July '16

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Page 43 of 119

40 THE SHOP JULY 2016 RESTYLING/AFTERMARKET ACCESSORIES M ost experts agree that upgrading the tires and wheels is the first thing people do when they begin to accessorize a new vehicle. Right behind that is the front end. The front of a vehicle is its public face. And that face might be a smile; it might be a frown; it might be an impatient growl; or it might be nothing more than the front of an ordinary car. Whatever it is, your customers are increasingly identi- fying who they are by w h a t t h e i r vehicle's face says to the world. And more and more, they look to after- market accessories to help define them- selves, present their attitude to the world, and vicariously—if not actually—give form to their social, political, and environ- mental views and philosophies. And that may or may not have anything to do with what's under the hood or inside the cabin. It's an essence of self that is stated in public without words. And the absence of accessories on a car or truck says as much about the owner as a vehicle that's fully loaded. Front bumpers are in the top two or three items to upgrade. It's defi- UP FRONT Things that go bumpers in the night: working out the market dynamics and demographics of the front end accessories business. By Eddie Wieber PERSONAL By Eddie Wieber PERSONAL By Eddie Wieber & UP FRONT & UP FRONT 40 THE SHOP JULY 2016 Upgraded grilles make a strong first impression. It's the smile of your vehicle. (Photo courtesy Paramount Automotive)

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