Retailers and distributors have a more optimistic sales outlook for the next three months than manufacturers.
About this product:Record high gasoline prices were realized during the summer of 2008, with serious ramifications for commuters (especially those with long commutes and/or low mpg vehicles like pickup trucks and SUVs), automobile manufacturers, and the overall economy. The Automobile Club of Southern California and SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) decided to try and help this situation by holding a competition show-casing automotive aftermarket products that could provide improved fuel efficiency (at least for motorists who don’t take advantage of the performance improvements – you leadfoots know who you are!). Thus was born the SEMA/ACSC MPG Challenge. The challenge was issued to SEMA member companies that manufacture aftermarket driveline parts. They were to supply parts for installation on a test vehicle, the Club’s AUTOMOTIVE RESEARCH CENTER (ARC) would perform the testing, and SEMA would announce the winners at their annual Show in Las Vegas November 3-8, 2008.
About this product:Adaptive cruise control (ACC) is an in-vehicle convenience feature designed to maintain a set speed and, when applicable, adjust the set speed to maintain a specified distance from a lead vehicle. When following another vehicle, the ACC system will automatically slow down or speed up in responses to changes in the lead vehicle’s speed. Adaptive Cruise Control systems are still relatively new technologies and are not widely available within the U.S. passenger vehicle fleet. One in eight Americans is 65 or older, and this proportion will continue to grow as the American population ages. It is possible that new technologies such as ACC can assist older drivers to drive more safely with less stress, thus extending their safe driving years.
SEMA manufacturing members report that the portion of their products sold directly to consumers has grown compared to last year—from 24% in 2008 to 34% in 2009.
Consumers know they want or need a new vehicle soon, but
they do not have a strong feeling about what that new purchase will be.
Detroit has long been regarded as the car production capital of the world. The historic metropolis is nicknamed “Motor City” for a reason. It's the place where Chrysler, Ford Motor Company and General Motors established an industrial epicenter and where they are still headquartered to this day. Recently, however, the news coming out of Detroit has been more a continual flow of doom and gloom.
Consumers are turning their eyes towards new vehicles again. The findings from recent reports are showing upward, although minimal, gains in market confidence.
Despite the tough economy taking the toll on specialty-equipment sales this year, SEMA members are still investing their profits in marketing—just in different ways. When companies were asked in a recent survey how they invest their marketing dollars, the no. 1 avenue was car shows, giving credence to the value of one-to-one contact with their customers.
About this product:
The specialty-equipment industry took a hit in 2008 as consumers scaled back their purchases—new vehicle sales dropped 35% during the third quarter alone, for example—but depending on the type of consumers analyzed, spending varied significantly. “Mainstream” consumers, those less likely to view automotive customization as a hobby or lifestyle, were often targeted by specialty-equipment companies as they began marketing to the general vehicle-buying public. As consumers, in general, cut back on new-vehicle purchases and subsequent personalization of newly acquired vehicles, much of the specialty-equipment industry suffered.
Ford is the most common nameplate represented at the SEMA Show, followed closely by Chevrolet-branded vehicles.