September '19

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50 THE SHOP SEPTEMBER 2019 more power, go faster, break records and satisfy every customer need for the rush of acceleration motorsports provides," he explains. "Without consumer demand, aftermarket companies would have no reason to push the limits of what's pos- sible and invest hard-earned capital into research and development of new and better products. The consumer has played a big part in the continued advancement of the industry." A MOVING TARGET Advancements mean sport compact shops have to stay up-to-date on the latest market changes. But, in some ways, the niche has followed a predictable course. "In the 20 years I've been in business, I've seen a lot of changes," says Dan Hurwitz, owner of Mach V Motorsports in Sterling, Virginia. "Cars have grown heavier with more content, but are also much more powerful. Consumers have better access to information from the internet—for better or for worse. ECU tuning has gone from a super-specialized skill to something avail- able to a lot of consumers. Online shop- ping has become the norm and, lately, the majority of online shopping is conducted from a mobile device." Another moving target is the age of the average sport compact participant. "The average age of our customers is increasing, and so are their budgets," says Russell Floyd, founder/president of Z1 Motorsports in Carrollton, Georgia. "We have many of the same customers that we did 15 years ago. Maybe they have moved from a Nissan Z to a four-door Infiniti, but they are still part of the same car cul- ture and loyal to the same brands. Happy customers having fun with their cars are loyal customers and become members of an extended family that just continues to grow." John Leitl, sales manager at parts manu- facturer PERRIN Performance in Hillsboro, Oregon, believes the market is sound and stable. "Some may not agree, but I don't think the sport com- pact market has changed much in a long time," he says. "Trends seem to come and go and come again. If there is a change, it is due to what the OEMs Sport Compacts It's not surprising to see customers wanting to keep a body style of vehicle they are used to and dropping in a better power plant. (Photos courtesy The Shop Houston) Technician Kevin Higdon-Bouie and the rest of the crew at Mach V Motorsports in Sterling, Virginia stay up-to-date on the latest products and trends in order to serve their sport compact customers well. (Photos courtesy Mach V Motorsports)

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