Glass's Guide might be referred to in the motor trade as ‘The Bible’ but it’s not (quite) as old. William Glass first published his Glass’s Guide to Car Values in 1933. It was originally a printed catalogue of UK makes and models, following the prices and fortunes of a dizzyingly comprehensive number of vehicles throughout the following decades.
By the 1990s, computing improvements meant that Glass’s could become a rich database of information about car values, with increasingly complex information able place values on small differences between vehicles. It has become the industry standard, used by governments to drive national registration systems and by the automotive industry to support forecasting of future residual values and bodywork construction management.
Nowadays, Glass’s – after merging with German Eurotax and rebranding as AutoVista – is online only. It provides intelligence to the automotive industry, from insurers to vehicle manufacturers and importers, fleet managers to vehicle dealers.
All these elements depend on accurate pricing – whether predicting values of one, two or three year old vehicles to calculate car finance deals, managing the optimal value of a company car fleet or calculating the cover needed for a motor insurance policy.
Whilst Glass’s provide a slick business intelligence interface, it’s the research that goes into pricing that makes it accurate. And this is carried out in a number of ways. In a 2015 interview with AutoCar, Rupert Pontin, then the new head of valuations at Glass’s Guide, described their resources:
“We have 12 years’ market analysis of cars’ pricing over their lifecycles, plus a decade of data about how prices are affected by background inflation. Throw in our knowledge of the seasonality of prices and the effect of new registration plates, then factor in the state of the background economy, and you see why price movements result from complex calculations.”
Questioned on the reliability of predicting residual values up to three years ahead, Pontin insisted that there was no mystery about it.
“You start from a firm foundation,” he said, “by learning as much about a new car as you can. We knew all about the Jaguar XE many months before it hit the market. Then you take account of the price behaviour of predecessors and competitor vehicles and add your own impressions of how it compares. Do it right and you won’t be far away.”
There’s also on the ground monitoring of actual prices paid for vehicles – always a good reality check to ensure that the guide prices keep it real. Whilst there are many free online valuation tools, Glass’s does not provide individual valuations (free or otherwise) to consumers.
Glass’s customers are in the vehicle, fleet management and insurance industry and they require highly researched and reliable information. They base their entire businesses on making accurate assessments of vehicle values – whether it’s about repairing a car or declaring it a total loss or predicting the value of a vehicle returned at the end of a contract hire period.
This is why Glass’s Guide is the basis of our Agreed Value gap insurance policies – which will pay the difference between the motor insurers settlement and 105% of the Glasses Guide Retail Price on the day you purchased the policy.
By Beate Kubitz at 31 Aug 2018, 00:00 AM