The Suspension Products section of the 2017 SEMA Market Report shows a steady sales increase from 2014-2016. Pickup, SUV, and mid-range/traditional car applications drive the overall numbers at 42%, 25%, and 13% respectively. While automaker suspension systems continue to advance, Bob Schuetz of KW Suspensions foresees a bright future for aftermarket companies investing in being ahead of the curve. There’s always room for product improvement. And a business structure like the aftermarket, which reverse-engineers OEM parts to identify weaknesses and create superior performance, will always have a seat at the table in one capacity or another.
Good, Better, Best
For powerhouse suspension company ReadyLIFT, they are focused on aggressive expansion and a quality lineup that organizes the lift market into good, better, best categories.
“It’s easy for people to get their heads around this notion,” said Tom Bennett, Director of Marketing. All ReadyLIFT products are developed with the same premium quality and integrity. “There’s no room for cutting corners,” Bennett added. “But think of good, better, best as a mild-to-wild selection. We offer everything from leveling kits to (middle-of-the-road) SST kits and complete lift kit systems that round out the portfolio. There’s something for everyone. While a lot of competitors specialize in just one space like Jeep®, or do just huge kits or low-cost leveling, we’re trying to take the capability of our brand and spread it across multiple vehicle categories,” explained Bennet.
Bigger, Better, Faster
But where is the product innovation heading, you ask? Race-driven technology by giants like Bilstein, Fox, and Kings means that brands like ReadyLIFT must strive for component capability. But the most influential aspect of the robust suspension market is actually a challenge.
“We’re talking about a macro-economic factor outside our jurisdiction, and that’s the fact that trucks and SUVs are far more sophisticated today…to the point that the chassis is being controlled by computers. There are massive amounts of computer technology and sensors, and they’re making intelligent decisions for the vehicle and driver. So, our systems have to harmonize and peacefully co-exist with regulatory and safety tech on board, and I think that’s the biggest thing for us. How do you continue to innovate and make vehicles bigger, better, faster, higher, and all that stuff while still harmonizing with these customer-driven safety and security features? It’s going to require a lot of testing,” said Bennett.