March '20

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18 THE SHOP MARCH 2020 In some ways, it mirrors the sport com- pact boom of the early 2000s, in which a slew of manufacturers that didn't really understand the market or do their home- work jumped in with both feet, only to find that they had little credibility as suppliers or affinity from end-users. Note that only a fraction of the manu- facturers or constructors that are devoted solely to the overland segment displayed at SEMA. Why? Because many are pro- ducing on a smaller, more modest scale, and, while successful, they lack the size and scope necessary to put their products into wide distribution. Warehouses require a considerable amount of production capability to fill their shelves, and the ability to quickly turn around orders from jobbers. This is contrary to the methodology employed by many overland product manufacturers that instead prefer building to order. Of course, many of the larger manufac- turers now joining the overlanding move- ment are offering outstanding products. But, as an overland shop, you should be aware that some specialized parts and systems, particularly those only available from smaller manufacturers, may need to be custom- ordered and could take time to arrive. Top outfitters may place orders ahead of time for the most requested products. This is where your knowledge of the overland market, and the most popular vehicle plat- forms, is invaluable. Speaking of popular overlanding vehicles, Ford may be America's best-selling truck Popular overland vehicles range from Jeeps and pickups to classic and smaller SUVs. (Photos by Jason Sakurai) Travel vans can also tackle many overland trails, and often epitomize the custom upfitting projects shops may be asked to perform. (Photos by Jason Sakurai) THE INS & OUTS OF OVERLANDING

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