The third quarter of 2008 took quite a beating—gas prices skyrocketed, vehicle sales dropped, consumer confidence tanked—but depending on what type of consumers being considered, things may not be as bad as one may think. Sure, consumers, in general, felt less optimistic during the summer months, but those that are considered “enthusiasts” may have helped keep the industry moving forward. Throughout the pages of this report, several sets of statistics from surveys and industry sources will help to provide an overall snapshot of Q3 2008.
Motorsports of all varieties and the products that support them are acknowledged as the unchallenged cornerstones of the specialty equipment market. Performance manufacturer sales reached $2.43 billion in 2007, up 44% in the last 5 years and up 72% from 1993. Manufacturer sales of performance parts for the light-truck market, for example, have grown a total of 33% since 2001, with a jump of 4.3% between 2006 and 2007. Across the United States, there are 1,010 oval tracks, 776 dirt tracks, 238 paved tracks, 292 dragstrips and 76 road courses. This means that on any given weekend, there are potentially more than 100 racing events taking place across the country.
High fuel prices cut into the budgets of most drivers. As gasoline surpassed $4/gallon, 28% of enthusiasts claimed they would spend less on modifications if prices increased another $.50/gallon. Alternative Fuel Vehicles (AFVs) are more common than people may recognize. Over 11 million AFVs have been produced. They have also held a steady role providing the muscle behind corporate and municipal fleets for the better part of two decades. Depending on application, some AFVs illustrate no discernable decrease in performance in comparison to their petroleum counterparts and in many ways offer benefits.
The 2008 Q2 Quarterly Update offers readers an update to some regularly occurring items: new-vehicle sales and forecasts as well as the SEMA Performance Parts and Accessories Demand Index (PADI). However, the third section of this report offers something new: insight into how SEMA members rate business trends, which serves to benchmark the activities of the current specialty-equipment industry.
Open to non-members. The 2008 Q2 Quarterly Update offers readers an update to some regularly occurring items: new-vehicle sales and forecasts as well as the SEMA Performance Parts and Accessories Demand Index (PADI). However, the third section of this report offers something new: insight into how SEMA members rate business trends, which serves to benchmark the activities of the current specialty-equipment industry.
The light-truck niche continues to represent the largest portion of the specialty equipment market for both manufacturer and retail sales. In particular, pickup trucks have been the backbone of the light truck market for aftermarket parts. Pickups are often lifted or lowered. They are accessorized with big wheels and tonneau covers. And they are used to tow boats, race cars and toy haulers. There are two types of pickup-truck buyers: the mainstream consumers and the enthusiasts. Consumers typically purchase pickups for work or utility purposes. The enthusiasts, however, tend to buy pickups simply because they love trucks. Enthusiasts are more likely to own toys that need to be towed to the deserts, lakes and race tracks, and are most interested in accessorizing their vehicles.
In 2006, retail sales of specialty automotive products reached $36.73 billion. Since 1996, the automotive-specialty-equipment industry has grown 104.7% over the course of 11 years. During that same time, the average annual increase in industry sales was 7.31%. During the same time period the average increase in new-vehicle sales averaged 1.07% per year. Obviously, although new-vehicle sales have a significant impact on industry sales, there are more factors at work.
Open to non-members. The 2008 Q1 Update offers a compilation of vehicle sales data and forecasts for each segment, as well as a year-over-year analysis of January-March SEMA PADI, offering readers insight into the types of consumers who are purchasing specialty equipment. In the following pages there is also extensive coverage of the three major OEM auto shows, held early in the year; and the report examines some of the new-vehicle debuts that are significant to the specialty-equipment industry.
In 2007, small groups of consumers who attended an NHRA event in Englishtown, New Jersey and a NOPI event in Atlanta, Georgia were asked a series of questions, relating to their car customization behavior, during focus panel discussions. Audience members that attended each respective focus panel were asked the same questions, and the two groups’ answers are compared within the pages of this report.