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NEW CHEVY MALIBU SLOTS INTO PROMISING SPECIALTY-EQUIPMENT TERRITORY

After years of ceding ground to its Japanese rivals, GM plans an aggressive offensive back into the midsize sedan segment with its new, redesigned Chevrolet Malibu. The automaker plans a $100 million marketing blitz in an effort to re-awaken interest in its midsize offering and chip away at Toyota Camry and Honda Accord dominance.

HOW GM TRUCK/SUV PRODUCTION SLOWDOWN IMPACTS ACCESSORY SALES

GM’s plan to trim production at half a dozen North American plants—announced earlier this week—has heightened fears that the auto industry is in for a longer U.S. downturn than many had expected, according to report from The Wall Street Journal. The slowdown is intended to minimize excess supply in the third and fourth quarter and stave off the rebates and incentives that Detroit’s automakers traditionally have used to boost sales the past six years. 

TONNEAU COVERS OR RUNNING BOARDS—WHICH DO TRUCK OWNERS PURCHASE MOST OFTEN?

Pickup sales reached 1,576,875 units during the first seven months of this year, 80% of these being fullsize models. Each one of these new pickup owners represents a potentially new, or possibly repeat, customer for specialty-equipment companies that sell products for these trucks.  With that in mind, it helps to know what pickup owners have purchased for their trucks in order to make an educated guess as to what new pickup owners will purchase.

ENTHUSIAST INTEREST IN COMPLETE ENGINE PACKAGES ON THE RISE

While online auction sales of many individual engine components are down from the first and second quarter of 2007, one item has steadily risen throughout the year: complete engine packages.

In the first quarter, online auction sales of complete engine packages averaged $2,514,000, according to data from Terapeak, a developer of market-focused research software that monitors online sales and auctions. Sales then rose 3.6% in the second quarter thanks to a strong April that helped offset softer sales in May and June.

MODERN MUSCLECARS AND LIFESTYLE: INDUSTRY INSIGHTS INTO THE NEW SPORT-COMPACT SEGMENT

How has the sport-compact industry changed over the year? To help answer this question, SEMA turned to its Sport-Compact Council (SCC). The following is a short excerpt from the 2006 SEMA Compact Performance Market Report, which posts the results to this question.

NEW VEHICLE SALES DROP, BUT CONSUMERS STILL PLAN TO ACCESSORIZE

Despite drops in vehicle sales, SEMA market research shows that consumers are still planning on making specialty-equipment purchases. In July, 23% of adult drivers surveyed said they plan on purchasing specialty equipment in the next three months, which is actually a slight increase of 1% from June’s survey. Every month SEMA surveys a random sample of 1,000 U.S.

ENTHUSIAST INTEREST IN TURBOS AND SUPERCHARGERS ON BOOST IN JUNE, JULY

After a mid-year low in mid-May to mid-June, online auction sales of turbos and superchargers climbed back up mid-June through mid-August. Enthusiasts spent $1,478,853 on forced induction parts in the period May 20-June 18, a yearly low, but increased that spending to $1,527,658 the following month, and $1,584,978 a month after that.

HOW BIG IS THE HOT-ROD MARKET IN YOUR STATE?

What specialty-equipment market niche do you make products for? According to SEMA market research, about 12% of SEMA members surveyed said the hot-rod and custom market generates the greatest percentage of sales revenue for their company, second only to the light-truck market. For those companies in, or thinking about entering, the hot-rod market, SEMA market research provides vital statistics on the current state of this lucrative industry segment. The following is a short excerpt from the 2006 Hot Rod Industry Report:

TRUE VIP STYLE: JAPANESE TREND FINDS ITS NORTH AMERICAN NICHE

“VIP” is commonly tagged throughout American culture, but the acronym has permeated the hobby and lifestyles of automotive enthusiasts. While the root of the phrase is easy to understand, the usage as a specific car style is more equivocal. The main reason, and not to keep you waiting, is that VIP Style is not interchangeable with the traditional VIP meaning. The general label can be affixed to everything from extreme hospitality to the cars of the stars. But, VIP style from Japan demands a unique set of parameters.

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