Price Digests: 100 Years of Innovation
Founded in 1911, Price Digests is the nation’s original vehicle valuation and spec source that covers the widest range of vehicles types – from commercial trucks and trailers to boats, ATVs, and RVs. Price Digests’ roots go back to the rise of the automobile era in the early 1900s, when a myriad of the most iconic American vehicle brands, such as Chevrolet, GM, Dodge Brothers, and Chrysler entered the market.
With the car market overly saturated with automobiles – the new type of affordable personal transportation property – the Chicago auto dealers started undercutting each other on the trade-in values of the vehicles; and the need for unification of the vehicle valuation and appraisal appeared. In 1904, the Chicago Auto Trade Association (CATA) was formed to standardize the trade-process by issuing a pricing guide for dealers to institute a system of consistent trade-in values that were later referred to as the “blue sheets.” Distribution of the blue sheets started turning a profit for CATA, a non-profit at the time. It also attracted the attention of the Federal Government which stepped in to shut down the practice.
A dozen of the local car dealers saw the immense value that blue sheets held and took over the publication as a for-profit venture named National Market Reports. One of such dealers was O.G. Heffinger of a Mormon-Jordan auto dealership on North Michigan Avenue – the father of National Market Reports1. Blue sheets turned into the Blue Book – one of the major merchandising resources for vehicle selling even today. In 1920, a “Vest Pocket Edition” – a predecessor of the Red Auto Book – was introduced to make the dealer reference guide, a full size desk edition, more portable.
Few business tools have delivered as consistently as the Truck Blue Book. Since 1933, the Truck Blue Book has served as the benchmark and the industry standard for comprehensive commercial vehicle identification and valuation source
Over the next few decades, additional blue book publications were added to the National Market Reports portfolio:
- Truck Blue Book – 1928
- Recreational Vehicle Blue Book – 1936
- Farm Implement Guide – 1945
- ABOS Marine Blue Book –1949
- EquipmentWatch Green Guide for Construction Equipment –1961
- Powersport Vehicle Blue Book – 1966
- The Older Car Red Book – 1983
- The Van Conversion Blue Book – 1984
- The Truck Blue Book Lease Guide – January 1985
- The Truck Body Blue Book – 1994
As the publication grew, the organization went through a series of mergers and acquisitions with several changes in ownership between the 1970s and 1990s.
In 1988, National Market Reports introduced world’s first VIN-driven database delivered via flat files.
In 2002 the brand changed the name to Price Digests.
In 2005, Price Digests introduced its first API.
In 2016, UK-based Informa acquired Price Digests with all of the fleet asset categories consolidated into one web app, www.apppricedigests.com, in 2018.
Today, a century after its inceptions, Price Digests still stays true to its original mission: to provide the most comprehensive efficiency-driven vehicle valuation and specs solutions for insurance, finance, and government asset valuation professionals, as well as vehicle dealers and fleet owners, while listening to the Voice of the Customer, embracing the pace of technology and changing market needs, maintaining an optimistic, forward-thinking mindset fueled by a relentless commitment to continuous technological innovation.
Product Marketing Manager
Infrastructure intelligence | informa