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Prices, Production and Inventories over the Automotive Model Year

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  • Adam Copeland
  • Wendy Dunn
  • George Hall

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 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Adam Copeland & Wendy Dunn & George Hall, 2005. "Prices, Production and Inventories over the Automotive Model Year," NBER Working Papers 11257, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11257
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Oben Ceryan & Ozge Sahin & Izak Duenyas, 2013. "Dynamic Pricing of Substitutable Products in the Presence of Capacity Flexibility," Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, INFORMS, vol. 15(1), pages 86-101, April.
    2. George Alessandria & Joseph P. Kaboski & Virgiliu Midrigan, 2010. "Inventories, Lumpy Trade, and Large Devaluations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(5), pages 2304-2339, December.
    3. Adam Copeland & George Hall, 2011. "The response of prices, sales, and output to temporary changes in demand," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 26(2), pages 232-269, March.
    4. Guillermo Caruana & Liran Einav, 2008. "Production targets," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 39(4), pages 990-1017.
    5. Raghunath Singh Rao & Om Narasimhan & George John, 2009. "Understanding the Role of Trade-Ins in Durable Goods Markets: Theory and Evidence," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 28(5), pages 950-967, 09-10.
    6. Guillermo Caruana & Liran Einav, 2008. "Production targets," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 39(4), pages 990-1017.
    7. 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.
    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. Aizcorbe, Ana & Bridgman, Benjamin & Nalewaik, Jeremy, 2010. "Heterogeneous car buyers: A stylized fact," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 109(1), pages 50-53, October.
    10. 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.
    11. Carol Corrado & Wendy E. Dunn & Maria Ward 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.).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D21 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Theory
    • D42 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Monopoly
    • E22 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Investment; Capital; Intangible Capital; Capacity
    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
    • L62 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - Automobiles; Other Transportation Equipment; Related Parts and Equipment

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