One of the most visible and recognizable products representing the specialty-equipment market is custom wheels, having experienced enormous growth since 1991. Retail sales have increased from $1.3 billion in 1991 to more than $4.5 billion in 2006, a 257% increase, according to SEMA research. That accounts for about 12% of the industry’s overall retail sales.
Automakers have taken notice of the trend, offering new vehicles with styled wheels. Manufacturers have in fact helped fuel the growth and acceptance of custom wheels. The percentage of cars produced with custom wheels has grown 26% over the past decade. Light trucks offered with custom wheels contributed their own growth, although at a more modest 1.3%.
And even with custom wheels being offered on new vehicles, a recent AutoPacific study found that around a third of all new-vehicle buyers intend to modify their vehicle by adding custom wheels, with compact and luxury car buyers the most likely (37.6% and 36.5%, respectively) to do so.
For more insight into the custom wheel market, pick up the November 2007 issue of SEMA News, and visit www.sema.org/research for more original market research produced by SEMA's Research & Information Center.