SEMA eNews Vol. 12, No. 16, April 23, 2009

SEMA PADI: Index Down but Appearance Product Plans Up

In April, the SEMA Performance Parts and Accessories Demand Index (PADI) dropped to an all-time low, going from 30 in March to 26 this month. This time last year, the SEMA PADI reading came in at 56 points. In April, 7% of adult American drivers indicated that they had plans to purchase specialty-equipment products sometime within the next three months.


The SEMA PADI dropped to 26 points in April, 30 points less than in April 2008.

The percentage of consumers intending to purchase appearance and accessory products over the next three months, however, showed a slight increase over last month for consumers aged 25 years or older. Overall, 3% of consumers surveyed said they plan to purchase appearance and accessory products. As consumers opt to hold on to their vehicles longer, they are looking to specialty-equipment products to maintain, if not enhance, the appearance of their aging cars and trucks.

About 4% of consumers said that they were likely to purchase wheels, tires and suspension components, while 3% said they were likely to purchase racing and performance products. In both cases, this is a decline from both March purchase intentions and those from this time last year.


About 4% of consumers said that they were likely to purchase wheels, tires and suspension components, while 3% said they were likely to purchase racing and performance products. 4% said they were likely to purchase specialty accessories and appearance products.

Over the last three months, on average, fullsize cars (22%) were the most common target vehicles for enhancement or modification, followed by midsize cars (20%), pickups (13%) and compact cars (11%).


By vehicle type, fullsize and midsize cars were most often targeted for modification by consumers planning to purchase.

When specialty-equipment buyers were asked what form their vehicle would take after customization, this month the most common answer was “general personalization” or restyling (46%), followed by “street performance” (15%) and “off-road” (10%). Fewer consumers planned to perform “restyling” modifications compared to last year, but in several cases they chose a more specific type of modification. This may be attributed to fewer “mainstream” consumers planning specialty-equipment purchases, leaving a higher ratio of “enthusiasts” making purchase plans.


Over the past three months, after restyling, street-performance-, restoration- and offroad-type moderations were most planned. — SEMA Research & Information Center

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