April '19

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22 THE SHOP APRIL 2019 seek the same elements that have always been part of the performance experience. "They want freedom and control. This industry is fun and empowering. They want to go fast and personalize their vehicles." SOCIAL MEDIA & MOTORSPORTS A discussion regarding the state of motor- sports quickly turned to the importance of social media in the lives of today's perfor- mance consumers. "Posts translate into sales, even if the buyer only sees the car online," states Edelbrock's Simons. Fickler adds that entities from race series to parts manufacturers need to tailor tar- geted social media messages to help young enthusiasts "find a bridge to motorsports." It's no longer just a consumer tool that businesses can ignore. "The OEMs had more social media impressions at the SEMA Show than at the Detroit Auto Show," Spagnola reveals. Miller's experience is that "social media has been extremely helpful in getting the word out. Tuners and the younger genera- tion are particularly in-tune with receiving information this way." Weckerly says it's changed the business. "Today's social media presence can't be overstated." CRYSTAL BALL While looking forward is vital to survival in any industry, it never hurts to look back every once in a while to appreciate what's been accomplished. "The last 20 years have been remarkable (for the performance aftermarket)," Fickler believes, pointing to the relative ease of achieving 1,000 hp today as an important milestone. "And I'm truly excited about what we'll do with things like hybrids in the future." Weckerly, too, sees big power numbers as a positive indicator of good times to come. "Today is the Golden Age of perfor- mance," he says. "The rate that tech- nology is allowing us to make horsepower is amazing." That technology will continue to drive innovation, Spagnola predicts, pointing to breakthroughs in scanning and 3D printing of rubber and different metals that will allow "incredible speed to market" for tomorrow's performance parts. And the industry won't go it alone, Simons adds. "Technologies will have to advance and partnerships with OEMs strengthen in order to successfully develop products." Miller also anticipates more aftermarket and OEM cooperation as parts production becomes nimbler. "I see a connection between Silicon Valley and guys spinning wrenches." The unknowns may seem scary, but it's a thrilling time to be in the performance industry. "There's no point being afraid," suggests Fickler. "We're all smart enough to adapt and succeed." JEF WHITE is Executive Editor of THE SHOP magazine. PERFORMANCE VIEWING THE LANDSCAPE Building on a storied past, parts manufacturers are excited about the future of the performance aftermarket, even as changes always seem to be right around the corner. (Photo courtesy Edelbrock/GNRS blog) Social media allows enthusiasts to interact with the performance aftermarket and motorsports in new ways, but the excitement is always the same. (Photo courtesy Edelbrock/GNRS blog) It's up to race series and parts manufacturers to build a bridge to motorsports for the next generation of race fans. (Photo courtesy Aeromotive)

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