Dealers Get Into The Accessory Game
The role of electric vehicles in the United States is making headlines, but Dodge is betting there’s a lot of gasoline left in America’s love affair with muscle cars. It plans to market high-performance Stage 1 and Stage 2 tuning packages under its revived Direct Connection brand.
Dating back to 1974, Direct Connection was Chrysler’s line of performance parts. The new initiative will feature kits that can generate up to an additional 100 hp and remain emissions legal for 50 states if installed by one of Dodge’s new certified performance dealers – and upgrades will not affect the guarantees of contemporary Challengers, Chargers or Durangos.
The modifications are designed to be installed in sequence and unlocked at each step with a direct connect tuner / controller. When a new car is ordered, the kits can also be installed by the certified dealer before the buyer takes delivery.
Gearboxes, V-8 enthusiasts and racers will be able to whet their appetites for the aftermarket through a Direct Connection website, hotline and parts catalog that should be ready this week.
However, not everyone is chasing after secondary market income. “We don’t do a lot of vehicle customization at our dealerships,” said Geoffrey Pohanka, president of Pohanka Automotive Group in Capitol Heights, Maryland. “Sometimes we tried and it didn’t work for us.”
Pohanka’s stores include Chevrolet, Toyota, Lexus, Honda, Acura, Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan and Volkswagen.
“The accessories offered by manufacturers are overpriced and often do not meet a real demand,” explains Pohanka, a third-generation dealer. “So we should rely on aftermarket accessories that are not covered by the manufacturer’s warranty. Many of these aftermarket accessory manufacturers go bankrupt. If there is a quality issue, it may be difficult to get these companies to support their product. “
There is also the question of affordability.
“Banks should be willing to fund personalization, or the customer would have to offer more cash, which is often a challenge,” Pohanka said. “We do not find it worth the trouble to get into this business.”