Performance-upgrade and off-road products emerge as the bright spots in the shock absorber and struts aftermarkets. These segments continue to grow steadily despite a slow market, mostly because of their client base. These consumers are enthusiasts that are much less price-sensitive than most vehicle owners, focusing on performance, technology and brand reputation. They are willing to spend money and replace perfectly good parts to modify their vehicles.

According to new strategic research from Frost & Sullivan, North American Shock Absorber and Strut Aftermarket, this industry, which generated $610.6 million in revenues in 1999, is growing slowly and should reach $695.5 million in revenues by 2006.

Intense competition has forced most competitors in this aftermarket into niche market areas such as upgrade, performance and off-road products. Two major players dominate the field with a combined revenue share of more than 90 percent. These two companies also rule the major distribution channels and cover the market with a broad range of products, which has made survival difficult for many other participants.

However, consumer awareness could bring renewed sales to the industry. In addition to making the ride smooth and more comfortable, shocks and struts allow the driver to maintain steering and braking control. They are safety as well as comfort components.

"A marketing campaign to stress the importance of shock and strut replacement is in order," comments Frost & Sullivan analyst Joerg Dittmer. "Replacement is often deferred for much too long. These products deteriorate slowly and drivers may not immediately notice that comfort and control are decreasing. But as consumer awareness increases through education efforts, the demand for shock
absorbers and struts should grow proportionately."

Frost & Sullivan presents 2000 Marketing Engineering Awards to companies that have worked hard to make a positive contribution to the ground transportation industry. The 2000 Market Engineering Business Development Strategy Award is presented to Gabriel Ride Control Products. The 2000 Market Engineering Product Innovation Award is given to Carrera Shocks. The 2000 Market Engineering Entrepreneurial Company Award is presented to Cardone Industries.

Companies that participate in this industry include:

BellTech Corporation; Cardone Industries, Inc.; Carrera Shocks; Cofap of America, Inc.; Dick Cepek, Inc.; Doetsch Tech, Inc.; Edelbrock Corporation; Explorer Competition Products, Inc.; Gabriel Ride Control Products, Inc.; General Motors Service Parts Operations GMSPO; Ground Force; KONI North America; Krupp Bilstein of America;
KYB America LLC; Monroe Auto Equipment Company; Motorcraft; Penske Racing Shocks; Rancho Industries; Sachs-Boge of America; Skyjacker Suspensions; Superlift Suspension Systems; Tokico USA, Inc.; Trail Master Suspension and Warn Industries, Inc.

Frost & Sullivan is an international marketing consulting company headquartered in Silicon Valley, California. The Frost & Sullivan Industrial business unit monitors the Industrial market for trends, measurementsand growth rates. This study is utilised to update a series of online research such as the Automotive Aftermarket Custom Subscription. This is complemented by support for industry participants with custom consulting needs. Free executive summaries of all Frost & Sullivan reports are available to the press.