THE SHOP

September '18

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SEPTEMBER 2018 THE SHOP 17 F rom accessories to safety, there's a lot to know about the towing and hauling market. That means con- sumers often count on their local shop for advice, installation and follow-up services. Manufacturers of towing-related prod- ucts and accessories understand this, which is why they are so committed to educating and supporting their dealers. If a towing or hauling question arises in your shop, chances are the answer is just a phone call away. The truck market remains strong and powersports are more popular than ever, offering an entryway into towing and hauling with confidence that the market will continue to grow. Then the learning begins—from technology and market changes to installation tips and sales tech- niques. Here's an introduction to some of those topics from suppliers that want to help you help your customers haul it all. TECH TALK Trends and technology are subtly changing the towing and hauling market, from sliding hitches to electronic updates. "With the increased popularity of short- bed trucks (less than an 8-foot bed), adjust- able sliding hitches have become necessary for trouble-free fifth wheel towing," says Scott Later, national sales manager for PullRite Towing Systems. "The PullRite SuperGlide was the original automatic sliding hitch and remains a popular, intui- tive option." Ryan Feyer, group marketing manager for Air Lift, says electronics are probably the biggest change in the towing and hauling market from both OE and aftermarket manufacturers. "Computers, cameras and sensors have all vastly improved the overall towing/hauling experience for consumers," Feyer notes. "For example, even something as simple as backing-up while towing a trailer has been made easier with the assistance of wire- less cameras and trailer back-up assistance technology." Eric Jevanord, product manager, towing accessories for the CURT Group, agrees that technology has changed the way drivers tow. "We are experiencing a demand, greater than ever, for our products to be connected to today's wireless, hands-free, hassle-free world," he says, noting that CURT has a designated innovation team with a focus on "new towing solutions that will improve ride comfort, make towing more user- friendly and integrate technology into our products," such as the company's Spectrum brake control. Fred Brickley, senior director of engi- neering –structural & electrical products at Horizon Global says the biggest change he's seen is that the OEMs continue to add high-tech accessories due to customer demand. "They have also started to combine more electrical modules in the vehicles," he adds. "This has obligated us to adapt our products so that they use more advanced electrical circuits to perform the necessary functions. The products we interface with on the vehicle and trailer have also begun to use advanced technologies and we have had to integrate these changes into the diagnostics and functions of our products." The company has also implemented design changes. "Styling has become much more desir- HAUL IT ALL SEPTEMBER 2018 THE SHOP 17 It can be easy to overlook, but providing a comprehensive solution ensures that your customers have the right equipment based on their towing needs and lifestyle. (Photo courtesy CURT Group) Exploring the towing market. By John Carollo

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