While the automotive industry as a whole has suffered from a doom-and-gloom washing, the specialty-equipment industry has benefited from some insulation. Many of the pessimistic attitudes are warranted and paint a rosy picture would be misleading. Feedback from enthusiasts, however, portrays a resiliency that should not be forgotten.
SEMA has asked consumers about the relationship between fuel prices and specialty-equipment spending. Without a doubt, as fuel prices increased during the first half of 2008, there were groans of doubt regarding future purchases.
The tipping point for spending appeared when fuel prices surpassed the $4/gallon mark and 38% claimed that they would begin to curtail spending if prices continued climbing an additional $.50–$1/gallon.
Many respondents took the liberty to submit their opinions candidly and offered variations of the same theme: "Doesn't matter, I enjoy my musclecar" and "Price of gas will not deter me, ever.”
Not all responses were as optimistic, but since customizing can be a deeply passionate hobby, enthusiasts indicated that they would find a way to keep their hobby alive.
Hot-rod, street-rod and musclecar fans are especially unwavering. When asked about future purchases, they supplied the data shown at top. Displayed are the top 20 products and services hot-rod, street-rod and musclecar consumers plan to purchase within the next year. This mix includes traditional popular items and does not signal much of a radical departure from conventional attitudes. Despite a maelstrom of economic and social burdens, some things remain the same.