Today's WSJ has a frontage story making an argument I've long advocated – statistics are ruining baseball. People don't want to see constant defensive shifts and pitcher changes. Chris Rock was essentially right when he said baseball isn't black enough, but what he really meant was aggressive enough. We no longer have Bob Gibson or Doc Ellis brushing back batters. Nor do we have Ricky Henderson and Lou Brock stealing more than 100 bases each season. Some people argue that statistics allow them to appreciate the game more, but this is a niche market and if you could make money appealing to a niche market, there would have been more than one feature film in Esperanto.
So what does this have to do with the car business? The answer, of course, is that many dealers these days take a data-driven approach to stocking their lots. I'm not advocating that people go back to guessing what they should sell, because that leads to expensive mistakes. I am saying that you have to realize there are trade-offs to this approach. And so the process might not prove as automatic as we like to believe.