...'Delux Trux' Continued, Page 4

Luxury trucks will boost business

While Kenig makes is sound like luxury trucks will be nothing more than a flash in the pan, he says the new trend will be beneficial to the aftermarket in the long run, especially if aftermarket manufacturers learn from the past.

"I think there are some key things that the aftermarket can learn from what happened with sport sedans, and begin applying them to this situation," says Kenig.

"As the aftermarket begins to look at these new luxury trucks, they'll realize that the OEMs are loading them up with many of the features they've been installing on the more mundane everyday trucks - the Ford, Dodges and Chevvies - to make them more stylish. The OEMs will load them up with every imaginable feature. So there won't be a whole lot those aftermarket retailers and installers can do to make them more stylish. They'll be the truck equivalent of the Armani suit."

As a result, says Kenig, in the beginning, there won't be much of an increase in accessories for these new luxury trucks, because essentially they'll come carriage-built and highly styled.

"I think there may be a frenzied five- or six-year run of popularity before they fall by the wayside, or until something else becomes the hot, trendy new product," notes Kenig. "When their popularity fades, the manufacturers will not be able to sell them in large volumes. That means the number of offerings will probably drop. It also won't be cost-effective for aftermarket firms to tool up to make all kinds of accessories for these luxury trucks, once they begin to fade from the market."

What Kenig does see the aftermarket doing, however, is co-opting some of the styling cues and accessory items from these new luxury trucks, and making less expensive copies. "These then can be installed on the more basic trucks, so the guy driving his run-of-the-mill Ford F-150 or Chevy Silverado can imitate these expensive luxury models."

Whatever happens in the next five or 10 years, the new luxury trucks are sure to have an impact on the truck market. And there will undoubtedly be opportunities to sell accessories for them. And if not, as Kenig suggested, accessory dealers will be stocking accessories that make Ford F-150s look like Lincoln Blackwoods. So in that regard, I suspect the old saying is true: Plagiarism is the sincerest form of flattery.

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