Market Snapshot


Despite vehicle sales and certain specialty-equipment sales being down in a market plagued by recessionary fears and rising gas prices, certain specialty-equipment sales for niche markets are still going strong. According to Chad Simon of Styling & Performance, the markets for racing, hot rods, musclecars and compact-performance vehicles have been relatively unaffected by recent socio-economic trends.

The market for certain specialty-equipment parts this year has been unforgiving and can be especially felt in the SUV and light-truck market, where large custom wheels and lift kits are the norm. The market for smaller vehicles has not seen the negative impacts. Simon notes that “smaller 16-, 17- and 18-inch wheels for compact cars are currently thriving in the marketplace, not only because of the bling factor, but because they are more fuel-efficient.”

Other markets that do not relate specifically to the sales of fuel-efficient vehicles have also not experienced sales declines. The market for racing and performance products has not experienced the same sales reductions, and the same goes for the market for accessories and appearance products.

Sales for upsized wheels and tires have been hit hardest, but the general market has bright spots. This is good news for SEMA members who can still benefit from the markets for racing and performance parts and the avenues for accessories and appearance products. Those two markets jointly represent 75.5% of the total market for specialty equipment and nearly $28 billion in annual sales, according to SEMA research.

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