THE SHOP

August '18

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44 THE SHOP AUGUST 2018 W ith car manufacturers increas- ingly setting the tempo and daily agenda for most new car franchises, it may be time for the after- market to refocus attention toward used vehicle opportunities. Car manufacturers continue to tie dealers' financial rewards to what they want them to achieve. It is guaranteed that anything aftermarket is the last thing on the minds of the manufacturers, and therefore the dealerships. With a forecast volume of over 40 mil- lion used vehicles to be sold in 2018, the market is primed for used vehicle upgrades. Many factors have contributed to the rise in opportunity. The mandate of back-up cam- eras in all new cars sold has finally arrived, bringing additional awareness. Moreover, traditional thinking about the best vehicle for new drivers has changed. In the past, families generally looked for the oldest, largest and cheapest vehicle possible. "Slow, big and ugly," says Alex Epstein, director of transportation safety at the National Safety Council, a non-profit group. According to Epstein, that's not true anymore. Advances in safety technology mean that older beaters are no longer the better choice for young adults or new drivers—vehicles outfitted with the latest safety features are more attractive. MAKING USED CARS NEW AGAIN The top killer of teenagers is vehicle crashes, and the number one reason is inex- perience—not to mention the potential distraction of their mobile devices. But new safety technology can help provide extra eyes and ears for rookie drivers. Systems including forward collision warning, blind spot monitoring and lane departure warning are a few potentially lifesaving upgrades. The catch is that these options are typically only found as standard features on new vehicles with expensive trim levels. Bringing these important safety upgrades to market through used vehicle dealers, both independent and franchise, requires aligning your business with the proper product manufacturers. Vendors who offer technician training to ensure precise instal- lation techniques are key to the success of this product category. Upfitting an affordable base-model used vehicle with current-model technology will get the attention of any engaged used car manager in your market. The used car department theoretically competes with new car sales within a dealership. Convincing a used car manager that a restyler can confidently install new vehicle technology into used car inventory is the classic win-win opportunity. A leather interior and blind spot sensors installed into a slightly used Tahoe, for instance, would cost a consumer as little as $40 a month, a far cry from a new Tahoe payment. NOT ALWAYS EASY Our experience at Automotive Concepts in regard to installing technology products on 2013-newer vehicles has been challenging in certain applications. Although some products are a direct-fit application, others are designed to fit many vehicles. This can sometimes create diffi- culty in the interaction with other vehicle features. More and more sensors are found throughout newer models and may require slight modifications during aftermarket product installations. An advantage we have found that allows us to circumvent some of these issues is aligning ourselves with Restylers United, a community of other vehicle restylers throughout the country that are performing similar installs. Sharing data with other businesses has been extremely valuable. Curb appeal has always ranked high when discussing what influences customers In with the Old The market is primed for pre-owned vehicle upgrades. By Dino Perfetti Convincing a used car manager that a restyler can confidently install new vehicle technology into used car inventory is the classic win-win opportunity.

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