Sadly, we’ve reached the final installment of our “Jeep Purists vs Jeep Futurists” coverage. We left off with the rise of the JK and finish with an all-out mall assault and a few choice words from our friend and owner of Fab Fours, Greg Higgs.
Show ‘N Go Jeep
The Show ‘N Go Jeep is the new Escalade, and it’s even struttin’ 38’s with 24”+ wheels. Crazy, we know. But stylish for consumers and profitable for shops, nonetheless. “These enthusiasts want a certain look, something different. While many manufacturers keep producing the same old, same old, we utilize our project vehicles to kick out great concepts and see how well received they are. And these crazy concepts become reality. That’s what happened with the Grumper, Vicowl, and the new fender flares,” said Jason Bukolt, Director of Marketing at Fab Fours. “You can take the Street Jeep for a night on the town, sporting a suit and tie and looking like a million bucks. Then turn around and take it off road where it will perform equally as well,” he added.
A History of Customization
The beauty is that “for 75 years the Jeep brand has been indelibly linked to freedom, adventure, authenticity, and passion. The brand’s unwavering commitment to strength and meaningful engineering has helped forge an extraordinary, uncommon bond between the vehicles and their owners,” said Jeep, and it’s created a Go Anywhere. Do Anything. following that is unlike any other. Whether a Jeeper identifies with the purist or futurist mindset is neither here nor there.
And this have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too mindset isn’t going away. No, no. It’s only growing. “Every time a model changes, we see a spike in our business,” said Bukolt.
If You’re Not All-In, Then You’ll Be Sorry from the Sidelines
The key is to find creative ways to take advantage of these new norms, including the world of e-commerce. As Melissa Richardson, Marketing Director at Warrior Products, says, “It’s not always the enemy. There are ways to make it work for you [as a shop owner] and build connections with people who can help,” she said. “But you have to be able to offer all of it [even those products that are outside your personal comfort zone]. Get more familiar, and you’ll win more sales by stocking the product. That’s how you win this game,” said Richardson.
Consumers, they want it like yesterday because they just realized they’re going camping this weekend, need it, and currently don’t have access to it,” added Richardson. Fortunately, our business is far less about “me” vs “them” and more about seasoning the melting pot of enthusiasts across the industry. To those shuddering in disbelief that consumers can and will continue to drop thousands on a bumper they’ll never use past admiration in the garage mirror, we say… get ordering. Here’s what Fab Fours owner Greg Higgs has to say to the haters…
Sit Back and Watch Us
“It is interesting to reflect on why Fab Fours is so ‘cutting edge’ and how we evolved to where we are today. For starters, I have always had a wild imagination combined with an ‘I don’t care what you think’ mentality. Obviously that attitude has risks in the business world, and had to be tempered. One, in the early days of a business the focus has to be on quality and delivery with little energy leftover for innovation and risks. And two, you cannot afford to be really wrong!
And that is what is fascinating about the current day Fab Fours–we are at the top of the food chain! We have mastered quality and delivery to a level far superior to our nearest competition, which nets some freedom of resources to apply to innovation. Furthermore, when you are the market leader, there is nothing but blank space in front of you. Competitors are watching our moves, while we are out creating the future–exactly where I want to be. So, while in moderation, I am back to deploying a bit of the ‘I don’t care what you think’ mentality. As Steve Jobs said, we are creating products that people do not know they want yet. That is where I believe we catch a lot of resistance from the noisy ‘haters,’ as they fear change as much as they appreciate it for providing them a pulpit for trash talking.
The reality is that I look at vehicles as a blank canvas for ‘what if,’ rather than the old ‘me too.’ This is not to say that we are going to win 100% of the time. The very nature of forging a new path includes some trial and error, but to the true enthusiasts that appreciate customization, they wouldn’t have it any other way. As to the haters, I say check the scoreboard….If you think that resistance will slow us down, think again.”
The year 2018 will make the past few look tame. The GRUMPER and VICOWL had tremendous launches that told Fab Fours they were on the right path, delivering an edgy new look that people are eager to explore amongst a field of gray. “Due to the number of new vehicle applications expected to launch, we have unprecedented engineering resources to devote to breaking molds. So, to the haters, sit back and watch… Cause it’s on!” added Higgs.
Invest and Grow
For shops looking to invest in the future of Jeep, turn to a trusted partner like Keystone Automotive to help evaluate current business, make recommendations of where to improve, and, more importantly, how to get there. This relationship not only gives your shop access to the most impressive inventory across the automotive aftermarket, but also access to some of the most brilliant enthusiasts this industry has to offer. And that, our friends, is priceless.