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.
The Diesel-engine vehicle market in Turkey is booming, due to increasing fuel prices. The rapid increase of the fuel prices in Turkey has changed the buying habits of Turkish automobile owners. In fact, Turkish customers are paying the highest gas prices in all of Europe. On every liter of fuel, almost 56% paid is tax. The current price of fuel per liter is $2.35. As a result, owners are looking for cheaper alternate solutions. The result is that that in 2006, the market share of diesel automobiles reached 49% of the total sales market in 2006.
The Compact Performance market seems to be evolving at breakneck speeds. We have cataloged its progression over the past few years, but wanted to take a slightly new approach to presenting information this time around. This report covers the standard breakdown of the segment but adds a supplemental introduction to a side of Japanese tuning most people have barely, if never, been exposed to. Some of these concepts may or may not materialize outside of Japan, but they have begun to surface in magazines, forums and at events with potential to influence the market. Since 1998 the Compact Performance market has continued to expand. In 2006, the niche reached $5.96 Billion at the retail level, increasing 18.18% over the previous year.
We saw it a few years ago. Young car buyers were accessorizing their rides primarily with “dress-up” parts such as big wings, race inspired body kits, and a host of dress-up modifications. This may sound like the sport compact market of yesterday, but that market as we know it today has shifted more toward performance with appearance almost becoming secondary. So what has happened to that consumer who wants his or her car to look “cool” and is less concerned with performance? The answer may lie in what is known as the urban-lifestyles market. Much like the divergence of the street rods and lowriders decades ago, enthusiasts are divided among those that build their vehicles for performance and those that personalize their rides with style in mind. These consumers modify the cars and trucks they buy to reflect their own unique personalities and spend a lot of money making their rides look different from others on the road. Why should SEMA members care about the urban-lifestyles market? The biggest reason: this market represents a new way for manufactures to market their products and, ultimately, make more money doing it.
As an industry, the companies involved in producing, selling and installing automotive performance parts and accessories are not readily recognized by the average consumer. But when it comes to the products that the industry provides, consumers quickly relate them to freedom of choice—the choice of having a car or truck just the way you want it. Performance parts and accessories give consumers the choice to adapt their vehicles to how they see themselves, to how they drive, and to how they live.
The significance of the Compact Performance Market is now incontestable. Unlike many novelties in the automotive world, the popularity of compact cars has not receded like many critics once thought. Currently the phenomenon is still growing—retail sales grew from $4.11 billion in 2004 to $5.04 billion n 2005. Instead of an industry dominated by cheap aesthetics and fake performance, compact car tuning has evolved into a verifiable market. Once laughable, the industry supporting “ecoboxes” and “rice rockets” has covered more ground than many competing genres.
Pickup-truck owners are increasingly aware of performance parts and accessories available for their trucks. In fact, in some cases the truck they select and where they purchase it are determined by the availability of performance parts and accessories. We have seen shifts in the popularity of various products used to modify pickup trucks. Some of these shifts are caused by options built into the truck at the factory; some are caused by changes in consumer lifestyle preferences; some are brought about by new technology; and others are the result of fashion shifts within our culture. The data presented in this report cover more than 10 years and come from a number of sources. The 2006 consumer data represent the responses of 6,314 owners or lessees, and principal drivers of 2005 or 2006 model year pickup trucks. The 2004 data are from 1,714, 2003 or 2004 model year pickup-truck owners.
Spain car sales are expected to achieve a new record with volume projected to reach more than 1.6 million units in 2005. The record follows a 9% sales increase that resulted in an unprecedented 1.5 million new passenger vehicle sales in 2004. Small-size cars are the most popular choice of Spanish consumers, although light truck sales are growing rapidly and represented 18% of the total in 2004. Spain is the fifth-largest car market in Europe, trailing Germany, France, the UK and Italy. Spain is among the top five markets for the specialty industry and is therefore very important. “We do more business in Spain than we do in France,” noted Thomas Wunderlich of McGard.
Brazil has all the ingredients to grow into a strong market for specialty and performance parts and accessories. “The people are passionate about cars, trucks and motorsports and there is great interest among young people in tuning,” noted SEMA President and CEO Chris Kersting, who recently returned from a trip to Brazil.
The performance parts and accessories industry has become increasingly interested in the perceptions and attitudes of pickup truck owners. Foresight Research conducted a study of this group in May and June of 2004. The most recent study prior to this had been conducted in 1999. Some of the information in this report was taken from the 2004 Full Size Pickup Truck Accessory Market & Option Packaging Study. The study included the current owners or lessees and principal drivers of 2003 and 2004 model year, full-size pickup trucks purchased between January 2003 and April 2004. A total of 38,245 households were contacted via telephone, and 1,714 qualified surveys were conducted.