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A 2008 SEMA survey reveals that the racing and performance market has seen a 26.5% growth over the last five years, going from manufacturer sales of $283 million in 2003 to $358 million in 2007.

The racing and performance market includes the racing and street performance niches, as well as the performance segment of the remaining seven SEMA market niches.

Manufacturer sales for street performance also grew from 2003 to 2007, from $635 million to $739 million, an increase of 16.4%.

Sales for performance parts across SEMA’s nine niches rose 38% over the same period, with 2003 sales of $1.76 billion growing to $2.43 billion in 2007. Manufacturer sales for performance parts represent about 18% of the total manufacturer sales for specialty-equipment parts.

"Performance parts represent nearly 18% of the sales for the specialty-equipment market,” said Megan McKernan, SEMA market research special projects manager. “The racing and performance section of the SEMA Show continues to hold the top spot in terms of size and number of booths, and consumers and enthusiasts alike often associate the specialty-equipment market with performance."

The current economy can be compared to what was demonstrated in 1991, when manufacturer sales for performance products dropped 6% from the previous year, and overall manufacturer sales dropped approximately 4%. But at that time, manufacturer sales for performance products increased 4% and those for the overall specialty-equipment market grew 9% in 1992. Considering the similarities between that time period and now, there is a good indication that the slump in sales will not be long-term and that the market will bounce back.

“The drag-racing market is still quite strong at this time with good sales at the track,” said Bob Ritzman, director of motorsports and customer service for B&M Racing. “However, the street performance market is a little weak.

Ritzman observed that gas prices have affected street-performance enthusiasts more than they had racers, because “racers will always find a way to get the car to the track.”

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