As vehicle and enthusiast participation in sport compact ``tuning'' grows, it is having a positive spillover effect on the sport compact tuning underhood component segment, according to an analysis by Frost & Sullivan, a strategic growth consulting firm.
The firm said its study of the North American sport compact underhood components aftermarket shows that the market, valued at $131 million in 2001, ``is poised to soar to an impressive $333.4 million by 2008.''
The growth of organized races and shows ``has been a strong driver in expanding vehicle and enthusiast involvement in sport compact tuning,'' Frost & Sullivan reported, leading to higher levels of consumer demand for sport compact modification products.
Tuner vehicles have become a form of individual expression, creating a distinct sub-culture where personal style and performance attributes are paramount, the company said.
``Sport compact enthusiasts view their vehicle not just as transportation but also as an entertainment center, a hobby and a status symbol,'' said Mary-Beth Kellenberger, a Frost & Sullivan research analyst. ``They want to incorporate the vehicle into all aspects of their lives to obtain full value.''
As sport compact aficionados seek to enhance overall ``finish'' levels and impart an individualized visual appeal to their vehicle, expenditures on vehicle modifications, including underhood components, are growing, according to Frost & Sullivan.
Ms. Kellenberger said the number of vehicle models and vehicles applicable to sport compact modifications has risen significantly. ``The vehicle base has expanded beyond imports to include all domestic and traditional race cars as well.''
A broadening customer base for sport compact tuning also is stimulating demand for underhood components. The initial population segment encompassing the 17-25 age range has now expanded to cover the 15-30 age group. ``The development of unique marketing strategies targeted at the youth and young adult market is essential in attaining brand recognition and penetration of the sport compact segment,'' Ms. Kellenberger added.