By Jason Catullo
During the past several years, gas prices have frequently hit record levels, and automakers have developed more alternative, fuel-saving technologies and have produced more fuel-friendly vehicles to meet the demand of consumers and the market. These factors have helped the compact-performance segment to sustain slow and steady growth year to year. The market reached more than $5.18 billion in retails sales in 2014 and continues to offer expanding opportunity for specialty-equipment companies.
The compact-performance niche encompasses modifications made to compact-size cars for street use. While current retail sales levels are far from the numbers posted in the early 2000s, the fact that the market has remained steady and not shown any sharp decline for the past 10 years is a positive for compact-performance businesses and enthusiasts.
The compact niche is mainly driven by sales of appearance and accessory products, which represent the No. 1 product segment in terms of manufacturer sales. Since the scene’s emergence in the mid-’90s, compact-performance enthusiasts covet vibrant appearance and styling products. However, enthusiasts in this segment want to add power to their vehicles as well, and performance products is the second-leading product segment (manufacturer sales). The third most popular product segment in the compact performance market is the wheels, tires and suspension products category.
Some of the top-selling vehicles within the segment are the Toyota Corolla/Matrix, Honda Civic, Chevrolet Cruze, Hyundai Elantra and Ford Focus.
This information and more is available through the recently released 2015 SEMA Market Report. The report is available to download at no cost to SEMA members. In addition to the compact-performance market, the report provides detailed insight on the street-performance, light-truck, off-road, restyling, restoration, street rod and custom, racing niches.
Most of SEMA's research reports are available to SEMA members at no cost, and to nonmembers at a nominal fee. They can be accessed at www.SEMA.org/research.