Big motors in big Chevys aren't new to lowrider and traditional urban-lifestyle enthusiasts, but performance is more of a priority with the new crop of urban lifestyle enthusiasts.

The urban-lifestyle market has recently displayed their desire for a performance-geared vehicle, with performance-modifying products appearing on the 2007 list of top 10 specialty-equipment purchases made by urban-lifestyle enthusiasts, a list which previously consisted predominately of appearance-focused products.

Appearance-products are still the mainstay of the urban-lifestyle market, with 51% of purchases consisting of polish/wax, and 50% of window tinting. However, performance air filter replacement appeared on the list for the first time, and made the top three cut with a 49% share. Tires tied for third place.  Air intake – cold air intake conversion, which was also absent from the 2006 list, followed closely (47%), along with alarm system, and exhaust kit – pipes/muffler/etc. Rounding out the list were wheels (45%), stereo speaker/amplifiers (43%), and exterior lighting (42%).

"These enthusiasts are all about owning, maintaining and showing off their uniquely personalized vehicle. To them, a custom car or truck is an expression of their own lifestyle,” said SEMA Market Research Analyst Ty Michael. “Compared to others surveyed, urban enthusiasts were more motivated to customize their vehicles to merely differentiate it from other similar cars and trucks on the road. However, as these consumers are learning more about the benefits of some performance add-ons, the urban market is starting to expand beyond the purely aesthetic modifications.”

Enthusiasts are continuing to learn about the advantages of engine modifications, such as performance exhausts and air filters, which restore some of the horsepower often robbed by the extra-large custom wheels typically fitted on enthusiasts' vehicles.

"We make several systems for the [urban-lifestyle] market, and all appear to be doing very well in spite of high gas prices," said Larry Noris, vice president of sales for Magnaflow, a manufacturer of performance exhausts. "I do not see this market slipping, but growing from all the indications we have."

In fact, increasing gas prices could be contributing to the reasons enthusiasts are exploring the benefits of performance-enhancing products, specifically parts that help improve fuel economy. During the months the list was compiled, the average price for a gallon of regular gasoline was 18% higher in 2007 compared to the same time in 2006, according to U.S. Department of Energy data.

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