Top-Selling Pickups Still Popular for Customization

Last month, 11.4% (index = 43) of consumers surveyed said that they planned to purchase custom parts and accessories for their vehicle sometime within the next three months, according to the February SEMA Performance Parts and Accessories Demand Index (PADI). This is actually an increase from a January index of 36, or roughly 9.6% of consumers making purchase plans.

Of those consumers making purchase plans, 18.3% said that they plan to modify a pickup, up from 15.9% in January and the highest vehicle segment targeted for customization last month.

Pickup sales have been down. In February, sales declined 54% with several of the top-selling pickups last month experiencing an even greater dip. Still, as pickup sales plummet, one question arises: Why does the SEMA PADI show that the most popular vehicles targeted for future customization plans are still pickups?

Simply put, the number of pickups currently on the road today represents nearly one quarter (21%) of all of the vehicles registered in the United States. According to September 2008 data from Experian Automotive, current vehicle registrations included more than 51 million pickups registered.

The second table below shows a breakdown of these pickups by make. Specialty-equipment manufacturers and retailers hurting from the decline in new pickup sales could still find opportunity for sales growth in products for older pickups because owners are looking to make their current pickup last longer.

This could include enhancing the appearance, utility and performance with custom parts and accessories. Vehicle registration data is now available to SEMA members at no charge. To obtain data for any make, model or year of any vehicle in the United States and learn which older vehicle markets may be worth diversifying into, contact the SEMA Research & Information Center at

Total pickup sales declined 54% in February compared to the same period last year. The Chevrolet Silverado and Ford F-Series light-duty pickups outsold all other pickups last month.

There are currently more than 17 million Ford pickups registered in the United States today, the highest pickup make of the more than 51 million trucks currently registered. — SEMA Research & Information Center