Auto Service World
Feature   October 1, 2007   by Auto Service World

Performance Exhaust Market Welcomes SEMA Lobby to Canada

The adoption of direct-fit systems in the standard replacement market and cat-back units in the performance exhaust segment has added to the increase in average price of exhaust components. This growth presents an opportunity for manufacturers to introduce new and exciting products, and obviously gives jobbers the chance to sell these new high margin items.

“Stricter emission control drives aggressive inspection and maintenance (I/M) programs and this requires vehicle owners to present the vehicle for testing. It is expected that many states [and provinces] will continue with more aggressive I/M programs during the forecast period, thus leading to an increase in aftermarket unit shipments of exhaust components,” explains research analyst Avijit Ghosh.

Vehicle registration is renewed only if the vehicle passes testing requirements. If the vehicle does not pass the test, the defective converter must be replaced.

The proposed legislation against performance exhausts in states and provinces across North America is likely to pose a threat to the growth potential of this market. The manufacturers’ lobby has succeeded in thwarting such measures by deferring them; however, the various legislatures are set to discuss these again in the future. In addition, the increased adoption of stainless steel during the 1990s further compounds the depressed replacement rates.

“Apart from legislations that curb performance exhausts, many states have empowered police officers to issue citations to vehicle owners who have installed performance exhaust components, as these are very loud,” explains Ghosh. “The need for a uniform law pertaining to the sound limit is acute as it has the potential to place a damper on the adoption of performance exhausts by enthusiasts.”

The Specialty Equipment Market Association’s (SEMA) establishment of the SEMA Action Network (SAN) to work against legislative threats to automotive hobbyists will aid the growth of this market. SAN lobbies against adverse legislation with regard to performance exhausts by contacting legislators and arguing against these proposed laws.

Formerly only operating south of the border, the SEMA Action Network (SAN) recently announced that it has broadened its legislative advocacy activities to include the Parliament of Canada and the provincial governments. “Cooperative efforts of automotive hobbyists and the aftermarket industry who participate in the SEMA Action Network have resulted in numerous legislative successes across the United States,” says SEMA vice-president of government affairs Steve McDonald. “The SAN’s pursuit of proactive, pro-hobby legislation has led to the overhaul of existing statutes and created brand-new programs to safeguard and expand the specialty equipment aftermarket. Determined efforts by the SAN have also resulted in the defeat of several poorly formulated measures.

“Canadian enthusiast groups face identical challenges. We are confident that by working with our Canadian-based members and hobbyist groups, we can add industry’s voice to the debate and help legislators identify reasonable and responsible solutions to the array of issues affecting the automotive hobby,” adds McDonald.

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