August '19

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44 THE SHOP AUGUST 2019 reviewed throughout the year for ongoing inspiration and professional guidance. THE WAY WE WORK As discussed in our previous article, major developments in technology have improved the functionality, fuel efficiency and ergo- nomic features of commercial vehicles. Kim Tremelling, marketing and sales manager for Truck Covers USA, has watched as OE vehicle platforms have grown more versatile to meet growing customer demands. "The expectation today is for these vehi- cles to be multi-functional for personal and professional use," she says. "And that's true across the board, from local fleets and big government bids to general contractors coming in to upfit a single truck. Likewise, these owners want aftermarket brands and products that are tried and true, offering the same quality and versatility as the vehicles themselves." While Truck Covers USA specializes in servicing the truck bed, Tremelling says there is no denying the exponential growth and impact of the Euro van within the commercial space. "The Ford Transit just blew every- thing up—it was a huge gamechanger," she explains. "Commercial van upfitters all over the country, like Urgent Upfits, for example, are doing big business in inte- rior customization." Junior Calvert, national sales director at Westin Automotive, agrees that after- market manufacturers are keeping an eye on the burgeoning work vehicle space. "It may not be a big part of our busi- ness today, because we've always been very focused on the truck platform," he notes. "But, make no mistake, the commercial van market will absolutely be a larger part of our business in the near future." WHAT CAN YOU DO? In addition to consumers having higher expectations from the factory, "the owners of these vehicles are a lot pickier about the aftermarket products they'll use," explains Cory Bride, owner and operator of High Caliber Motorsports in Wysox and Wilkes- Barre, Pennsylvania. Professional-grade products built to with- stand heavy-duty use in a variety of work environments are in high demand, but with such rapid progression of stock vehicles, the aftermarket is continuously challenged to innovate and, ultimately, redefine what it means to work smarter. As stated by automotive blog The Engine Block in March, "The higher prices of modern pickups call for higher-quality services, products and warranties—espe- cially among fleet workers who do a lot of traveling and may quickly wind up hun- dreds of miles away from where they had parts installed." That's why Bride believes in making sure warranties and customer service follow the products. "It has allowed us to build a really good customer base, and it brings in customers that I think otherwise weren't comfortable dealing with an aftermarket accessory store (as the primary source for upfitting)," he adds. Aftermarket companies active in the work vehicle space include: Better Built, RDS, CURT, ARIES Automotive, LUVERNE, Magnum, BACKRACK, Masterack, LEER, TigerTough, SoundOff Signal, Super- Springs, Dee Zee and DECKED. Similarly, manufacturers such as Weather Guard, Adrian Steel, Ranger Design and Custom ap- plications are ap- pealing to commercial customers looking to maximize the versatil- ity of their vehicles. (Photo courtesy CargoGlide) WORK IT OUT The commercial work truck and van industry may not be the eye candy of the automotive aftermarket, but it is overflowing with opportunity. (Photos courtesy Cargo- Glide) From budding partnerships at the dealership and large-scale fleet bids to upfitting local mu- nicipalities, potential for increased sales revenue is around every corner. (Photo courtesy CargoGlide)

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