IRVINE, Calif. -- Kelley Blue Book, the leading provider of new- and used-vehicle information, has announced the all-new 2009 model-year vehicle winners of its annual Best Resale Value Awards, which recognize current and upcoming vehicles for their projected retained value five years from now. Since depreciation (or loss of value) is typically a car-buyer's primary expense during ownership, these awards, like all of's new and used vehicle information, are designed to help consumers make more informed car-buying decisions.

Kelley Blue Book's Best Resale Value Awards are based on projections from the Kelley Blue Book Residual Value Guide researched by an expert staff of automotive market analysts. These prestigious awards honor vehicles expected to maintain the greatest proportion of their original retail price after five years of ownership. Low-volume vehicles and vehicles with a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price of more than $60,000 are excluded from award consideration, except in the luxury and high-performance categories.

While most car buyers today consider sticker price one of the most significant numbers when choosing a new vehicle, the editors at Kelley Blue Book's recommend that shoppers consider a number they won't find today on any window sticker: its resale value. Depreciation often is the greatest expense incurred by drivers during the first five years of vehicle ownership. An average vehicle will only retain about 35 percent of its original value after a five-year ownership period, meaning that a $50,000 new car today will only be worth somewhere close to $17,500 after five years. Vehicles with average or below-average resale values are generally plentiful in the marketplace and easy to find, such as models found in rental fleets. But certain vehicles are projected to hold their value better than others. While much of a vehicle's resale value is based on supply and demand as well as current and projected future market conditions, vehicles that maintain their value best are quality-built and generate consumer enthusiasm.

Vehicle shoppers should take several factors into consideration when buying a new car to ensure as much future value as possible. Certain features available on new vehicles today will be desirable by a majority of used-car buyers three to five years down the road, and these features will help the vehicle maintain more of its original value than if they were absent. First, car-buyers should choose a popular exterior color such as silver, white, gray or black. Then, car-buyers should choose optional equipment that is customary for the type of vehicle they are buying. For instance, if you are buying a luxury sedan choose automatic transmission versus a manual transmission. Equipment and options that are popular with a broad spectrum of used-vehicle buyers include antilock brakes (ABS), alloy wheels, audio system with MP3/iPod compatibility, power-operated leather-covered seats, cruise control, remote locking and navigation system. Car-buyers should also recognize that the cost of some potentially expensive features like premium audio systems will be difficult to recover at trade-in or resale time. The same holds true for "custom" features and vibrant and/or less popular paint colors.

"Especially in today's tough market and difficult economy, consumers really need to take a hard look at the projected resale value of a car when choosing their next new-vehicle purchase," said Jack R. Nerad, executive editorial director and executive market analyst with Kelley Blue Book's "Choosing makes, models and options wisely now can help new-car shoppers keep additional money in their pocket down the road when they go to sell or trade-in the vehicle used."

While the company's Residual Value Guide has been published since 1981, Kelley Blue Book established its annual Best Resale Value Awards in 2003. Kelley Blue Book reports projections based on current vehicle data, sales data, market conditions for each vehicle, competition within vehicle segments, expectations of the future economy and the combined experience of Kelley Blue Book's team of market and pricing analysts. Values reflect projected future wholesale pricing for clean, reconditioned vehicles at the end of a five-year lease or ownership period. Kelley Blue Book's residual values are used by banks, financial institutions, governmental agencies and the automotive leasing industry.

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