Speaking of leather seats, Restyling magazine recently asked reps from the four biggest seat-cover manufacturers – Katzkin, Roadwire, Alea and Pecca – to share their thoughts on the growing market for leather-interior conversion kits.
While their answers don’t directly pertain to most shops’ day-to-day operations, they do provide some insight into the future of our industry. As Naseem pointed out two days ago, companies like Katzkin are beefing up their infrastructure to prepare for increased demand.
Demand for what exactly? Restyling notes that in addition to leather seat covers, customers are also eying steering-wheel covers, shift boots, E-brake handles, consoles, door panels and seat heaters in record numbers.
Indeed, what’s good news for these manufacturers is also good news for us – as they either don’t sell direct to customers or need us to do the installations. And, since we know who’s mostly making these sales… ehem… car dealers… perhaps it’s a good idea to start marketing our services and developing working relationships with them.
That is, of course, if you aren’t already.
For more information, read “Leather Bound” by Restyling magazine.
Adams Auto Upholstery says
I find that many dealers order and install leather covers themselves. It makes sense to pay a guy $15 an hour rather than pay me $50. Of course, clean installations makes these covers look, fit, and wear the best, but it shouldn’t take long to develop a knack for installing them. Why would a dealer choose a trim shop for installation? If it’s an older car that has foam issues, we would be the best choices, but most of these are going in new cars as an upgrade option. Again, why choose a trim shop?
Innovations Auto Interiors says
Your right, a lot of the big dealerships are doing the work in house but the small and medium sized car lots don’t have the means or the need to hire someone to do this type of work on a regular basis. $15 an hour plus taxes and insurance for an employee you won’t always need doesn’t make sense either. The smaller lots are where most of the work is going to come from. There are a lot more smaller lots specializing in premium and “gently used” vehicles and they like to provide these options to their customers as well. If they’re not I always suggest it, it brings more business my way and helps them provide more options to their customers.
Nadeem Muaddi says
Great point about small- and medium-sized car lots Innovations Auto Interior.
Plus, let’s not forget that there are “restyling shops” that only do this type of work. They’re not part of dealerships or auto upholstery shops. They’re completely independent, and all they do is conversion kits, tinting, sunroofs, etc – basically anything that dealers’ customers want.
In a lot of cases they undercut us in install prices on these kits (they can afford to do so because of the amount of work they get from dealers). However, where we can compete, we should.