Getting to Know WTC Members and the WTC Measurement Database
The Wheel and Tire Council (WTC) recently caught up with a couple of new members to learn more about their companies and their experiences in the industry. Meet Ann Fladger of Allure Custom Automotive and Steve Hamilton of AnthemWheels.com.
Name: Ann Fladger
Position: Co-founder and CEO of Allure Custom
Automotive Location: Pennington, New Jersey
Company Overview: Specializes in selling some of the highest-quality aftermarket wheels, tires and body kits at some of the most competitive prices on the market, but the primary goal is to bring a broader awareness of the custom wheel and accessories industry.
Trends and Opportunities: Statistically, automotive consumers are holding on to their vehicles for longer periods, and auto manufacturers are making very competitive deals to encourage new-vehicle purchases. Manufacturers have also been doing an incredible job of putting some very stylish and powerful vehicles on the market. Each of these trends blends perfectly with the customization and accessories industry. Essentially, consumers are looking to beautify what they already own and further customize new purchases to add their personal touch of style. Another very interesting trend that Fladger has noticed is that individualism, personal expression and style are becoming even more important with the onset of more and more (and more) reality TV.
Advice for Newcomers: “The advice that I would give to any newcomer would be to get involved with SEMA,” Fladger said. “The association has been an incredible resource to Allure Custom Automotive, our business goals and industry initiatives. I would also give them the same advice that Conrad Hilton once received on his way to the top: ‘If you want to launch big ships, you have to go where the water is deep.’ Simply put, align your business goals with your actions.”
Name: Steve Hamilton
Position: Co-founder of AnthemWheels.com
Company Overview: Hamilton believes that AnthemWheels.com is unlike any other wheel company in that it uses its fan base to assist in designing a wheel and bringing it to market. The company created Team Anthem, in which any fan can sign up to be a part of the team at no cost. AnthemWheels.com brings a design to members of the team in its very early stages, asks them to rate the wheel and also asks them to suggest any design tweaks or pitch ideas on how they think the company might better serve its base with that particular style. The company may then revise the wheel based upon the team’s suggestions at least once (“We’ll re-survey a few times, if needed,” Hamilton said), and if Team Anthem ultimately rates the wheel high enough, it’s sent into production. “We feel that we’ve also revolutionized the distribution method,” Hamilton said. “We’re selling direct to the end user—no middle men. This allows us to protect our pricing, and control the entire customer experience. We’re already seeing just how impacting this process is to our customers. Frankly, they love it—particularly when we’re pairing a set of Anthem wheels with any of the more than $1,000,000 in tires that we stock.”
Trends and Opportunities: Every year the market is shifting to Internet-based purchases, and Anthem is capitalizing on that. There is also a high demand for off-road, aggressive fitments and all-terrain and mud-terrain tires. AnthemWheels.com took advantage of that by designing some aggressive wheel fitments and stocking a broad array of off-road tires.
Advice for Newcomers: “It’s amazing how many people are actually selling wheels that they private label,” Hamilton noted. “I’d say it’s most important to really differentiate yourself from the rest of the market to be able to enjoy success in distributing product that you work so hard to bring to market.”
Wheel Measurement Database
In 2014, the SEMA Garage featured 20 new and pre-release vehicles for measuring sessions in Diamond Bar, California. These sessions gave members free, hands-on access to measure and evaluate new vehicles for product applications.
WTC understands that travel requirements and scheduling conflicts can restrict member access to these measuring opportunities. To answer that challenge and provide a concrete benefit to WTC manufacturer members, the council has begun a new program to provide free wheel-measurement data on new vehicles accessible through regular SEMA Garage measuring sessions. Data for the ’15 Ford Mustang GT, the ’15 Hyundai Genesis 3.8 and the 2015 Chevy Colorado LT are already available, but new content will be added regularly according to the 2015 measuring session schedule. All relevant vehicle specifications and common measurements of the wheel and brake assemblies are included. For more information, visit www.sema.org/wtc.