It was also the year that the fleet industry first saw CAP Black Book, which has gone on to become the used car industry’s ‘bible’.
If, in 1979, you were among the first drivers of the newly-launched Vauxhall Astra you could expect the trim level to include reclining seats, fitted carpets, head restraints and a rear wash/wipe.
None of the technology we take for granted such as power steering, heated seats and CD auto-changers was available.
Remarketing was also a different story, with fleets taking a lot less notice of residual values than they do in today’s market.
Used car values guide CAP Black Book was launched in October 1979 by two West Yorkshire car dealers and contained just 4,000 prices across 140 pages. Today it offers 500,000 values through 1,408 pages.
Daren Wiseman, managing editor of Black Book, explains how the guide has changed in recent years. He said: ‘Just like the disappearance of Book entries for Chrysler-Hillman, Simca, Austin Morris, Opel and Triumph, the old ‘trade club’ image of a Black Book staff member has become a thing of the past. Trade experience remains a valued asset but is no longer a sufficient basis for the decisions taken monthly to truly reflect the market.
‘Today, CAP values are based on nearly one million actual transaction prices annually, sampled as raw data which is fed directly into CAP’s systems, making Black Book unique in the industry for this level of ‘real’ pricing information. The editorial team market researches the activity and results achieved monthly by every major leasing company. This represents 500,000 disposals a year.’
Dealer research, vehicle remarketing companies, the disposals of motor manufacturers and daily rental companies are also analysed to collate information for the Book.
Wiseman said: ‘Researchers examine thousands of vehicles at auction each month in order to ascertain their true condition and catalogue descriptions. This information is fed into the analysis process and reveals the impact on values of colour, condition, specification and mileage.
‘A senior analyst has been appointed to strengthen the office-based information systems. Further investment in this area is under way with the appointment of a business research manager and another analyst.’