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How the Automotive Styling Industry Has Reinvented Itself

The growth of the automotive enhancement industry in the past 20 years is simply staggering. At the turn of the century, if a new car owner wanted to improve the stylistic features of their valued ride, it was mainly to add aftermarket enhancements – like car stereos, and alarm systems, and to tint their windows. If they wanted protection for paint – it came in the form of a can of Turtle Wax and resulted in sore arms.

Needless to say – in 2022 – the game has changed.

The growth of the modern auto spa is amazing – with more entrepreneurs convinced to offer premium-grade protective solutions such as nano-ceramic coatings, paint protection film, and window films – many offering their customers lifetime warranties. The main reason – those premium aftermarket enhancements are now factory-installed options.

Simply put, automotive manufacturing changed the game’s rules, and auto salon owners had to evolve. Since 2015, many of these struggling businesses began turning to professional automotive styling manufacturers like Ceramic Pro for business growth education, training, and software solutions that streamline their daily business operations.

From Sound Systems to Ceramic Coatings

As we noted above, new cars, trucks, and SUVs come with factory-equipped premium audio systems, connect their mobile device via Bluetooth technology, have GPS tracking alarm systems, and some – factory-installed privacy glass that darkens their windows. These enhancements are now standard across many automakers.

This has directly impacted the automotive styling industry – as many of their service offerings are simply no longer practical for today’s vehicle owner. But the moves and enhancements offered by vehicle manufacturers has also changed the consumer culture.

Ceramic Pro Mooresville Elite Dealer Tint Installer

Today’s vehicle owner no longer sees the value in spending a few thousand dollars on a premier sound system installed by a shop with no warranty. They’d rather pay a few hundred dollars extra at the dealership and roll that into their monthly payment. The vehicle owner would rather spend their money protecting their investment.

This is where the modern auto salon offering premium ceramic coatings, PPF, and window film offers a convenient solution. These vehicle owners are driven to professional auto salons for elevated automotive spa treatments that can protect their car’s interior, exterior, and even occupants from damaging UV rays, acid rain, and environmental contaminants.

In layman’s terms – there is limited demand for aftermarket sound systems and higher demand for aftermarket protective solutions.

The Impact of Modern Communication

So – if customers are actively seeking protection for their vehicles, the question remains – where do they go – and more importantly – how do they find them? This is where modern search engines and digital marketing have likewise changed the game forever.

Case in point – if a consumer just purchased a Tesla in Carlsbad, California, and they are looking for a business to install a coating to protect their paintwork and maybe window film to keep their EV cooler during the summer – they hop on Google. Search engines are amazing for directing consumers to businesses that will benefit them.

In the old days – an automotive styling shop would depend on radio and print advertising – or perhaps word of mouth to drive business.

Today a simple Google search for ceramic coatings for tesla in Carlsbad will produce Ceramic Pro Carlsbad. It will drive the consumer to a professionally designed website that is simple to navigate, accessible through multiple devices and allows them to get a quote with one click of a button.

As more consumers are driven to businesses that make it easy for them to find – it’s now creating a high supply of ready-to-invest consumers for the premium auto salon to convert into sales.

The Importance of Opulence

If one thing hasn’t changed about the automotive styling industry, it’s the importance of opulence – or maintaining a professional appearing business and delivering a customer-centric experience.

In the 1980s the powerhouse of audio and entertainment installations in Southern California was DOW Stereo. Their selling point was rather simple – bring your car to a professional audio installer, in a nice – well-stocked showroom, with a clean installation center and catchy radio ads.

In short, they gave the customer everything they wanted – even free coffee while they got a quote and booked their appointment.

It’s funny – but things haven’t changed much.

Today’s car owner is seeking similar upscale service in the auto spas they trust to protect their daily drivers with coatings, PPF or window film. However, if there is one change, more customers are driven to opulent locations – who take pride in branding and the quality of each aspect of their business.

Branding goes much further than the look and feel of an auto spa. It’s in the way the business communicates with customers, the location of the business, their digital or online presence, the quality of content they produce, and of course – the superior level of customer service.

If a car owner is going to spend a few thousand dollars on paint protection film, ceramic coating, and window film, you’d better believe they’ll drive a few extra miles to drop off their car at a premium location, who invests in quality marketing, and operates with an upscale mentality across the board.

Higher Supply – Higher Demand – Higher Expectations

When you add up everything above – automotive manufacturers installing premium audio/visual equipment, more consumers spending money on protection, and choosing to work with professional appearing and acting auto spas, this is creating a target-rich consumer environment – or in economic terms – a high supply of pre-qualified customers who demand these services.

How Ceramic Pro Has Elevated the Game

Ceramic Pro realized the aftermarket enhancement game was changing in 2015 when we aggressively hit the US market, expanded to North and South America. We now maintain a network of 3,500+ certified installers from Alaska to Chile.

Our new Elite Dealer program addresses everything above – premium grade ceramic coatings, paint protection film, window tint, high-quality branded businesses, and an elevated customer experience that surpasses the expectations of those our network serves.

To further enhance the customer experience and to develop trust with them, Ceramic Pro partnered with Carfax® to pioneer and develop the world’s first Automotive Appearance Protection reporting feature – documented on a vehicle’s service history report. When a customer purchases a Ceramic Pro package, their warranty can be uploaded and saved on their VIN history report.

This type of white glove service was not an option, with aftermarket sound or alarm system installation popular at the turn of the 20th century. In most cases, they never carried warranties. Today’s Ceramic Pro packages are all backed by Carfax documented warranties – with some offering lifetime protection.

Ceramic Pro goes further through our Ceramic Pro Education program – a series of hands-on, online, and in-person training programs that helps our auto salons install our products better, take care of them after the sale, operate as ethical business owners, and optimize profitability.

Tim Charlet

Author Tim Charlet

Tim Charlet serves as the Pai Mei of Ceramic Pro Americas content management team. He also formulates and improves Americana Global detailing supplies, and serves as a Key Accounts Manager for Ceramic Pro and Americana Global products.

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