THE SHOP

Restyling & Truck Accessories - January '15

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restylingmag.com January 2015 | Restyling & tRuck AccessoRies 33 ever before. We are starting to see a shift in consumer behavior, where customers are willing to spend a little more for top- notch customer service. This doesn't only include during the sales process, but also in the post sale follow-ups and service of the products they sell. (RTA): What products are important for our readers to stock in 2015? (AC): Anything A.R.E.! In all serious- ness, we hope our dealers are prepared for the 2015 Ford F-150 and 2015 Chevy Colorado/GMC Canyon. Both of these trucks will be big sellers and customers will be looking to accessorize them soon. 2014 COMPANY HIGHLIGHTS: In the beginning of 2014, we entered the LED light category and this has been very successful for us so far and we ex- pect to see continued growth in the fu- ture. This year at SEMA, Westin jumped in with both feet to the Jeep accessory market. We now have an exclusive Jeep- focused catalog available that highlights all of our product categories and includes seven new products that offer enthusiasts options for outfitting their beloved Jeeps. (RTA): How did the market within your segment perform in 2014? westin automotive truck actually received two awards, the 2014 Mothers Shine Award and the Ford Project Excellence Award. (RTA): How do you expect your market segment will perform in 2015? ANDY CLUTTER (AC): We are an- ticipating some exciting growth in our segment for 2015. All indicators are sug- gesting we can expect to see increased de- mand and sales for our products. When examining vehicle sales, the light truck market continues to rebound since the economic downturn around 2008. New truck sales will be up for the fifth year in a row since 2009 and forecasts for upcoming years are largely positive. (RTA): Are there any particular trends or changes that will affect your market seg- ment in 2015? (AC): As our economy continues to cor- rect itself and start to grow, we can natu- rally expect good things to happen in our segment. More specifically, we see some exciting opportunities in the commercial market in 2015 as commercial industries ramp up production. There is potential for additional upside, particularly in full-sized pickup sales, as the housing recovery catches up with the rest of the economy and the U.S. oil boom continues. (RTA): What are some challenges re- stylers within your market segment face in 2015? (AC): Our dealers face daily struggles with many factors, including competition. Whether it is online retailers or another brick and mortar store down the street, they all continue to battle for every sale. We do not expect 2015 to be any differ- ent in this regard, but perhaps they have more sales to battle over. To help our dealers compete, we con- tinue to release new products that no one else currently offers. This year, our SEMA booth showed three new products that will be available very soon. We feel these new products, combined with the rest of our product lineup, give our deal- ers an edge on their competition. (RTA): What are some ways restylers within your market segment can boost business this year? (AC): It seems to be obvious, but cus- tomer service is more important than BOB WEST (BW): 2014 has been a good year for Westin. The pent up de- mand by both traditional consumers and commercial fleets has driven new truck sales and, in turn, accessory purchasing. (RTA): How do you expect your market segment will perform in 2015? (BW): We are planning on the continued strong demand for accessories in the truck and SUV segments. We have received a great deal of interest in the new products we have announced for 2015 and are very excited about these opportunities. (RTA): Are there any particular trends or changes that will affect your market seg- ment in 2015? (BW): Nothing in particular. There are a few new trucks and SUVs that are avail- able and these always create increased de- mand and interest. (RTA): What are some challenges re- stylers within your market segment face in 2015? (BW): I would expect the common an- swer would be competition from the In- ternet and retailers, but I think one of the biggest challenges we will all face is the increase in accessory content that the OEs are including on their new vehicles. This takes the opportunity away from af- termarket suppliers for many of the most popular accessories. (RTA): What are some ways restylers within your market segment can boost business this year? (BW): Value. Restylers/jobbers/upfitters need to do everything in their power to cre- ate value for their services—services that are not available in other retail situations. I think many jobbers and dealers are un- der the impression that they can't compete with online suppliers, but with today's dis- tribution alternatives they most certainly can be competitive and can offer more value for the average consumer than online suppliers. More and more often people are looking to buy local when possible and will make that decision based on more than just price if given the opportunity. (RTA): What products are important for our readers to stock in 2015? They need to stock and sell products that are functional and that add to the person- al styling of a consumer's vehicle. (BW): They need to look at purchasing products from manufacturers that that BOB WEST ExECUTIvE vICE PRESIDENT January 2015 | Restyling & tRuck AccessoRies 33 restylingmag.com

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