Performance & Hotrod Business - February '15

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50 n Performance & Hotrod Business n February 2015 HOTROD products available for the widest range of various popular makes and models." Schlossberg notes the recent new prod- uct platforms. "Dodge recently came out with a new platform for its Ram 2500/3500 truck lines. We are currently working on design- ing steering and suspension products for that platform. There will be a lot of opportunity once the new Jeep Wrangler platform is introduced. It seems that the new Wrangler platform will either debut in 2017 or 2018." Foster sees more rapid changes happen- ing in the race side of the street car hobby. "I think the show car guys will always strive to produce more beautiful, well-fin- ished cars that push styling and finishes, but the real revolution is in the street/race car market. If you look at the field at the Optima event this year there was a SLR McLaren, a '48 Chevy convertible—and just about everything in between. All of those cars had suspension work done to them. Some, like the new Corvettes, may have just had shock/spring and brake upgrades and others would have had full modern chassis installed. So I think it depends on the market segment. The car show guys will always want nice-looking parts; the race guys want nice-looking parts that work and last." Despite all the options, however, Shephard notes that installations of these systems may actually be getting easier. "All of our newer kits are extensive; however, quite simplified at the same time," he says. "We try to tie into existing holes on the vehicle frames and allow the installer to use as much existing factory hardware as possible." But easier doesn't mean finite. "There is always a new vision or a new take on any given design," he adds. "As an industry, we have to keep pushing further to keep our world going 'round." The Market Seeks So, what are the selling points consum- ers are looking for today? According to Schlossberg, drivers are always seeking inexpensive modifica- tions, whether it's an aftermarket tuner to improve power or fuel efficiency, or sus- pension products to improve the look and/ or performance. "Cost seems to be the constant denomi- nator when I talk with customers. I will note that budgets do seem to increase once more technical info is relayed. You really have to educate in order to upsell," he says. Foster notes drivers are looking for more than just one thing. "I feel customers are looking for high- quality components that fit and work as a system. Also, they want one-stop solutions. They want to know that the parts they are buying will work together and have been tested," he says. But that's not all. "They want technical and product information both before and after the sale," he continues. "There are lots of options available and it can be really tricky to sift through all the information that is available online and in print. Being able to talk to someone about their project and plans and cover some of the options is an important part of the process." Kass points out that today's consum- ers are more apt to purchase suspension components that are bolt-in. "This saves time and frustration many times found with kits that require cutting and welding," he says. "The room for error People are inspired to push the limits of both their car and their driving ability, which requires upgrades to the chassis and suspension. (Photos courtesy Speedtech Performance)

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