Business Opportunities

Restyling Rebound

The restyling market experienced a steady decline in sales at the retail level from 2007 through 2009, according to SEMA research, going from $4.23 billion in 2007 to $3.79 billion in 2009. The main factor contributing to the fall in the market was the recession, which led to a major decline in vehicle sales. With available vehicle inventory on the downturn, a factor that may not adversely affect the more traditional specialty automotive markets, the decline changed the landscape of the restyling market. For OEMs, assembly lines were streamlined, factories were closed, trim levels were reduced or reconfigured, and the once lengthy list of available accessory options was scaled back.

Building a Better Restoration Market

The bedrock of the automotive specialty-equipment industry is the parts that are used to build, restore and modify vehicles of all types. Every segment of the industry counts on parts that are properly designed, engineered and manufactured to operate as promised. Within the restoration segment, however, those standards are complicated by the fact that the vehicles involved are anywhere from two decades to nearly a century old.

Expand Your Brand

About this product:

Adapting to a need to deploy troops anywhere in the world, U.S. military forces find themselves requiring trucks and transportation equipment more than ever before. This trend has created a steady opportunity for businesses in the automotive aftermarket to expand their customer base, while helping to supply the military with quality specialty-equipment products. High-performance brakes and engine equipment, blast-attenuating seats and specialized equipment for vehicles operating at high altitudes and in challenging terrain are among the parts in demand.

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Hot-Rod Products and Trends

   

The hot-rod market—the granddaddy of the automotive specialty-equipment industry—has seen some significant changes over the last few years based on both demographic and economic factors. The desire for modern amenities and advanced technology has increased with the aging of the Baby Boom generation. Styles and equipment have evolved to match those desires. From air suspension to classic gauges fitted with modern movements, and from keyless ignition to drive-by-wire throttle controls, the hot-rod world is keeping pace with developments in the rest of the automotive universe.

Chinese Car Dealers Selling Aftermarket Accessories?

Scott Wood couldn’t have imagined that being named the Time magazine 2010 Dealer of the Year would be his ticket to China, but it was. Wood, who owns Chevrolet and Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep dealerships in the small town of Batesville, Arkansas, was invited to China to give a presentation to Chinese car dealers on selling accessories in dealerships. Wood sells quite a few Jeep accessories, so he naturally illustrated his presentation with examples of Mopar and aftermarket-branded Jeep accessories.

What’s in the Box?

About this product:

Packaging is about more than protecting a product during shipping, handling and storage. It’s an extension of the product itself. When properly executed, good packaging reduces costs while branding and promoting the company and the product to consumers. Ultimately, it’s all about promise and performance to the buyer.

Packaging has evolved significantly over the past four to five decades. According to Diana Twede, Ph.D., a professor at the Michigan State University School of Packaging, one of the greatest contemporary trends can be summed up in a single word: Plastics.

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