PRO-Member Restylers Give Their Takes on Current Trends in the Market

SEMA Member News—March 2018

PRO-Member Restylers Give Their Takes on Current Trends in the Market

By Jenny Galvan

  Chevrolet Silverado
  A restyled ’17 Chevy Silverado was on display at the PRO booth during the 2017 SEMA Show. Ginger Glover and her team at Truckers Toy Store restyled the truck, which will be auctioned off for charity.

In any market, trends usually come and go with the primary purpose of altering outward appearances. Some fads, like fuel, burn out fast. But some stay for the long run. When it comes to current trends in restyling, members of the Professional Restylers Organization (PRO) know what’s hot in the aftermarket world right now.

Customizing Trucks With Packaged Deals

Jared Cohen is CEO of Auto Action Group. His family started the restyling company, based in New Jersey, more than

40 years ago. For the last 12 years, he and his business partner, Joe Cardinale, have grown the company by expanding their product lines and opening additional locations in New York and Pennsylvania. The trends Cohen currently sees in his tri-state area stores are geared toward trucks.

“We see a lot of truck customizations, and we’ll do things such as blackout packages,” Cohen said.

A blackout package might include window tint, a black roof and black wheels, for example. Cohen noted that those packages can make a base model appear like a top-of-the-line vehicle without the hefty price an OEM might charge.

Josh Poulson also offers packaged deals at Auto Additions, based in Ohio. He has been with the company for more than 25 years and currently serves as its vice president.

“Right now, we’re still doing a lot of truck packages—meaning truck lifts, wheels and tires,” he said.

Such packages may include a 6-in. suspension lift along with bigger wheels and tires to emulate the appearance of a monster truck. Poulson believes that this type of truck customization isn’t necessarily limited to a select region.

“It’s caught on nationwide,” he said. “It was very regional, but now everybody is doing it. Even in the bigger metropolitan areas such as New York, Boston and Chicago.”

Ginger Glover is the owner of Truckers Toy Store, which has three locations in North Carolina. Her family-run business started 38 years ago, and she’s been running the company for more than 18 years. A lot of her business comes from retail sales, and she sees that restyling trends often vary by location.

“Each market is very different,” she said. “I have two stores located 42 miles apart, and one is 100 miles away from the other two. What’s hot in one market isn’t necessarily going to be hot in another market, so that makes it challenging for us in ordering product to keep in stock.”

Nevertheless, Glover does see a restyling trend across all three of her stores.

“Covers work for all three,” she said. “We restyle more trucks than we do SUVs, as far as full packages go. On a pickup truck, you can lift it, level it, [install] new rims and tires, and leather interior.”

Kevin McGowan is owner of Auto Trim Restyling. He also sees many dealerships asking for leather interiors. But beyond that, he has noticed a big push for blind-spot detection technology.

“I would say blind spots [detectors] have grown exponentially in the past years,” he said. “And I see that those types of electronics are going to continue to grow as awareness spreads and as factories make them standard on certain vehicles.”

Safety Products Are in Demand

In fact, all four of the PRO members agreed that there is a big push for safety products. Even though restyling refers to altering the outward appearance of vehicles in its purest definition, these restylers were privy to the demand for safety products.

“We are starting to see a big push for safety on fleet vehicles,” Cohen noted.

It makes sense that businesses with fleet vehicles would have safety top of mind, since they are liable for the safety of their drivers. However, Cohen brought up a good point about driving safety in general. Both he and Poulson are involved with the Vision Zero Movement, which calls for zero deaths on the road.

“One way to get zero deaths on the road is by installing aftermarket safety items,” he said, referring to the cars already on the road that don’t have safety technologies such as backup sensors and backup cameras. “OEMs are really emphasizing their safety products. We don’t need to worry about competing with them. Let’s use their brand awareness and go out and solicit the 280 million cars already on the road.”

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