SEMA eNews Vol. 12, No. 13, April 2, 2009

93% of Honda Enthusiasts Modify their Vehicles for High Performance


K Sport exhibited this Honda Integra Type R (Acura RSX) at the 2008 SEMA Show with some of the most current products and styles indicative of the Honda tuning market.

As one of the largest benefactors of the early compact performance market, Honda has resonated with enthusiasts as an inexpensive performance option. Many owners enjoyed the relative easy of modification and vehicle accessibility; the cars were their commuters and the parts were numerous.

Enthusiasts have retained the same feelings they held in the boom years of the niche. In a recent survey of enthusiasts that own and modify Honda and Acura vehicles the emphasis on upgrading performance was as strong as ever. In one section of the survey participants were presented with a list of quotes which covered common and current topics and were asked to rate their level of agreement with the items given.

The highest levels of agreement fell upon performance (93%), expression (88%) and personalization (86%).


Performance and personal expression lead the motivations for customizing vehicles.

In a similar manner, Honda enthusiasts disagreed with the concept of owning a vehicle with the primary purpose of using it for basic transportation (69%); not shocking as these owners are already biased towards modifying their vehicles. The next highest level of disagreement was in regard to preferring aesthetic improvements in lieu of performance (64%).

What should be noted is the disparity between the answers of expression (88%) and vehicle appearance (64%). These enthusiasts have a need to express themselves through their cars but do not do so with appearance modifications as the conduit. In other words, performance products are the tools for expression rather than strict appearance. This is a subtle, but important characteristic as it highlights the departure away from the trends during the niche’s heyday.


Intakes, exhausts and suspension products top the performance list.


The largest changes were for suspension and stereo equipment.

The tables listed here not only illustrate the top products purchased by enthusiasts, but also the ones that have the largest difference when related to the previous year. SEMA continues to collect data on an annual basis, thus allowing for year-to-year comparisons.

Honda enthusiasts appear to be moving away from stereo and mobile-electronic upgrades and focusing their attention on suspension items and more committed engine modifications, such as camshafts, valvetrain components and headers—items typically reserved for serious hobbyists. — SEMA Research & Information Center

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