July '21

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46 THE SHOP JULY 2021 Restorations p.50 Blair's Speed Shop p.60 JULY 2021 S hocks are well-known as com- ponents that can affect a car or truck's ride and handling almost as much as new wheels and tires—if not more so. They are also often a simple install, with many owners having no problem sliding under their vehicles to bolt on upgrades themselves. When gearheads go looking for performance shocks, they are usually armed with plenty of info and ready to do some serious comparison shopping. That makes it a very, very active market. Shock manufacturers are standing by with answers to today's big questions for shops, including outside pressures affecting the market, common mistakes made by retailers and potential areas of future growth. PAST THE ROUGH PATCH Shop owners are always interested in outside factors that have the potential to affect sales of a particular product niche, be it next quarter or next year. In 2021, is there anywhere else to start but with the uncertainty of a post-pandemic world? One effect of the pandemic is that it "has created a massive influx of DIYers working on their vehicles to prepare them for camping, off-road trips and more out- side activities," says Mark Krumme, head of marketing for Eibach in Corona, Cali- fornia. "With the way things have been, we (the aftermarket industry) have been fortunate enough to thrive." Gary Boulanger, communications mar- keting manager for FOX Factory in Bra- selton, Georgia, agrees that COVID-19 and its aftereffects have positively impacted the performance shocks market. "Stimulus checks and a need to enjoy the great outdoors has prompted enthusiasts to beat a path to dealers to upfit their trucks and Jeeps," he observes. In fact, 2020's forced stay-at-home time has helped lift the entire automotive after- market, notes Aaron Shaffer, director of marketing for KYB Americas Corp. in Greenwood, Indiana. "Over the past 14 months, people have rediscovered working on their own vehicles. The demand from enthusiasts doing their own work has remained really strong." Not convinced? Chelsea Leap, marketing supervisor for BILSTEIN in Poway, Cali- fornia, has the numbers to back up the claims. "COVID has had a great effect on the performance shock market. As interest in outdoor activities grows (camping, over- landing, traveling, etc.), so too does the demand for our products. In fact, we've seen a 46% increase in demand, which is phenomenal," she reveals. As many manufacturers and retailers now realize, however, taking care of all those excited customers in this strange new world has been a bit daunting, at least early in the recovery stage. Smoothing out the road to performance shock sales. 46 THE SHOP JULY 2021 MORE ON THESHOPMAG.COM Eibach Named SRX Series Spring Supplier: Firmly Plt By John Carollo The market has room to grow as new vehicles build a reputation for recreation. (Photo courtesy Eibach)

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