That is the philosophy behind a development I am now involved with at CAP – the creation of something we call the 'Car Birth Certificate'.
CAP Monitor's place in the industry means the thinking behind our future residual value forecasts must be clear and explicable to all who use or are affected in any way by the decisions our customers make, based on them.
The process behind the forecasts of the car and commercial vehicle Monitor editors, Jeff Knight and John Watts, is long established as a successful and reliable model.
The Car Birth Certificate is a unique file of information compiled to underpin the forecasts they make for every vehicle, designed to ensure absolute transparency behind the figures.
The CAP Monitor and New Vehicle Data information-gathering process often begins informally, prior to vehicle build. Then, on launch, we have amassed a wealth of data, not only on all aspects of the car, van or truck but also on the market environment it will occupy.
A non-exhaustive list of this information includes projected marketplaces for the vehicle, a profile of the expected buyers, vehicle volumes and relationship to competitors in the market.
The nature of the vehicles returning to the used market is projected by gathering data on the spread of options, colour mix, popular specifications, engine types and so on. We also assess the proportion of sales into the fleet, rental and private marketplaces.
Historic trends are assessed by examining a vehicle – or its predecessor's – performance in the used market by reference to Black Book and this enables the Monitor team to overlay and project future trends for the new variant.
With the sheer volume of models and derivatives, gathering this information solo is clearly an impossible task for the Monitor editors and my role now is to coordinate this process by overseeing the creation of a Car Birth Certificate for every new model.
My work already involves liaison with key industry contacts through my role in the CAP New Vehicle Data department and my new role bridges both departments.
The gathering of all information informing the Monitor process into one Car Birth Certificate clarifies the process behind our forecasts for those who rightly wish to understand the basis for Monitor figures.
It also disproves the false assumption that the Monitor team – expert as they certainly are – somehow base published figures on a crystal ball, 'gut instinct' or some kind of mysterious 'market feel'.
It demonstrates that they run a robust process which can be demonstrated to those who wish to understand and those who have a right to examine the basis of our figures.