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In the late 1990s, car leasing was very popular in the United States. A customer would lease a car from the manufacturer for a set term, usually two years, and then have the option of keeping the car. If the customer decided to keep the car, the customer would pay a price to the manufacturer, the “residual value,” computed as 60% of the new car price. The manufacturer would then sell the returned cars at auction. In 1999, manufacturers lost an average of $480 on each returned car (the auction price was, on average, $480 less than the residual value).