Professor Asker submitted expert testimony on behalf of a major automobile manufacturer.
The plaintiffs, a group of car dealerships, alleged that a major automobile manufacturer’s dealer incentive programs led to discriminatory prices, payments, and vehicle allocations to certain dealerships relative to others. Defense counsel for the automobile manufacturer retained Cornerstone Research and John Asker of the University of California, Los Angeles, to assess these allegations and determine whether the vertical arrangements resulted in harm to competition or disadvantaged certain dealerships relative to others.
To address these allegations, Professor Asker analyzed the design and implementation of the dealer incentive programs from an economic perspective and addressed plaintiff experts’ theories of harm and empirical analyses. He conducted extensive empirical analyses to determine whether the manufacturer’s incentive programs were functioning in a procompetitive manner. Professor Asker’s analysis also drew on the academic literature on vertical relationships. He submitted an expert report and testified both at deposition and in a court hearing. The case ultimately settled.