Despite higher gas prices, the off-road market for 2007 showed 1.462 billion dollars in retail sales.
Off-roading is an important niche for the specialty-equipment industry. Not only are there specific vehicle parts that are sold, but also supplementary goods. According to a SEMA survey of its members, 61% of the respondents have some portion of their business come from the off-road niche, and 40% of these members predict 2008 sales growth to head in the positive direction. In addition, of the business that Off-Road Business interviewed, 69% of the businesses expect to meet or exceed their 2007 sales goals. SEMA members can take confidence in knowing that the off-road industry can take a stand during economic hardship.
Despite higher gas prices, the off-road market for 2007 showed 1.462 billion dollars in retail sales. This is up 6% from the 2006 retail sales figures. The growth in this niche of specialty equipment could be in danger from fuel prices. The sales for light trucks have declined over the past two quarters, with light-truck sales for last April declining to 14% of the new-vehicle market share. This is down from 16.4% in April one year ago.
Modifications for off-road suspension and tires also affect gas mileage. According to howstuffworks.com, “All-season tires produce less friction and therefore roll more freely to the benefit of fuel economy. They're generally lighter than all-terrain or off-road tires, and less weight means better fuel economy. They also ride more quietly, handle better and wear longer.” Data from SEMA’s Automotive Lifestyles study confirms this: New off-road tires were the top accessorization choice among off-road enthusiasts, followed by air intakes and exhausts.
Jim Spoonhower, SEMA vice president of market research and information, mentions in the 2007 SEMA Market Study: “Many off-road vehicles, and the specialty equipment purchased for them, never venture off paved streets and highways.” Because of this, enthusiast looking for an off-road vehicle look may personalize their vehicle in a way that also helps to make their hobby more economical.