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The Importance of Trade-in Valuation Methodologies

The shocks to the automotive market driven by the pandemic surfaced significant challenges for dealerships to value cars. Those that relied upon digital retailing solutions immediately raised concerns of book values. Market information also surfaced that guaranteed offer programs for trades were no longer going to be backed by the guarantor. Yikes!

We designed TradePending’s valuation methodology to be resilient during turbulent markets, and times like these immediately proved why. Here’s how and why our approach stands up.

Reason #1 – Local market values differ under normal circumstances but vary greatly during turbulent times. As a dealer, consumer, or technology provider using trade-in values to determine a potential deal structure, “equity” calculations, or to “buy a car online”, you can’t rely on undisclosed regions of data.

TradePending has been and continues to be the only solution that is based on as tight a radius as possible from a specific zip code to determine a vehicle’s value.

Reason #2 – Wholesale markets are currently irrelevant. They have routinely proven that they don’t move in parallel to local retail pricing movements. Front-line reconditioned inventory remains the best basis to understand the retail pricing market. What traded 30 days ago in a wholesale market that doesn’t exist today, well, that just doesn’t matter.

TradePending is the only valuation solution that measures local retail “ask prices”. Our methodology adjusts value based upon a proprietary matrix of reduction calculations, as well as retail supply and demand forces. Most importantly, TradePending updates these values daily to stay in-tune with the market.

Reason #3 – A range-based solution with additional data points and transparency will always prevail vs. hiding the calculation and other basis for value. No other asset that is traded from buyer to seller is based on hidden calculations; they are all based on “comparables”. Whether stocks, houses, steaks, or commodities, we all rely upon comparative information to make good buying or selling decisions.

TradePending is the only valuation solution that shows other cars in a local market and how a potential trade compares within that market.

With daily updates, TradePending creates the right environment to lead a discussion and then arrive at an appropriate trade-in value, based on a final inspection and buyer-based variables, all of which will differ by dealer. Providing a trade-in range, which highlights local market comparables, allows dealers the flexibility they need to quickly adapt.

For our peers that provide digital retailing solutions that need better trade-in values, the TradePending API will immediately solve your challenges. Contact or use the chat tool here on our site to get started.

For dealers that use digital retailing and trade-in solutions, there’s never been a better time to evaluate our trade-in tool, and to push your digital retailing solutions to utilize the TradePending API. Email us at or chat with us here to schedule a call.