December '18

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64 THE SHOP DECEMBER 2018 number of parts and accessories offered by Mopar, the accessory division of Jeep parent Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), is at an all-time high, and many are products produced by the same companies from which you are buying. For Jeep to offer as many parts and accessories as it does indicates that off- road shops that cater to Jeep enthusiasts have a profound influence on Jeep itself. They view what you're doing with the JL as money left on the table, and to counter this, they're getting the F&I and parts man- agers at Jeep dealerships to offer branded products to their customers. Knowing what you do, it is crucial for the health and wellbeing of your shop to have at least one if not several Jeep owners who are visible and vocal in your community as your ambassadors. If you happen to be on good terms with the Jeep dealer in your area, it may be inclined to steer business your way, especially if it involves products it doesn't want to carry or can't install as quickly as you do. HIGH-END OFF-ROADERS Another trend we've seen more of lately are Toyota and Lexus builds. It used to be that a small cadre bought the original FJ-40s, early 4Runners and pickups for other-than- work trucks or utilitarian purposes. But, despite rave reviews on their lon- gevity and reliability, there weren't too many who understood that toughness on the job is somewhat equivalent to trail readiness. As time went on, the Toyotas' capabilities spread by word of mouth and social media, both of which caused their popularity to skyrocket, and their availability and afford- ability to spiral downward. Today, a two-year-old used Toyota Tacoma with average miles costs nearly the same as a brand-new truck, and they, along with their full-size sibling, the Toyota Tundra, and SUV sibling, 4Runner, return the highest resale values according to Kelly Blue Book. The sharing of platforms has reached the pinnacle of popularity too, and Lexus SUVs with their body-on-chassis construction are highly sought-after. Lexus SUVs are also getting V-8 power plants instead of the V-6s more commonly found on their Toyota counterparts. Another rationale for the Lexus' popularity is that they are almost never driven off-road, despite their beefy OE drivetrains, and are more often used as a secondary vehicle, so they tend to have fewer miles on them. Altogether, this gives Toyota the widest variety of off-road vehicles, and their resale value continues to climb. "At every turn, small businesses should be encouraged to compete. When they do, we all win." —Sam Graves Quite possibly the most popular Toyota, Eibach's Tacoma uses all the right parts and ac- cessories. Go f-Roadg Go f-Roadg Go f-Roadg TJM, a com- pany from Down Under, displayed a Toyota 4Runner out- fitted with many of its products. Another 4Runner, this one is a showcase for Black Rhino Wheels. Need an adven- ture travel vehicle in a hurry? American Fastbacks can put you in one of its Jeep Wran- gler JL conversions that are overland- ready. Second in popularity to the Wrangler is Jeep's long-run- ning Cherokee.

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