Raise your hand if you know that 42% of the new vehicles being built in the United States aren't cars, they're light trucks. That's one part of the background necessary to explore the light truck custom wheel market.
Here are some other elements.
It's not always easy to sort out the different types of light truck vehicles, the differences in tire and wheel combinations, and the differences in owners.
Keep in mind that most of these potential customers were strictly car people just a few years ago. They still want a car-like ride, creature comforts and handling qualities.
And you will find these features in virtually every new compact pickup, full-sized pickup, mini-van, full-sized van, small sport utility vehicle, compact sport utility vehicle and full-sized sport utility vehicle.
There are new entries arriving regularly - including Chevrolet's Venture van (which seems to fit somewhere between compact and full-sized).
Enter also the Luxury Sport Utility Vehicle segment which mushroomed almost overnight and includes such upscale names as Lincoln, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz and Infiniti - with more to come.
Think of the light truck market as one still very much in its infancy, with as many collateral sales opportunities for you as there are numbers in the lottery.
Take custom wheels, for example.
In one recent issue of a car enthusiast magazine, you will find four wheel advertisers, two of them major national mail order houses.
Collectively, they represent 37 different custom wheel makers with photos of some 140 of their top-selling wheels.
Think of the challenge that represents in matching the tires and wheels you stock with customer demands!
Paula Simms, a product marketer for Ultra Wheels in Buena Park, Calif., offers this taste of how complex the light truck wheel market can be.
"We build 74 types of wheels for the aftermarket," …