Just when you think you've seen every possible variation of cars and trucks, some company introduces a model that surprises everyone.
There was a time when no one thought Mercedes or BMW ever would consider producing SUVs. But not only did they build SUVs; they built them in the United States.
Everyone knew that the station wagon was dead after the introduction of the minivan and, later, the SUV. Yet regardless of what automakers call them, there is a rush to reintroduce the station wagon in the United States.
We all knew there was no way a luxury brand such as Cadillac or Lincoln could ever sell a pickup.
But take a look at the Cadillac Escalade EXT. And although Lincoln had disastrous results with the Blackwood, it seems as though it is ready to try a pickup again.
Whatever conventional wisdom might be, it's probably best to ignore it. When someone tells you that something can't be done or that everything has been done already, watch out; you are about to be surprised.
The most exciting part of the automobile business is new products.
Everyone wants to be a car guy, even though there aren't that many real car people around.
It is not often that someone invents a new category of vehicle. So it's exciting when they pull off the cover at an auto show and you see something new. That's the way it was with the minivan.
We're seeing more innovative vehicles at motor shows and on the street. And you can expect product innovation, both home runs and strikeouts, as consumers make their choices. For example, customers decide whether to give up their SUVs for sport wagons (crossover vehicles, as some call them).
If customers don't like something, no rebate is big enough to change their minds.
Every season, some manufacturer somewhere in the world is introducing an innovation aimed at the U.S. market. And before long that vehicle is in dealerships across this country.
These days the business is fed by two things: Customers want an endless supply of new products, and they want substantial rebates on those products two weeks after they're introduced.