It seems like I get asked on a daily basis by my non-industry friends if I fear for the future of our business due to the slow economy, increasing government regulation and the situation with the “Big Three” automakers. These people correctly point to the fact that our companies don’t produce a single product that is considered a necessity for daily life. In addition, it now seems that the new Washington administration is going to be heavily involved with deciding what type of cars the automakers will be building in the years ahead. Of course, the fact that this drama is unfolding right in front of our eyes and you can’t turn on a newscast without hearing about it only adds fuel to the discussion.
So here’s my big prediction about the future of the automotive aftermarket: barring a complete economic meltdown, people will continue to chase their passion, and our industry will not only exist but many savvy companies will even prosper as the changes lead to untapped opportunities. If you recall, this industry has weathered plenty of tough times and market changes in the days gone by, such as the oil crisis of the 1970s and advent of computer controlled cars.
Bottom line: it has always and will continue to be “cool” to go fast, regardless of the vehicle. Our customers are passionate about their automobiles; it’s something that stems from deep inside, not just a passing fad or hobby. If the automakers change the vehicles – we’ll change our business/products to adapt; if the government tightens the regulations – we’ll change our business/products to adapt. I just don’t foresee a scenario in which our customers will walk away from racing, street rodding or modifying their vehicles. In fact, it’s entirely possible that the harder outside forces try to dictate what type of cars should be on the road – there will be a big pushback by consumers. This could lead to a whole new cottage industry of automakers that are more in-tune with the performance, styles, etc that consumers want in their vehicles. Just think of the opportunities!
Despite all the changes that are certainly ahead for our industry, there’s no place I would rather be. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about how lucky we are to be involved in an industry driven by passion and genuinely good people. Think about how many unfortunate people in this world wander aimlessly through life without ever finding anything they are truly passionate about. Don’t listen to the naysayers, I’m here to tell you that it’s a great time to be a car guy/girl. Besides, the thought of getting a real job is about as exciting to me as a Dodge K-car!
VP of Marketing
COMP Performance Group™
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