Buick, Chevrolet, or Dodge?

I walked the perimeter of Ancient Oaks Resort this evening, on errands. I signed us up for the golf league banquet, bought an $8 Mizuno driver to add to my golf bag, begged off from tennis tomorrow morning, and picked up our mail at the park post office. It is really neat living in this sort of neighborhood, where we can walk to everyone’s houses in short order.

Ancient Oaks Resort has 686 sites, all paved and with full hook-ups (water, sewer, electricity, and cablevision). Almost all sites are occupied. Less than 1/3 of the sites have motor homes or trailers. Most sites have a park model (single-wide with or without an added room along its length) on the site.

All sites have vehicle parking in front of the motor home or trailer or park model. And some sites have, in front of their dwelling unit, a car or truck, a boat, a golf cart, and bicycles. The age of residents (minimum age is 55, no maximum age) and their physical condition leads some to opt for three-wheeled bicycles and others for no cycle at all. Some, like us, walk a lot. Others use scooters, golf carts or their cars for in-park errands.

Each time I walk the park I seem to notice different things. Tonight, not for the first time, I was surveying the motor vehicle collection. It is not as varied as I would have thought. Let’s see how well you can guess the makes and models of the cars/trucks in this retirement community. I’ll ask you a series of questions in this short quiz, and give you the answers below.

1. What is the make of car most frequently found in this park?
2. What is the loudest motor vehicle in the park?
3. What is the second most annoying vehicle noise in this park?
4. How many of each of the following makes are represented in the park: Audi; BMW; Volvo?
5. How many of each of the following makes are here: Acura; Infiniti; Hummer; Mercedes; Saab; VW?
6. How many Honda automobiles (cars, not SUVs or vans) are here?

1. Buick
2. Mark’s truck, directly across the street from us
3. Golf cart back-up alarms — How long must people back up?
4. One each [but they’re such nice cars]
5. None [why none?]
6. Two — one Accord, one Civic. But there are many, many CRV SUVs and Odyssey vans.

How did you do? I would have flunked had I not written the test myself. And unless you are in this park you couldn’t have known the answer to #2 although you may, in any neighborhood, be able to relate. You really can’t help but learn, more than you wanted, about when they come and go, you know?

We weren’t surprised by Buick winning first place. And the relatively new and very popular Lucerne models have helped make Buick #1 in this park. If we honored second place, it would go to Chevrolet, helped especially by the Malibu and Impala models but also with some of the ultra small models.

But we were at first very surprised to find only two Honda cars and so few of the other former great imports. I wonder if this might reflect on the marketplace back home, where these folks are from. Toyota and Lexus are well-represented here, but not Honda or many other import models.

Could it be because, as another neighbor suggested, this park is “middle class”? Well, yes, perhaps to a degree. But given one more piece of information about the vehicles I think the answer may be more plain. Where is home to the owners of these vehicles?

Many of the residents of this park are from Michigan, Ohio, Iowa, and other big manufacturing states. I think we can count on one hand the number of residents from the northeast states, but Ohio, Iowa, Indiana, Illinois and Michigan might represent half of all residents. Do you think a retired person from Detroit would be more likely to own a Buick than a Volvo? Maybe so.

When I walk I am not counting, just noticing. I can’t walk and keep track of information very well. Information just leaks out, replaced or over-ridden by fresher content. None of the above is, nor is it intended to be, anything other than my observations and conjecture. Why do people buy this and not that? Marketing people are getting pretty darned good at this, but I don’t know why anyone does anything.

4 responses to “Buick, Chevrolet, or Dodge?

  1. How about motorcycles? How many Harley’s and Goldwings are there? Seems to me, I saw some when we visited there.
    When you come to St. Louis, you can do a survey of our neighborhood. (Only one Airstream parked occassionally for loading and unloading. Ours.)

    • You’re right, of course. A few 50cc jobs, two mini-bikes (remember them from the sixties?), maybe a dozen Harleys, and a few other mid-size bikes. We’ll look forward to seeing y’all in St Louis, and hopefully at International too. Madison is only a stone’s throw from your house, right?

  2. Excellent observations. And the back up alarms are annoying, but considering the average age of the park, may be necessary. We found it to be an excellent place for winter! There’s lots to do locally, as well as short drives to and from the coast. We want to come back there next year!!
    Middle-class or working-class. Both could apply, with a few exceptions like the Onion Man!

    • Yeah, the location is great. Three trips to the beach in the past three weeks, and we drove to the Everglades today — almost three hours each way to enter the National Park, and worth every minute. Wow! You’ll see the pictures after you read today’s blog, I left a link for the pics. Class recognition? Check out The Millionaire Next Door, if you haven’t already. The ones to watch don’t show any money — they are keeping it instead of showing it. An interesting suggestion. . .

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