In spite of the fact that many durable products are sold through dealers, the literature has largely ignored the issue of how product durability affects the interactions between a manufacturer and her dealers. We seek to fill this gap by considering a durable goods manufacturer that uses independent dealers to get her product to consumers. In contrast to much of the literature, we specifically consider the possibility that if the manufacturer sells her product, then the dealers can either sell or lease it to the final consumer. One of our more interesting findings is that, when the level of competition among dealers is high, the manufacturer prefers to lease the product to her dealers, which forces them to lease to consumers. This complements existing results that show that when suppliers of durable goods interact directly with consumers, selling is the dominant strategy for high levels of competitive intensity. In addition, our results help to explain differences in the selling / leasing policies that are observed in the office equipment and automobile industries.
- co-authored with Sreekumar Bhaskaran