The Motomart case is designed to supplement your Managerial/
Cost Accounting textbook coverage of cost behavior and variable
costing using real-world cost data and an auto-industryaccepted cost driver. Unlike textbook problems, this data is
real. It won’t necessarily produce a clear solution when you
attempt to analyze cost behavior and apply scatter-plot,
high-low, and regression methods to separate mixed costs
into their fixed and variable components. This case also
illustrates that Financial Accounting decisions and methods
can have an influence on Cost Accounting and Managerial
applications and decisions.
When you complete this case, you’ll be able to
• Explain the importance of accrual accounting and proper
application of the matching principle for the computation
of contribution margins and break-even points
• Apply knowledge of generally accepted accounting
principles (GAAP) to a specific real-world example
• Integrate statistical analyses and scatter plots, line
graphs, and regression to determine the reliability of
financial information prepared for external use
• Use analytical review procedures to examine a firm’s
• Apply critical-thinking skills to real-world
This case is based on real financial data provided by a retail
automobile dealership (Motomart) seeking to relocate closer
to an existing retail dealership. You’ll examine the mixed cost
data from Motomart and apply both high-low and regression
to attempt to separate mixed costs into their fixed and variable
components for break-even and contribution margin computations. You’ll find that the data is flawed because Motomart
was a single observation in a larger database. Don’t attempt
to correct the data (e.g., remove outliers or influential outliers).
You’ll be producing a scatterplot and apply high-low and
regression methods to the extent practicable and writing a
summary report of the findings.
Motomart operates a retail automobile dealership. The
manufacturer of Motomart products, like all automobile
manufacturers, produces forecasts. It has long been an
industry practice to use variable costing-based/break-even
analyses as the foundation for these forecasts, to examine
their cost behavior as it relates to the new retail vehicles
sold (NRVS) cost driver. In preparing this financial information,
a common financial statement format and accounting procedures manual is provided to each retail auto dealership.
The dealership is required to produce monthly financial
statements using the guidelines provided by this common
accounting procedures manual, and then furnish these
financial statements to the manufacturer. General Motors,
Ford, Nissan, and all other automobile manufacturers
employ similar procedures manuals.
The use of a common format facilitates the development of
composite financial statements that can be used to estimate
costs and produce financial forecasts for future or proposed
retail dealership sites (Cataldo and Kruck 1998). Zimmerman
(2003) suggests that as many as 77 percent of manufacturers
divide costs into variable and fixed components, and that
managers arrive at these estimates by classifying individual
accounts as being primarily fixed or primarily variable (67).
For this case, you’ll examine mixed costs as defined by the
manufacturer. Using the scatterplot, high-low, and regression
methods, separate these mixed costs into their fixed and
variable components. The data is problematic, and a clear
solution won’t exist. Don’t attempt to correct the data by
removing outliers, but make observations based on any patterns you observe. The case will expose you to actual data
and require you to summarize your findings, including any
conclusions you’re able to reach and why the financial data
makes it impossible to separate the mixed costs into their
fixed and variable components.
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