April '20

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56 THE SHOP APRIL 2020 T he excitement created by a vehicle with suspension modifications is the road to added profits for restylers and their new- or used-car dealer clients. Suspension modifications—usually lifts or leveling systems—are often the start of a complete customization package that fuels interest in modified vehicles. A lifted, complete-packaged pickup parked on a dealer's show floor next to a stock truck will attract more attention than Chip Foose at the SEMA Show. Although the vehicle manufacturers have gotten more aggressive in mar- keting comprehensive trim levels that may include suspension upgrades, many truck enthusiasts are interested in custom options that set them apart from their neighbors. Combining the correct mix of aftermarket products to create an attrac- tive package requires the fine eye of an industry specialist. Working closely with your dealers to understand the needs of their unique clientele is a key to creating the right design. A certain package look may be much more successful on one side of town vs. the other. With profit margins being eroded on vehicle sales, capturing additional rev- enue through customizing will elevate the bottom line for dealers that make the investment. A successful campaign begins with doing your homework for a potential dealership candidate. Knowing the culture of their business requires gathering important information about past sales history. For instance, if a GMC dealer is in a region that has strong Denali truck sales, focusing on a higher trim level as a starting point will make more sense than an entry-level SLT model. This same concept at another dealership within the same market, however, can result in an overpriced vehicle that sits on the lot much longer than expected. Once the blank canvas of your chosen model is decided upon, the excitement begins for building the perfect package that may start with a nice lift or leveling system. THE RIGHT SUPPLIERS A successful restyler will have the experience to know right from wrong when choosing which products to offer. When suspension is the main ingredient in a package, the system must match the overall concept. The lift height will be determined by the desired tire size. Tire size can make or break a successful build. Most suspension manufacturers recommend a certain diam- eter to maximize the look of the vehicle. The best suppliers have also done extensive testing on which wheel offsets work best on each lift system. The only real test for proper wheel and tire sizing on a lift package is trial and error. But once the proper suspension has been matched with the right wheel and tire com- bination, rounding out the package with the right products will determine the turn time on the vehicle. The more consumer appeal and per- ceived value a package adds, the quicker the vehicle will sell and the sooner the deal- ership will order another from the restyler, building trust along the way. Many factors come into play during the vehicle decision process. We've addressed choosing the proper trim level to start with. Others include picking the best paint color for the most impact. There's also a marketing plan to be con- sidered. Will the vehicle package be promi- nently displayed at the dealership? A successful restyler will have these ques- tions answered before the stock number is even considered. PACKAGE IDENTITY To ensure that these vehicles are easily iden- tified by both the dealer and the restyler, creating a package identity can carry a lot of weight. There is nothing better than a call from a customer asking for another vehicle to be built with the name that is only created by your company. Here at Automotive Concepts in Min- nesota, we designed a concept around the name BASECAMP. The concept is that the vehicle package has multiple uses by many potential buyers—not only as a place to circle back to while out on a hiking trip, but as the vehicle of choice to hang out at between soccer games at the kids' weekend tournament. Supplied with a slide-out fridge/freezer, 56 THE SHOP APRIL 2020 Suspension products are a good platform for great packages. DRIVING PROFITS UP By Dino Perfetti The excitement created by a vehicle with suspension modifications is the road to added profits for restylers and their new- or used-car dealer clients.

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