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Distributors and Manufacturers Post March Gains; Retailers Less So

More than half of distributors queried for the recent SEMA Financial Benchmarking Report indicated that sales increased year-to-date through March, compared to the same period in 2009. More than half were also optimistic that sales would continue rising through the following three months.

New Techniques, Fewer Factory Options Fuel Restyling Resurgence

One of the most profound effects of the recession was the decline in U.S. vehicle sales, which plummeted from nearly 17 million in 2006 to about 10.6 million in 2009, according to Ward's AutoWorld. And while the downturn hobbled nearly every facet of the automotive aftermarket, some of the greatest damage occurred in the restyling category, whose very existence is predicated on available vehicle inventory. [Read more]

Sensing Recovery, Specialty-Equipment Companies Increase Equipment Spending

A Commerce Department report released two weeks ago showed capital spending plans rose 2.1% in May from April, and was 18.4% above its level a year ago. And despite jitters that some measure of economic recovery has slowed, The Wall Street Journal reports that companies including 3M and Cummins have stepped up equipment and manufacturing spending in anticipation of increased demand. 3M will spend an additional $3 billion on manufacturing this year, including a new Singapore plant to make films for solar panels.

Services and Accessories Fuel Powersports Market Rebound

Motorcycles and scooters play a key role in transportation systems throughout much of the world. Economical to own, maintain and use, easily navigated through tight, winding roads, a breeze to park and flat out fun to ride, they are primary conveyances in Asia and large segments of Europe. In the United States, however, motorcycles and other powersports machines, such as all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and side-by-side utility-type vehicle (UTVs), are viewed almost exclusively as luxury items—toys that enthusiasts prize but most mainstream consumers consider only for hobby or secondary use. [Read more]

SEMA Consumer Demand Index Tracks 25% Rise in Specialty Equipment Interest From Last Year

SEMA’s Consumer Demand Index for the month of May is up 25% over the same month last year. With a value of 40 for May, the index experienced a decrease of 8 points or 17% from April.

More Than Half of Industry Retailers Report Higher April Sales Than in 2009

Nearly half of retailers that responded to a SEMA survey think this will be a pretty good summer for specialty-equipment sales.

Consumer Demand Index Up 85% From a Year Ago

SEMA’s Consumer Demand Index (CDI) experienced yet another increase in April, going from 45 to 48. Representing a 7% increase, the CDI again matches closely with the Consumer Confidence Index which experienced an 11% increase from March to April. The April increase experienced by the CDI follows the ten-point increase from the month before and marks an 85% increase from April 2009. This could signal an indication that consumers are willing to purchase more products in the next few months—much needed good news for the specialty-equipment market.

Downloadable Vehicle Upgrades and Other Technologies That Will Affect Your Business

Every modern vehicle is dependent upon electronics. From the engine's ignition to sound systems, from safety sensors to climate controls, electronics have become integral to how vehicle operate and how their drivers perceive the on-road experience. And now electronics from outside the vehicle are resulting in a whole new wave of connectivity.

Opinion Leader Survey Finds Magazines Still Influence Enthusiast Buying Decisions

For the past several years, SEMA has been working to provide added value to participation in the annual industry trade show in Las Vegas. This past year, the association conducted a first-ever Enthusiast Opinion Leader Research Program at the SEMA Show that was intended to promote new products beyond the walls of the Las Vegas Convention Center and provide meaningful feedback to both exhibitor and attendee member companies.

Products and Preferences Shift as Light-Truck Market Evolves

The entire automotive landscape has changed over the past two years, but the effects of higher fuel prices and a deep recession may be most evident in the truck , sport-utility and off-road segments of the industry. Super-sized SUVs have been particularly hard hit, with sales dropping precipitously and one previously vaunted brand vanishing into the dust of a receding market.

Still, while ruts and rocks obscure the way, brighter vistas are coming into view.
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