Car Life Nation

When Driving is about Lifestyle, Car Life Nation is the Answer

When Driving is about Lifestyle, Car Life Nation is the Answer

Excited happy kids driving a toy car

Considering Accessories

Whether you own a Chevy, GMC, Buick or Cadillac, a healthy relationship with GM Parts and Accessories is a great way to get the most out of your vehicle. Sure, much of that relationship goes largely unseen, facilitated by your dealership through their in-house parts department. But what about truck owners? From Sierras to Silverados, GM Parts and Accessories allow you to enhance your truck’s versatility and appearance…to make it your own.

A Sign of the Times

Dig in and you’ll find any number of studies on the changing face of the American truck owner. Having written about it countless times, it’s one of those stories that makes perfect sense once you hear it, but one that you may not have given that much thought to.

Bottom-line: it’s been a long time since trucks were exclusive to farmers, ranchers, and laborers. With more and more homeowners taking on projects, and the general population like the versatility that a truck provides, sales have shot up over the past three decades. And as the pie got bigger, other automakers decided to cut themselves a slice courtesy of their own unique takes on the American pickup truck.

With a truck for everyone, owners’ attention shifted to the unique demands of their own lifestyles. Whether focused on performance or aesthetics, the booming OEM & after-market accessory marketplace would have you covered. The first indication? A 99.8% ($20 million) increase in after-market sales from 1990 to 2000. And if that wasn’t a bright red warning sign, I don’t know what is.

Customization is Key

And in the last 18 years, we’ve entered a world where everything is personalized. From your ringtone to your shoes, customization has allowed for an unparalleled surge in individual expression. Nurture a generation of 16 to 30-year olds with this bespoke mindset, and it’s easy to see where a large portion of their expendable income is headed.

And in a customizable world, what do you drive? Sure, there’s still a large segment that will favor ‘Fast & Furious’ inspired race and drift cars, or off-road vehicles, but a large number of drivers still want lifted trucks with custom exhaust, albeit with a distinctive look. With that in mind, is it any surprise that aftermarket accessories are now valued at a $34 billion industry? Even more staggering is the fact that it pales in comparison to the OEM accessory market which is upwards of $220 billion.

But these markets aren’t supported exclusively by younger motorists or do-it-yourselfers. A growing number of automotive enthusiasts of all ages are choosing to personalize their vehicles. And more than ever, this type of customization is beginning at the time of purchase. Serving only to bolster the further growth of the marketplace, things don’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon.


Wasting No Time

The thought-process behind customizing a new vehicle often starts before any ink makes its way onto a purchase & sales agreement. Many prospective buyers have something in mind before they step onto a dealer lot. Others may require some inspiration (whether they were actively planning to customize their vehicle or not…)

Dealerships recognize this. And it’s for this reason that most showroom vehicles and lot-dressing consist of either the highest trim levels available and/or vehicles that have been enhanced by after-market accessories. Like the magazines, candy bars and lottery-tickets by the cash register, this subliminal advertising leads to impulse buys. And if the purchase isn’t made immediately, it’s still in their head…simmering. In fact, SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) reports that the average American car buyer spends at least $2,000 to option or modify their vehicle, all within the first year of purchase.

After all, what’re a few thousand dollars? Even more so if it’s amortized over 60 payments?


Wealth of Options

From lifts to custom wheels and trucks, grilles to bed liners, there is wide range of custom parts and accessories that we think of every day. But in recent years, others have crept in the fold as well. On-brand decals and lighting covers as a show of solidarity. Alloy wheels. Steps and side-bars. The increasing prevalence of tonneau and bed covers. Remote Starters. Smart Keys. Satellite Radio. GPS Navigation systems. DVD players for rear-seat entertainment. Backup Cameras.

In fact, the speed of technology continues to advance at a rate where many features are almost forced to be served up as standard offerings. From Bluetooth connectivity to WiFi, vehicles are rolling off the factory floor more well-equipped than ever (even at base trim levels). Once a feature is integrated into a new model year, the previous year becomes dated by default. And from a passenger-mindset, the availability of technologies such as WiFi mean the difference between an enjoyable ride and a less enjoyable one.

Helping or Hurting

The distinction is important. Take custom rims for example, since they are among the most popular and easiest-to-install aftermarket accessories. By positively impaction the performance, handling and aesthetics of a vehicle, they also enhance its overall value.

Other such enhancements? Legal window tinting. Taillight treatments. Fog Lights. Bush-guards. Running boards and step bars.

And while properly-installed navigation and entertainment devices (such as DVD players) can add value, it’s important to recognize that the constant dating of technology may not work in your favor. Take the CD player for example. While some insist that absence of a CD player as a standard feature excludes many drivers from enjoying their music, others view it simply as obsolete technology, adding unnecessary cost. Neither is wrong, but the day is fast approaching when this (nearly 40-year old) technology leaves vehicles forever. If that happens, how far behind are DVD players?

Whether you have your truck for three years or ten years is beside the point. As is whether it is brand new, or a refurbished older model. You have every right to make that truck everything that you want it to be. From engine to exhaust, electronics to upholstery, the choice is yours and the right GM parts & accessories are out there waiting for you.