Study: Specialty-Equipment Influences Auto Sales

SEMA News—March 2011

  Chris Kersting, SEMA President and CEO  
   
The specialty-equipment industry and automakers have come a long way in developing a relationship that is mutually beneficial.

More and more, OEMs see that the availability of accessories improves their dealers’ ability to sell vehicles. And they acknowledge that aftermarket manufacturers, who are in touch with enthusiastic car owners, are often the first to recognize important trends. Smart dealers are increasingly recognizing that a customized vehicle in the showroom can bring more customers through the door and get them more excited about a purchase. But until now, there was not much real data on the “accessory effect.”

Recently, SEMA asked AutoPacific to collect and analyze consumer data to measure the effect that specialty-equipment products have on sales of new vehicles. They studied the effects of accessorized vehicles on both new-vehicle purchasers who modified their vehicle and those who did not. The results carry important news for the automotive industry—and the first of two stories summarizing the data appears starting on p. 96 of this issue.

A key finding: aftermarket products influence at least 1.1 million new-vehicle sales each year. An interesting wrinkle is that those new-car buyers who were influenced report the highest level of satisfaction with their vehicle. In short, accessorized vehicles not only inspire a customer to buy, but accessories make customers more satisfied with the purchase.

This enlightened understanding forms a compelling case for specialty-equipment manufacturers to work hand-in-hand with OEMs and their dealers. Where those relationships can be fostered, the net result is to sell more cars—and more accessories.

Here at SEMA, we look for ways to make it easier for OEMs, car dealers and specialty-equipment manufacturers to cooperate and grow their markets. Members who might want to broaden their sales to include new-car dealerships—or even OEM suppliers—can take advantage of a number of SEMA services and programs.

Measuring Sessions: Here’s your chance to get timely, hands-on access to new vehicles and talk directly to the automaker’s engineers and technical staff during a SEMA Measuring Session. SEMA Measuring Sessions are presented in conjunction with leading OEMs and give participating members the opportunity to get intimate, detailed information on today’s most popular cars and trucks.

Technology Transfer: A huge value for SEMA manufacturers—SEMA’s Technology Transfer program shares computer-aided design (CAD) data sourced directly from the OEMs. Members taking advantage of this program can reduce development cycle time and costs and have faster speed-to-market.

Rapid Prototyping Service: The SEMA Rapid Prototyping Service can produce an ABS plastic prototype of your design created at a substantially reduced, member-only rate, leading to earlier product validation by eliminating costly casting molds or CNC programming.

We hope you’ll get a chance to review our stories on the new “Accessory Influencers Study.” Taken as a whole, the data suggests that new opportunities are at hand for specialty-equipment manufacturers. SEMA is here to help.

—Chris Kersting, SEMA President and CEO

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