Market Snapshot


The Dodge Challenger evokes nostalgia for past styles.

For more than 50 years, hot rodding has been an integral part of the specialty-equipment industry, and with automakers' revival of past styles and growing market sales, it is clear that this hobby has managed to stay current and is far from fading.

In 2007, retail sales for street performance reached $2.19 billion. Retail sales for street rod/custom and restoration reached $1.06 billion and $1.49 billion, respectively. Retail sales for each of these niches grew more than 3.5% from 2006.

The popularity of hot rodding has prompted automakers to revive nostalgic styles in the past 10 years, such as with the Dodge Challenger. The reintroduction of the Chevrolet Camaro, set to go on sale in 2009, is much anticipated by hot rodders and baby boomers alike. The Chevrolet Corvette has remained a popular sports car and musclecar since its introduction in 1953.

Each year, SEMA conducts its Automotive Lifestyle Survey. More than 3,300 automotive enthusiasts completed the survey. Approximately 26% of the total respondents were hot-rod enthusiasts. Of this group, 87% purchased custom parts and accessories for a vehicle within the past year. Of those, 42% purchased custom parts for Chevrolets; 25% purchased parts for Fords; 5% purchased parts for Dodge cars; and 6% purchased parts for Pontiacs. 

The top accessories already purchased by this group include: performance air filter replacements; exhaust kits; exhaust headers; intake manifolds; camshaft/valvetrains; cold air intake conversions; brake kits (performance); transmissions (performance upgrade); braided engine hoses; pistons/connecting rods/rings/crankshafts; and performance plumbing.

"The racing and performance side continues to be a cornerstone of the specialty-equipment market," said SEMA Market Research Special Projects Manager Megan McKernan. "The results of the Automotive Lifestyle Survey show that many of the top-selling products purchased by hot-rod enthusiasts are performance-related."

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