July '20

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24 THE SHOP JULY 2020 but we think that demand for winch prod- ucts will resume at a pace equal to the gen- eral recovery of our economy," he says. Of course, the spring quarantine did allow many enthusiasts to spend more time on at-home projects. "New winch sales haven't diminished in these times," says Patel, "and the stay-at- home orders have brought out the DIYer in all of us." And finally, Whitty and Donnelly aren't the first aftermarket experts to note how enjoying upgraded vehicles is an exciting way to have fun while staying safely away from others. "The off-road community is growing and will continue to grow," Whitty pre- dicts. "Social distancing is keeping people and families away from large groups and gatherings and moving them toward more outdoor, small-group activities. With its more remote locations for fun and the pro- tection found inside a vehicle, off-roading and overlanding are the social activities of the future. We also see customers finally getting around to their long-overdue DIY projects, including updates, accessories and customization for their vehicles. The expanding market and changing times bring new challenges." Donnelly agrees that many customers will gain a new appreciation for trail excur- sions and 4x4 adventures. "Off-roading is a tried-and-true form of social distancing that has been practiced and enjoyed by many outdoor enthusiasts since long before anyone ever heard of COVID-19," she notes. "People will surely continue to take their vehicles off-road, seeking both adventure and comfort in nature. I think that bodes very well for the long-term future of the winch market." Strong Connection HOT WINCH PRODUCTS Hot Products: Winch Shackle Mounts Features & Benefits: Lightweight; easy to use; upgrades conventional winch hooks; fits any winch from 8,000 to 15,000 pounds; fits roller and hawse fairleads; works with 5/16- and 3/8-inch rope or cable sizes; weighs less than 1 pound; rubber design won't rattle or rust. Mile Marker Industries Edward Whitty Hot Products: New Trekker series winches Features & Benefits: IP68 waterproof solenoid, motor and gearbox; heavy-duty 5.6/6.6 series-wound motor that delivers consistent pull strength through a bullet- proof, three-stage planetary drive gear; wireless remote available. Rugged Ridge/Truck Hero Inc. Henk Van Dongen Hot Products: XRC Gen 3 winches Features & Benefits: 9,500- and 12,000- pound capacities available in both steel and synthetic rope/fairlead options; pat- ented LI (Load Indicator) technology shows the load being exerted on the winch during operation; customizable built-in armor; 7-hp motor. Smittybilt Hitesh Patel Hot Product: Winch2Go Features & Benefits: 2019 SEMA Global Media Award winner; lightweight porta- bility; 4,000-pound rating; available with conventional wire or synthetic rope; self- contained design; all necessary acces- sories to be fully functional out of the box. Superwinch/Westin Automotive Products Steve Stein Hot Product: Reflex WR95B winch Features & Benefits: 9,500-pound wire rope winch (synthetic rope version avail- able); combined wired/wireless remote control; high-performance 6.6-hp motor; automatic braking system; IP68 water resistance rating; easy, reliable operation. TrailFX Jane Donnelly Hot Product: WARN VR EVO winch Features & Benefits: IP68 waterproof construction; standard two-in-one remote with corded and wireless options; totally new styling; reliable contactor control; fast line speeds; 8,000-, 10,000- or 12,000- pound capacities with either synthetic or steel rope options. Warn Industries Andy Lilienthal Buying decisions in the winch market are driven by many factors, including product features and benefits, availability, price and value. (Photo courtesy Superwinch) Customers in all segments have become better informed and are much more likely to shop around before making a buying decision. (Photos courtesy Superwinch)

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