Performance Upgrades Are Still a Shop Owner’s Ticket to Strong Truck Aftermarket Sales

Really, who doesn’t have a truck anymore? Whether for recreational, professional, or everyday driving use, the pickup is a staple in many American driveways. So much so, the truck trend continues and US auto sales remain strong in 2018—beating expectations that a lull was on the horizon due to higher interest rates and a mass influx of vehicles coming off lease.

As consumer tastes swing ever more toward crossovers, SUVs, and pickups, automakers and aftermarket professionals certainly are reaping the benefits. In fact, according to SEMA market research, light-duty truck aftermarket sales clawed their way out of the recession and climbed by nearly $2 billion in the past handful of years—10% from 2014 to 2015 and reached a total of $6.69 billion in sales. That number has only swelled since 2015. Without a doubt, aftermarket manufacturers and shop owners continue to capitalize. Just look at what Iron Cross, Addictive Desert Designs, Fab Fours, and Allout Offroad are doing!

One such niche within the truck segment? Diesel performance. “The diesel market as a whole is a multibillion dollar business [when taking heavy-duty sales into consideration]. If we dissect the ‘light duty diesel performance’ portion of the industry and place it into its own category, I firmly believe we’re a half to three quarter of a billion-dollar segment,” said Jesse Rohr, US Sales & Marketing Director at MBRP.

OEMs Step Up their Game

OEMs are committed to factory enhancement of late model gas and diesel trucks, striving for marvel appearances, increased towing capabilities, improved fuel economy, and upgraded horsepower and torque performance. These rides have become more versatile for everyday driving or professional use and a popular platform for aftermarket upfitting.

“During the recession, we saw consumers trading in their trucks for more efficient vehicles. [Current] late model upgrades make light-duty trucks a viable option once again for work and play,” said Dan Guyer, Category Manager at Keystone Automotive.

But trucks—both gas and diesel—are more than form and function. Stock performance has increased tremendously, but truck aftermarket sales continue to remain relevant as their products’ manufacturers keep pushing creative boundaries. Even though sophisticated vehicle emissions controls and regulations pose a serious challenge, they continue to succeed. Case in point, overall exhaust product sales in the industry grew from an estimated $140 million to $201 million from 2009 to 2015 alone, according to SEMA market research. And in 2016, 37% of the exhaust market was pickup.

Truck Aftermarket Sales Continue to Rise

As you can see, aftermarket performance upgrades are in demand despite the fine efforts of OEM manufacturers. “Nearly half of all MagnaFlow exhaust system sales are in the truck segment and six of the top 10 SKUs are in the mix,” said Darron Shubin, National Sales Director at MagnaFlow.

But there are many aftermarket manufacturers that specialize in exhaust systems. So, how does a company like Magnaflow differentiate itself from others on the market? “MagnaFlow is proudly manufactured in the USA. With the cost of materials and wages increasing, being a manufacturer in the US is becoming more dependable and more appreciated now than ever,” said Kathryn Reinhardt, Marketing Manager at MagnaFlow and 2015 SEMA Person of the Year.

Furthermore, “MagnaFlow offers 16+ exit configurations for various truck models that include dual split rear, turn downs, and side exits. [The company also] offers multiple types of exhaust tones for the loudest to the quietest of ears simply by choosing from the PRO, XL, and Off-Road series. MagnaFlow gives any enthusiast the ability to hand pick their finish or material – 409 stainless steel, aluminized steel, and even black coated. And with a variety of options MagnaFlow allows for consumers to customize their exhaust from location, to sound, and to finish,” finished Reinhardt.

Capitalize on this Opportunity

Only the aftermarket allows consumers to customize their experience with unmatched performance. Distributors like Keystone offer their customers an impressive depth and breadth of performance products to fit any tall order. So, shop owners, get ready to write some orders because performance upgrades pave the way for many additional accessories, ensuring strong truck aftermarket sales.

Check back soon as we’ve got an insightful Q&A with industry professionals offering details about current truck performance business, market trends, vehicle platforms, top products, trusted brands, and more. Learn how you can start capitalizing on truck performance upgrades today!

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