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Business Application: Automobile Production

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The table shows the retail market share of passenger cars from Ford Motor Company as a percentage of the U.S. market. (see attachment)

A mathematical model for this data is given by f(x) = 0.04x2 - 0.8x + 22 where x = 0 corresponds to 1975
a. Complete the table. (see attachment)
b. Use values of the modeling function, f to estimate Ford's market share in 2000 and in 2005.
c. Write a brief description of Ford's market share from 1975 to 2005

2. Science Application: Greenhouse Gas Puzzle:
Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels continue to increase and are suspected to contribute to global warming. The solution to the polynomial equation

x^3 - 380x^2 + 2x - 760 = 0

gives the record high amount of carbon dioxide in parts per million (ppm) in 2005, as measured at Mauna Loa Observatory.
Determine this record amount.

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Porter's Five Forces Model

In 2009 the American auto industry is in a dire economic state. Chrysler is in Chapter 11, GM is on the brink of bankruptcy, and Ford's future is at best uncertain. The demise of the U.S. auto industry will have a devastating impact on our national economy and specifically the economies of Michigan and Ohio.

Economists occasionally use Porter's five forces framework when making a qualitative evaluation of a firm's strategic position. According to Porter, his model should be used at the industry level, defined as a marketplace in which similar or closely related products or services are marketed. This research paper requires the application of Porter's Five Forces Model to the auto industry.

Porter's analytical framework consists of those forces that affect a producer's ability to serve its customers and make a profit. A change in any of these five forces requires a re-assessment of the marketplace. The five forces include:

1) The threat of substitute products: The existence of close substitute products (i.e., high elasticity of demand) increases the propensity of customers to switch to alternatives in response to price increases.

2) The threat of the entry of new competitors: Unless there are significant barriers to entry, profitable markets that yield high returns will attract firms (i.e., perfect competition), effectively decreasing profitability.

3) The intensity of competitive rivalry: As in the case of oligopoly markets, rivals may choose to compete aggressively, non-aggressively or in non-price dimensions.

4) The bargaining power of customers: The ability of customers to put the firm under pressure due to availability of existing substitute products, buyer price sensitivity, uniqueness of the products, etc.

5) The bargaining power of suppliers: The cost of factors of production (e.g. labor, raw materials, components, and services such as expertise) provided by suppliers can have a significant impact on a company's profitability. As such suppliers may refuse to work with the firm or charge excessively high prices for unique resources.

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