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Prices, Production and Inventories over the Automotive Model Year

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  • Copeland, Adam

    (Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
    Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System)

  • Hall, George J.

    (Yale U)

Abstract

This paper studies the within-model-year pricing and production of new automobiles. Using new monthly data on U.S. transaction prices, we document that for the typical new vehicle, prices typically fall over the model year at a 9.2 percent annual rate. Concurrently, both sales and inventories are hump shaped. To explain these time series, we formulate a market equilibrium model for new automobiles in which inventory and pricing decisions are made simultaneously. On the demand side, we use micro-level data to estimate time-varying aggregate demand curves for each vehicle. On the supply side, we solve a dynamic programming model of an automaker that, while able to produce only one vintage of a product at a time, may accumulate inventories and consequently sell multiple vintages of the same product simultaneously. The profit maximizing pricing and production strategies under a build-to-stock inventory policy imply declining prices and hump-shaped sales and inventories of the magnitudes observed in the data. Further, roughly half of the price decline is driven by inventory control considerations, as opposed to decreasing demand.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Yale University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 2.

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Date of creation: Mar 2005
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Handle: RePEc:ecl:yaleco:2

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  1. George J. Hall, 1997. "Non-Convex Costs and Capital Utilization: A Study of Production Scheduling at Automobile Assembly Plants," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1169, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  2. John Rust & Hui Man Chan & George Hall, 2004. "Price Discrimination in the Steel Market," Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings 245, Econometric Society.
  3. Edward P. Lazear, 1984. "Retail Pricing and Clearance Sales," NBER Working Papers 1446, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Carol Corrado & Wendy Dunn & Maria Otoo, 2006. "Incentives and prices for motor vehicles: what has been happening in recent years?," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2006-09, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  5. Berry, Steven & Levinsohn, James & Pakes, Ariel, 1995. "Automobile Prices in Market Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(4), pages 841-90, July.
  6. Stokey, Nancy L, 1979. "Intertemporal Price Discrimination," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 93(3), pages 355-71, August.
  7. Aviv Nevo, 2000. "A Practitioner's Guide to Estimation of Random-Coefficients Logit Models of Demand," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 9(4), pages 513-548, December.
  8. Goldberg, Pinelopi Koujianou, 1996. "Dealer Price Discrimination in New Car Purchases: Evidence from the Consumer Expenditure Survey," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(3), pages 622-54, June.
  9. Amil Petrin, 2002. "Quantifying the Benefits of New Products: The Case of the Minivan," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(4), pages 705-729, August.
  10. Pashigian, B Peter & Bowen, Brian & Gould, Eric, 1995. "Fashion, Styling, and the Within-Season Decline in Automobile Prices," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 38(2), pages 281-309, October.
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  14. Valerie A. Ramey & Daniel J. Vine, 2005. "Tracking the source of the decline in GDP volatility: an analysis of the automobile industry," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2005-14, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  15. T. M. Whitin, 1955. "Inventory Control and Price Theory," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 2(1), pages 61-68, October.
  16. Ayres, Ian & Siegelman, Peter, 1995. "Race and Gender Discrimination in Bargaining for a New Car," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 304-21, June.
  17. Timothy F. Bresnahan & Valerie A. Ramey, 1992. "Output Fluctuations at the Plant Level," NBER Working Papers 4105, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Florian Zettelmeyer & Fiona Scott Morton & Jorge Silva-Risso, 2001. "Cowboys or Cowards: Why are Internet Car Prices Lower?," NBER Working Papers 8667, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  21. Wedad Elmaghraby & P{\i}nar Keskinocak, 2003. "Dynamic Pricing in the Presence of Inventory Considerations: Research Overview, Current Practices, and Future Directions," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 49(10), pages 1287-1309, October.
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Cited by:
  1. Chen, Jiawei & Esteban, Susanna & Shum, Matthew, 2010. "Do sales tax credits stimulate the automobile market?," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 397-402, July.
  2. Guillermo Caruana & Liran Einav, 2006. "Production Targets," NBER Working Papers 11958, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. George Alessandria & Joseph Kaboski & Virgiliu Midrigan, 2008. "Inventories, lumpy trade, and large devaluations," Working Paper Series 2008-24, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  4. Adam Copeland & George Hall, 2006. "The Response of Prices, Sales, and Output to Temporary Changes in Demand," 2006 Meeting Papers 39, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  5. Adam Copeland, 2008. "The Dynamics of Automobile Expenditures," 2008 Meeting Papers 852, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  6. Aizcorbe, Ana & Bridgman, Benjamin & Nalewaik, Jeremy, 2010. "Heterogeneous car buyers: A stylized fact," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 109(1), pages 50-53, October.
  7. Ashley Langer & Nathan H. Miller, 2008. "Automobile Prices, Gasoline Prices, and Consumer Demand for Fuel Economy," EAG Discussions Papers 200811, Department of Justice, Antitrust Division.
  8. Florian Zettelmeyer & Fiona Scott Morton & Jorge Silva-Risso, 2006. "Scarcity Rents in Car Retailing: Evidence from Inventory Fluctuations at Dealerships," NBER Working Papers 12177, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Carol Corrado & Wendy Dunn & Maria Otoo, 2006. "Incentives and prices for motor vehicles: what has been happening in recent years?," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2006-09, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).

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