices and used the Blue Book as the ceiling for both wholesale and retail values.


Kelley Blue Book® introduces another innovation

Kelley Blue Book® continues innovating by being the first publication to use mileage to determine a vehicle’s value.


Kelley Blue Book® launches KBB.com

A game-changing innovation, Kelley Blue Book® launches KBB.com. New car prices introduced first, then used car values in 1996. 20,000 visitors a month used KBB.com. KBB.com becomes the most visited automotive website in 1997.


Kelley Blue Book® Mobile

Kelley Blue Book® launches Kelley Blue Mobile App helping customers determine their current vehicle’s worth, check prices for their next one or find a local dealer.


Kelley Blue Book® expands Internationally

Kelley Blue Book® launches into the Portuguese and Brazilian markets.


Kelley Blue Book® expands Internationally

Kelley Blue Book® launches into the Australian and Canadian markets.

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Today Connections That Count

Backed by the power of parent Cox Automotive’s 34,000-plus global team members and family of brands that help millions of car shoppers and 40,000 auto dealer clients across five continents, Kelley Blue Book® joins other Cox Automotive brands - Manheim, Dealertrack, Dealer.com, vAuto, and HomeNet - to simplify the process, remove friction and enable the smart, connected, and enjoyable online experience dealers and car-buyers expect.