Market Snapshot

New Techniques, Fewer Factory Options Fuel Restyling Resurgence

One of the most profound effects of the recession was the decline in
U.S. vehicle sales, which plummeted from nearly 17 million in 2006 to
about 10.6 million in 2009, according to Ward's AutoWorld. And while
the downturn hobbled nearly every facet of the automotive aftermarket,
some of the greatest damage occurred in the restyling category, whose
very existence is predicated on available vehicle inventory. [Read more]

Sensing Recovery, Specialty-Equipment Companies Increase Equipment Spending

A Commerce Department report released two weeks ago showed capital
spending plans rose 2.1% in May from April, and was 18.4% above its
level a year ago. And despite jitters that some measure of economic
recovery has slowed, The Wall Street Journal reports that companies
including 3M and Cummins have stepped up equipment and manufacturing
spending in anticipation of increased demand. 3M will spend an
additional $3 billion on manufacturing this year, including a new
Singapore plant to make films for solar panels.

Services and Accessories Fuel Powersports Market Rebound

Motorcycles and scooters play a key role in transportation systems
throughout much of the world. Economical to own, maintain and use,
easily navigated through tight, winding roads, a breeze to park and
flat out fun to ride, they are primary conveyances in Asia and large
segments of Europe. In the United States, however, motorcycles and
other powersports machines, such as all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and
side-by-side utility-type vehicle (UTVs), are viewed almost exclusively
as luxury items—toys that enthusiasts prize but most mainstream
consumers consider only for hobby or secondary use. [Read more]

Consumer Demand Index Up 85% From a Year Ago

SEMA’s Consumer Demand Index (CDI) experienced yet another increase in April,
going from 45 to 48. Representing a 7% increase, the CDI again matches
closely with the Consumer Confidence Index which experienced an 11%
increase from March to April. The April increase experienced by the CDI
follows the ten-point increase from the month before and marks an 85%
increase from April 2009. This could signal an indication that
consumers are willing to purchase more products in the next few
months—much needed good news for the specialty-equipment market.

Downloadable Vehicle Upgrades and Other Technologies That Will Affect Your Business

Every modern vehicle is dependent upon electronics. From the engine's
ignition to sound systems, from safety sensors to climate controls,
electronics have become integral to how vehicle operate and how their
drivers perceive the on-road experience. And now electronics from
outside the vehicle are resulting in a whole new wave of connectivity.

Opinion Leader Survey Finds Magazines Still Influence Enthusiast Buying Decisions

For the past several years, SEMA has been working to provide added
value to participation in the annual industry trade show in Las Vegas.
This past year, the association conducted a first-ever Enthusiast
Opinion Leader Research Program at the SEMA Show that was intended to
promote new products beyond the walls of the Las Vegas Convention
Center and provide meaningful feedback to both exhibitor and attendee
member companies.

Products and Preferences Shift as Light-Truck Market Evolves

The entire automotive landscape has changed over the past two years,
but the effects of higher fuel prices and a deep recession may be most
evident in the truck , sport-utility and off-road segments of the
industry. Super-sized SUVs have been particularly hard hit, with sales
dropping precipitously and one previously vaunted brand vanishing into
the dust of a receding market.

Still, while ruts and rocks obscure the way, brighter vistas are coming into view.

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