AKRON (July 7, 2000)—Robust North American light truck sales in the past decade have translated into a corresponding sales boom in truck accessories.
Manufacturer sales of light truck and sport-utility vehicle accessories topped $2.21 billion in 1998 and is projected to reach $2.65 billion in 2000, according to the Specialty Equipment Market Association.
Light truck and SUV accessories now make up the largest portion of the specialty equipment market, SEMA said.
This trend shows no signs of slowing, even though interest rates and gas prices are rising, said Meenakshi Ganjoo, an automotive analyst with Frost & Sullivan in San Jose, Calif.
Fueling the craze for light trucks and SUVs are baby boomers who previously had purchased luxury cars, Ms. Ganjoo said, and these same consumers want accessories to enhance their vehicles´ image.
A bullish stock market, strong job growth and low inflation also has left truck owners with money to spend on accessories, she said. Demand for these products is expected to remain strong.
Fashion-driven accessories, including hard tonneaus, hood shields and grille and brush guards, outpaced the average industry growth rate of 9.6 percent, according to Frost & Sullivan´s 1999 report on North American light truck accessories, which Ms. Ganjoo authored.
Frost & Sullivan´s study focused on those four accessories, plus bedliners, running boards, steps, toolboxes and overhead racks for the cargo area.
The report also states that truck accessory sales are highest in the areas with the largest number of registered trucks. California, Texas and Florida are the top three states in registered trucks.
On a regional basis, the South Atlantic region—from Delaware south along the coast to Florida, plus West Virginia—has the highest number of registered trucks, followed by the North Central region—Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota. Together, these two regions account for approximately 38 percent of light truck sales in the U.S.