THE SHOP

July '16

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JULY 2016 THE SHOP 41 RESTYLING/AFTERMARKET ACCESSORIES nitely a starting point for some people. And popular front end accessories include not only bumpers, but grille guards; and depending on the region and type of cus- tomer, they also include accessory LED lighting, winches and grille inserts. And there are so many different styles; your customers can impart their own styles very easily by the selections they make. UP-FRONT DEMAND "The front grille is the first thing you see on a vehicle, so it really speaks volumes," remarks Kim Burnsworth, director of sales and marketing at Ontario, California-based Paramount Automotive. "An upgrade allows people to take an un-accessorized vehicle and completely customize and change the looks of that vehicle." "Right now what we're seeing as far as big-demand accessories are front bumpers and replacement front ends—bumper grille guard assemblies," agrees Mike Katz, man- ufacturer rep, Bob Cook Sales. "That's huge right now in my territory (Texas, Loui- siana) specifically, but I know it's growing all over the country as well." And that's considering that the current slump in the oil and gas business has caused sales numbers to drop in West Texas, where a lot of product was sold during the oil boom. "Trucks are the most popular," says Joe Hair, owner of Tulsa-based Integrity Cus- toms, "I haven't done a car grille in quite some time. Almost all grille business is trucks and Jeeps. We hardly see cars anymore and I think it shows with manufacturers. They just don't offer as much anymore." Installations are fairly straightforward, Hair says, requiring all the common basic tools. But on LED grilles, he's noticed much more time associated with them. His shop allows a half- to a full-day for those installations, noting that some can be very labor-intensive up to and including having to remove bumpers. "It's mostly trucks," agrees Amanda Tift, accessories manager at Sarasota Ford, Sara- sota, Florida. "A lot of the market is F-150s since the Raptors are kind of obsolete right JULY 2016 THE SHOP 41 Truck owners are quick to request grille upgrades. Photo courtesy Aries/CURT

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