INST 352 Lecture 4: INST352 Lecture 4: Example
SchoolUniversity of Maryland
Course CodeINST 352
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INST352 Lecture 4: Example
Julie starts her quest for facts with a Google search online that takes her to a review from an online
consumer magazine. Like many websites, it contains color pictures of the various models, charts
with dozens of facts on each model (e.g., dimensions, fuel consumption, features, prices),
comparisons of cars by type (e.g., the best luxury vehicles), and subject ratings and
recommendations. What draws Julie to this particular publication is its reputation for objectivity and
frequency-of-repair charts, based on hundreds of thousands of reports from owners of the vehicles
reviewed and unique to this magazine.
Julie learns several facts from the consumer report that help her differentiate the three cars. The first
thing she notices is that the price range for the Mercedes is several thousand dollars more than the
other two, apparently because of the manufacturer’s prestige and reputation in North America.
Acceleration is somewhat slower with the Mercedes, as it has a smaller engine than the other two.
Fuel economy is similar among the three models, yet the Volvo and Lexus can use lower-octane fuel
— making the Mercedes the most costly to operate. The Mercedes and Lexus are rated better for
braking ability than the Volvo, while the Lexus and Volvo score better on dashboard design. Turning
to the frequency-of-repair charts, Julie sees different patterns among the 14 “trouble spots”
(electrical, brakes, transmission, etc.) but concludes that the Lexus may be more reliable than the
other two. Julie concludes that, in matters other than the above, the three cars are similar.
Julie is leaning toward the purchase of the Volvo, reasoning that its use of ordinary fuel means a
lower cost of operation; compounding those savings over many years of ownership makes the Volvo
the least expensive of these higher end sedans. Yet she retains some doubt as to whether the Volvo
is truly equivalent in features to the other two. She knows she can get basic price information —
dealer costs, sticker price, and the costs of major options — from a variety of sources. In her office
one evening after work, Julie locates the website for Kelley Blue Book . Here she is able to get price
quotes for the three cars with similar options; the Mercedes is more expensive than the other two
cars in price despite having a smaller engine than the others. Is it that much better, Julie asks
herself? Probably not, she concludes. Armed with this information, Julie heads to the Mercedes and
Volvo dealers for test-drives, deciding against any further consideration of the Lexus. She likes the
Volvo but finds the salespeople at that dealership to be too persistently aggressive. At the Mercedes
dealer, in contrast, the salesman subjects her to less talk, and puts her in a positive mood for her
spin in the car; she immediately falls in love with the Mercedes she drives, but realizes that it has
many more options than the basic version that she has been considering.
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