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Honda and Toyota earn top honors in two annual residual value surveys

As you take the plunge on a new car purchase, it helps to know which brands hold their value the best. Two recent surveys named Honda and Toyota as the brands most likely to hold their values in first five years of ownership.

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Kelley Blue Book has been arming car buyers and sellers with vehicle pricing information since 1926, but the Financial Times claims that the privately owned company is looking to sell, with wo sources familiar with the matter saying KBB has hired a bank to handle the sale.

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Kelley Blue Book Top 10 Cars for under $18k – Click above for high-res image gallery

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Although it will probably remain a stress-inducing experience, Kelley Blue Book has introduced a smartphone app and a Seller's Toolkit to make buying a car slightly less stress-inducing. The app ties your iPhone directly into the KBB database, so you can pull up the appropriate KBB values on the fly when that one-owner steal looks more like it's been stolen from five or six owners. It'll also clue you in to dealer locations and provide 360-degree views and reviews of any car you have questions a

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KBB spends time aloft in the Ford F-150 SVT Raptor – Click above to watch video after the jump

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Kelley Blue Book has compiled and collated the data from its year-long Brand Watch Study, which, based on "consumer perception data, [shows] which brands best communicated certain features of their vehicles." Of the nine categories tabbed, Porsche took three: best performance brand, best exterior design in the luxury segment, and coolest brand. Double victories went to Ford for most rugged truck brand and most family-friendly brand, and Lexus for best comfort and best interior design.

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2011 Hyundai Sonata – Click above for high-res image gallery

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State Farm is a massive insurance company. With over 42 million vehicles covered under its policies, the insurance giant commands roughly 18 percent of the U.S. market. In fact, State Farm's share of the overall market is so big that it can apparently see possible trends in vehicle issues by simply analyzing claim data, as evidenced by its admission that it informed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of Toyota unintended acceleration issues as early as late 2007.

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Kelley Blue Book's twenty most researched cars -- Click above for a high-res gallery

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According to the experts-of-such-things at Kelley Blue Book, the average vehicle will only retain about 35 percent of its original value after the initial five-year ownership period, often making depreciation the greatest expense incurred by drivers over that time period. That's a hefty chunk of change to be sure, so a vehicle's anticipated resale value should be of prime concern when shopping for your next car or truck.

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In the flurry to give Cash For Clunkers – sorry, C.A.R.S. – a very quick $2 billion extension last week, some of the more critical voices of the program were drowned out. At the very least, their effort was in vail. It may be too late to stop the bill from becoming law, but it's worth it to think through some of the possible unintended side effects of paying people to junk their cars.

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Click above for a high-res gallery of the 2009 Escape Hybrid

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Click above for a gallery of the Top Ten Most Search vehicles on KBB

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click to view more high-res images of the 2008 Dodge Grand Caravan SXT

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The Kelley Blue Book seems to track nearly everything related to cars and transportation. We recently became aware that a new KBB survey indicated that consumers are changing their car-buying habits because of high fuel prices. Not every purchaser is choosing as efficient a vehicle as they could, to be sure. According to KBB's latest survey, new car buyers are spending less on non-essential activities, like going to the movies, eating out and even purchasing new homes, all because of those same

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Automakers work very hard at the branding process, which takes years and years of effort to achieve. For instance, when a consumer hears Porsche, he or she likely sthink of sports cars and iconic design principles -- despite the fact that the German brand sells plenty of SUVs, too. And when a brand starts to get a negative image, it can take years to overcome that bad stigma -- just ask Ford. So, with all of this in mind, Kelley Blue Book has announced the winners of its 2008 Brand Image Awards,

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This being January, we are getting a lot of end of year lists. Kelley Blue Book (www.kbb.com) has just released its list of the Top 20 Most Researched Vehicles of 2006. They had more than 140 million visitors to their website last year, and the vehicle that those people wanted to know about more than any other was the Honda Civic. Perhaps your silence at hearing this shows that the announcement is as revolutionary as MT picking the Camry as COTY, but these kinds of lists are useful in letting th

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It's the oldest criticism of buying new versus used – drive that fresh-from-the-factory 2007 model off the dealer lot and instantly chuck 5 - 10% of your investment right out the window. The minute its front wheels touch Main Street USA your brand new car becomes used. This is why resale value is so important, as most vehicles only retain about 35% of their value after five years according to Kelley Blue Book.

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The fact that gas prices keep sinking has been both a relief and a horror for many of us. It obviously takes a big strain off your budget, but in the grander scheme it also seems to move the discussion focus away from alternative fuels and high-mileage vehicles as witnessed by both J.D. Power and online car buying sites.

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The joke used to be that the Kelley Blue Book wasn't blue. For a while now, you haven't even needed the book. But there is KBB.com, and it's a hella popular car research site. J.D. Power and Associates just announced that, for the eighth year in a row, it's the "most visited automotive Web site among new-vehicle buyers". Well, good for KBB, but I wanted to know how good the site is for shoppers interested in environmentally conscious cars? My verdict: It's not easy being green on KBB.

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