Small cars are hot. All the talk about fuel economy and high gasoline prices has made them the big winners in the first six months of this year.
Big trucks are hot. All the talk about fuel economy and lower gasoline prices has made them the big winners in the first six months of the year.
What's going on? Well, both statements are true.
Still, how can both segments do well at the same time? It is sort of like the fellow who drowns in a river where the average depth was 2 feet. The trouble was there were some spots 20 feet deep and others only 6 inches deep.
This is a big country with lots of different tastes and buying habits.
A couple of weeks ago, Kurt Kohler of Enterprise was at Automotive News talking about the rental car business. Enterprise is the largest of the rental car giants, and it was interesting to learn how it relies on local managers to decide what kinds of cars to acquire.
The same is true of retail car sales. We're kidding ourselves when we look at national averages and think that they apply to every dealer in every corner of the nation.
I have no doubt that there are plenty of differences across the country. It is dangerous to try to predict or understand buying habits when we're talking about so many different regional tastes.
My guess is that trucks have always been hot in places such as Texas and Montana. Those are truck territories. Meanwhile, I assume that in urban areas such as Washington, D.C., small cars are popular, not just for their fuel economy but because of the limited space for parking.
The middle part of America may look something like the national average in terms of car buying, but even that is dangerous to assume.
That's the trouble with averages. If you are not careful, you could drown in 2 feet of average depth.