May '19

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18 THE SHOP MAY 2019 with more safety features and sensors that ultimately play a significant role in designing a suspension lift kit. These fea- tures and sensors must be taken into con- sideration when designing and building a suspension kit for the vehicle," he explains. The required extra work can add design time that slows new product introductions. "But there is a positive side to this pro- cess as well," he notes. "Taking the time to design and build it right gives shops con- fidence knowing our products work with today's vehicles and that their customers do not have to worry if their safety features or sensors will or will not function properly." Technological advancements in vehicles make it more important than ever to work with quality lift kit manufacturers, adds Ryan Osborne, product manager for TrailFX. "As technology is evolving in the automo- tive market, designing products to adapt to the changes can sometimes be challenging," he notes. "As vehicles are coming with more advanced features, we must work around the design to provide a product that works with the style. New technology comes with new changes, so the automo- tive aftermarket has to adapt to keep up." Henk Van Dongen, director of marketing for Alloy USA, says the trend has also led to new industry partnerships. "Rather than each lift kit manufacturer building their own shocks, you see a lot more cooperation between the lift kit man- ufacturers and some well-known shock absorber manufacturers like BILSTEIN, FOX and King," he observes. CUSTOMER COMMUNICATION Consumers are going to be excited about their lift kit purchases, often approaching with a bigger is better attitude. From safety to ride quality, however, there are impor- tant things shops must convey to ensure a happy customer now and down the road. "As enthusiasts, Daystar understands the reason we're in the suspension kit business is because consumers want larger tires and different wheels to personalize their rigs," says Turner. "Professional retailers and installers do a great job of helping match the right combination of wheels, tires and suspension lifts." He explains that the process should involve going over the customer's expec- tations for ride quality and handling, how- ever, as thoroughly as when choosing a particular style of wheel. "We want people to love their trucks," he says. "Lifting vehicles just enough to avoid rubbing or other interference makes for happier customers." McLaughlin contends that higher-priced lift systems aren't automatically better than lower-priced systems, noting that educa- tion needs to run a little deeper in order to find the lift kit that's right for each application. "A customer should always choose a lift kit based on their budget and use of the vehicle," he recommends. "Many aspects can play into the purchase of a suspension kit, like upgraded shocks such as coil-over shocks. Other items like skid plates, full belly-pans, kicker braces and so on can also affect the final price of a lift kit." Van Dongen notes that customers have access to more information than ever before. "It has become more of a partnership with the customer to determine what is the best lift kit for the intended use, versus telling the customer what they need," he says of the sales process. Finally, Osborne notes that confident, competent installers are a real asset for shops. "There can be a fear of installation when 18 THE SHOP MAY 2019 Customers should always choose a lift kit based on their budget and planned vehicle use. (Photo courtesy Superlift Suspension Systems) An upgraded suspension system makes a strong statement. (Photo courtesy Superlift Suspension Systems) Bestop group buys lifted truck manufacturer: bestopgrouprockyridge

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