Remembering back to January, no one seemed sure exactly what 2010 would bring for the performance aftermarket. High gas prices and a serious recession had cast a gloomy mood on many parts of the industry, and uncertainty reigned.
Twelve months later, and I’m happy to report that the business of building speed and power is still strong and soldiering on. National economic woes weren’t enough to derail an industry driven by passion, hard work and ingenuity.
Drivers still love their cars, and industrious speed shops are still helping them realize their dreams. In that spirit, here’s a quick look at the year that was, through the pages of Performance Business.
January: Many performance retailers realized that marketing their parts and services would be critical to success in 2010. Also, the revival of the Super Shops name in California brought back memories of the original national chain’s power and prestige in the 1970s and ’80s.
February: The drag racing market rolled into the staging lane, banking on passionate local racers to see the sport through the new season. Meanwhile, business efficiency became a new mantra for shop owners realizing that doing more with less was now the norm.
March: The new generation of muscle cars reinvigorated the street performance market, while multi-feature performance software offered easy access to power and efficiency. Also, the Project 1320 effort to preserve the memories of drag racing’s early glory days gained momentum.
April: The diesel performance market continued to find its niche, including increased visibility for its competition components.
May: The circle track market showed surprising resiliency for a sport expected to be hit hard by the economy, and dynamometer companies outlined reasons why slow times can be a good time to buy a dyno.
June: A return to towing and hauling by many meant a rebound for the traditional truck performance market, and club racing offered a grassroots connection to drive local business.
July: Off-road enthusiasts love to play dirty, while weekend cruises are a great place for shops to meet potential customers in a relaxed, friendly setting. Meanwhile, the next generation of sport compacts settled into their niche as a viable player in the performance aftermarket.
August: For shops and builders feeling like it’s them against the world, warehouse distributors offer support and a friendly ally in the battle against the daily grind. When searching out new profit centers, fuel systems and components offer ample opportunities.
September: All-wheel drive performance gained traction with small-car enthusiasts, and a moving museum exhibit remembered the life and times of Mickey Thompson.
October: Down times mean good deals on shop equipment-including new machines and upgrades. Plus, the power of nitrous can inject sales into any shop.
November: Vehicles that go fast need to stop hard, meaning good times for the performance brakes market. Ugly is beautiful when it comes to rat rods.
December: Engine builders dig in to what is shaping up to be a promising season, and a brief history of Funny Cars shows why it’s so dang fun to work in this industry.
All of us here at Performance Business wish you a happy, successful New Year, as we all look to make more fond memories in 2011.