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Wholesale Market Up, Domestics Start Year Better Than Imports, Reports KBB

February 17, 2009

IRVINE, Calif. – Kelley Blue Book, a provider of new- and used-car information, reported an overall increase in recent wholesale market values in its new monthly Blue Book Market Report.

Throughout January 2009, Kelley Blue Book's vehicle valuation experts have witnessed climbing values in the truck and SUV segments. Values typically strengthen within these segments during the beginning of the year; however, the recent increase was higher than expected. A portion of the boost can be attributed to significantly depressed values experienced through mid- to late-2008 and decreasing fuel prices, both of which helped stabilize these segments. Kelley Blue Book expects a return to standard seasonal valuation behavior during the first quarter of 2009, although continued fluctuations in key factors may prevent this return to normalcy.

Performance within each of the vehicle segments was mixed. Domestic vehicles started the year with gains in the full-size and compact segments, and only a 1.4 percent decline in mid-size vehicles. This indicates returning demand for the domestic brands, which largely was absent leading up to the new year.

Contrary to historical trends, import car segments were some of the worst performers in January 2009, falling between 1.5 percent and 2.7 percent for mid-size and full-size vehicles, respectively.

Kelley Blue Book expects a return to standard seasonal valuation behavior during the first quarter of 2009, although continued fluctuations in key factors may prevent this return to normalcy.

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