Keystone News

On The Jeep® Trail

Keystone's George Lathouris Shares Insight On How Retailers Can Profit From The Jeep® Market

It's clear that truck accessory manufacturers have embraced the Jeep® market for a reason. It's one of the fastest growing segments of the truck and SUV industry and is not showing any signs of slowing down. So manufacturers have jumped in, creating a variety of products that allow truck accessory retailers and restylers an opportunity to grow their businesses. From the viewpoint of a warehouse distributor, the Jeep trend can also give truck accessory retailers another avenue to grow their customer base too.

With 38 years of experience, former Chairperson of the SEMA LTAA and SEMA Person Of The Year, Keystone's George Lathouris, believes Jeep®s are one of the most exciting trends he's seen in recent years. "Overall, Jeep®s are more accepted for families, and because of that, the popularity of the vehicle has increased and is quickly becoming the second vehicle." For the truck accessory retailer, Lathouris says it's important to realize that a large portion of this growing Jeep® accessory market isn't necessarily made up of hardcore four-wheelers. In fact many truck accessory manufacturers who are now producing Jeep® products that are sold through WD's like Keystone, agree that the target market are those Jeep® owners who want to customize their vehicles to look good and perform off-road. Yet, most are primarily used for daily driving.

Because WD's like Keystone are quick to move on trends and carry a full line of Jeep® parts and accessories, truck accessory retailers can have a full supply of hard and soft goods available to them when they're ready to jump into this market. "I think is our job to have the right product to suit the marketplace and to deliver at the right time," says Lathouris. "It's important for retailers and restylers who work with WD's like Keystone, to take advantage of the trends to grow their business." Of the many brands and products Keystone carries, Lathouris says that retailers can't go wrong selling Jeep® soft goods and cargo solution products. In addition, should retailers get some hardcore off-roaders into their stores, Keystone has a supply of its branded products that can cater to those customers as well. "The Trail FX/ brand is a perfect example of this," says Lathouris. "It was developed in response to a changing marketplace. We began with bumpers, grille guards, and side steps, and then added items such as wheels and a high-quality recovery winch line for those retailers who have grown their Jeep® customer base. This variety gives jobbers high-quality products, that also satisfies consumer demands. It also allows Keystone to provide for reasonable support. In addition, these items are not just for Jeep®s, but can also be sold for fleets and work-trucks. So there's always ways to move product off the shelves."

As with any new market, retailers are often fearful of stocking new products and not being able to properly communicate with their customers. For those retailers, Lathouris has some suggestions on how to easily transition into selling Jeep® products. "The first thing any retailer should do is attend a Jeep® show to see what parts are popular and who the customers are. Right now there's a Jeep® show or gathering every weekend so it's easy to find something local," says Lathouris. "Retailers can also get online and see what Jeep® people are talking about, and what products they are interested in."

In addition, one of the easiest ways that Keystone can help retailers over their fears is to provide marketing materials and the company's 150 page Jeep® catalog. "At Keystone, we can supply retailers with popular products such as soft-tops, roof racks and any other item that are hot sellers right now," says Lathouris. "We also provide website support, marketing materials, and our Jeep® catalog can sit on the counter with the retailer's name on it. Customers can pick out what they want from the catalog and get it quickly without the retailer having to make any major inventory investment. The catalog is well thought out and is lifestyle specific, so new Jeep® customers to experienced off-roaders will find something they like."

While some retailers think that the Jeep® market has reached its peak, most believe it's not even near that point. "What the truck a retailer should pay attention to, is the amount of vehicles being sold," says Lathouris. "The data tells us that more Jeep®s are being sold year after year. It's a very vibrant and growing market in which the brand has been established and goes through a constant evolution." While the data shows that the Jeep® craze is still in full swing, it's important to jump in on the trends. With support from WDs and manufacturers, selling Jeep® products will continue to be profitable for retailers who added them to their inventory.

Recent Articles

Keystone Automotive to Distribute GRID Off-Road Products

GRID Off-Road has entered into an exclusive distribution agreement with Keystone Automotive Operations covering the U.S. and Canada.

“To compete and grow in today’s dynamic retail environment, businesses like ours need to find better ways to deliver products to market quickly and efficiently,” said Lawrence Lee, owner of GRID Off-Road. “After lining up our strengths and thinking about what we really love doing—designing innovative wheels and manufacturing them to the highest quality—we came to the realization that we needed to find a partner that could help us reach our growth potential and tackle the supply chain challenges.”

GRID Off-Road evaluated several options before landing on Keystone, according to the company.

“With Keystone’s network of warehouses, fleet of trucks, commitment to inventory and complete toolkit of marketing solutions they became the obvious choice,” Lee said. “We market, design and manufacture to the highest trendsetting standards in the aftermarket today. We believe their unique ability to serve the aftermarket coupled with their approach is a perfect fit."

Keystone operates seven distribution centers in North America with a combined available warehouse footprint of over 2.5 million square feet. GRID Off-Road products will be stocked in all locations to provide next-day delivery service and improved fill rates, according to the company.

GRID Off-Road headquarters are stationed near Keystone’s new 450,000-square-foot warehouse in Eastvale, California.

“We are extremely pleased to have this opportunity to work with GRID and serve both their existing customers, our very broad customer base and the future customers we develop together,” said Bill Rogers, president of Keystone Automotive Operations. “GRID’s focus on providing quality products and a positive customer experience is in alignment with ours. Our ability to reach the market through our sales team, the BIG Show and our marketing programs will provide GRID an excellent platform for growth. We appreciate their confidence in us and will work hard to insure the potential of their products and brand is realized.”

Tim Montana Live in Concert at the Glass Cactus

Gaylord Texan and Convention Center, Grapevine, TX

Join us and WEATHER GUARD to welcome Tim Montana for a LIVE concert before the BIG Show in Dallas, Texas on February 23rd at 8:00 p.m.. Protected by WEATHER GUARD.

* You must show your convention badge for entry.
* Must be 21 to attend.

 

ABOUT TIM MONTANA

It’s easy to see why Montana’s music connects with so many people far and wide. Dubbed as one of Rolling Stone’s “Artists You Need to Know,” his musical influencers range from Merle Haggard to Guns N’ Roses. Montana’s passion for music has not gone unnoticed by his fellow musicians. “Tim is the real deal. He’s a little bit country with lots of hard rocks — or maybe he’s a rocker in touch with some serious country roots,” says ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons. 

Tim grew up in Butte, MT in a household that did not support his musical career. He quickly learned if he wanted to make a reality of out his passion to sing and play guitar, he had to escape Big Sky Country. He packed his bags and made his way to the heart of country music, Nashville, TN. 

Soon after living in Nashville, a rodeo performance caught the attention of David Letterman. David was so impressed by Tim’s music, he personally invited Tim to perform on The Late Show with David Letterman. 

Montana continued to write and record which earned him a worldwide publishing deal with the Spirit Music Group. This led to an introduction with ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons. The two of them collaborated on multiple different tracks including, “This Beard Came Here to Party” which was the anthem for the Nashville Predator’s 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Tim followed up with writing on Kid Rock’s current single, “Tennessee Mountain Top” and “Greatest Show On Earth” as well as Mac McAnally’s current hit, “Amarula Sun.” 

In September 2017, Tim released his single, “Hillbilly Rich.” Rolling Stone called the song an, “an ode to fantasies about telling off your boss, making it rain, and having everything all at once.” Shortly after the song was released, Tim performed the single live on Fox & Friends.

To learn more about Tim Montana you can click here to visit his website.

The BIG Show to Feature Erik Qualman as Keynote Speaker

Gaylord Texan and Convention Center, Grapevine, TX

KEYSTONE AUTOMOTIVE OPERATIONS, Exeter, PA.  -  Keystone Automotive Operations is pleased to announce the addition of Erik Qualman as keynote speaker to the 2018 BIG Show lineup, Friday, February 23rd at 4:30 PM – 5:30 PM prior to show opening at 6:00 PM. “Our BIG show is bigger than ever this year and we wanted to add a Keynote Address as a new component to our program,” commented Fred Petrivelli, VP Sales for Keystone Automotive Operation. “We are always looking for ways to help our customers and believe that delivering thought provoking content and solutions that can expand the way they think about their business is important.”   He adds, “We are very grateful of Warn’s sponsorship of Erik Qualman and helping us provide an educational and entertaining jumpstart to our event,”

 

#1 Best Selling Author and Motivational Speaker Erik Qualman has performed in 49 countries and reached 25 million people this decade. His Socialnomics work has been on 60 Minutes to the Wall Street Journal and used by the National Guard to NASA. His book Digital Leader propelled him to be voted the 2nd Most Likeable Author in the World behind Harry Potter's J.K. Rowling.

What Happens in Vegas Stays on YouTube helped Qualman be listed by Forbes and Fortune as a Top 100 Digital Influencer. His business books are used in over 200 universities and he has received an honorary doctorate for his groundbreaking work.

His book How to Sell on LinkedIn is becoming mandatory reading for sales teams. Qualman was formerly a sitting professor at Harvard & MIT’s edX labs. “The digital age has brought an unprecedented focus on branding, especially social reputation. We feel Erik’s remarks will strike a chord with our customers as they look for new ways to connect with their consumers,” says Petrivelli.

For more information, attendees and suppliers should visit www.keystonebigshow.com or contact their Keystone representative.





Keystone is the leading distributor and marketer of aftermarket automotive products and services, uniquely positioned to offer customers and suppliers substantial scale, the most comprehensive inventory selection in the industry, high levels of customer service and innovative marketing support. Keystone is committed to expanding its offering to meet the ever-growing needs of its customer base, providing them what they need, when they need it most.

Holley and Keystone Automotive Operations team up to bring Bullitt Mustang to the BIG Show

Exeter, PA (February 2, 2018) The iconic 1968 Mustang fastback driven by Steve McQueen in the movie Bullitt (1968) will be on display during the Keystone BIG Show February 23-24, 2018 at the Gaylord Texan in Grapevine, TX. The Bullitt Mustang came out of hiding after 40 years of being one of the best kept secrets in automotive folklore.  It’s unveiling occurred at the North American International Auto Show this January in the Ford booth during the company’s announcement of a special edition 2019 Bullitt Mustang celebrating the 50th anniversary of the movie.

Sean Kiernan, the car’s owner, had this to say, “I’m really looking forward to showing Bullitt at the BIG Show. Being a Keystone cousin – I’m an LKQ employee – it’s fantastic that the timing of the event and the attention the car is getting are so well aligned. I think it will be awesome for our customers while creating a real buzz in Holley’s booth.”

Sean has said that his family kept the car a secret over the years with plans to eventually restore it as a father-son project. It was used as a daily driver after the Bob Kiernan (Sean’s father) purchased it in 1974 from an ad that ran in Road & Track Magazine. Auction estimates place the value of the vehicle between $4-5 million – comparable to other iconic cars like the Batmobile and James Bond’s original Aston Martin.

Two 1968 Mustang GT fastbacks were used in the award-winning film. One was sold to a private buyer and the other one, due to its condition after being thrashed around the streets of San Francisco, was destined for the salvage yard. “This original Bullitt Mustang is one of the most iconic vehicles of all time,” said Mark Gessler, president of the Historic Vehicle Association. “It’s one of the most important artifacts of the 21st century in terms of automotive history. It is a national cultural treasure.” (as quoted in USA Today).Bullitt Mustang

 “We are really excited to be bringing Bullitt to the BIG Show and it wouldn’t have been possible without the generous support of Holley. To give our customers the chance to see this very rare piece of American automobile heritage in person is thrilling,” said Bill Rogers, VP and General Manager for Keystone. “For most of our guests this will be a once in a lifetime opportunity and definitely worth the trip to Texas to see.”

The work of the Historic Vehicle Association with support from partners such as Ford Motor Company, Hagerty, Shell, Pennzoil, LKQ Corporation, American Fuel and Petrochemical manufacturers, and The NB Center for American Automotive Heritage have resulted in Bullitt being the 21st vehicle listed on the National Historic Vehicle Register.

To learn more about the Mustang Bullitt visit www.historicvehicle.org. Details about the BIG Show can be found at www.keystonebigshow.com.

 For additional information and videos click here: https://www.historicvehicle.org/documentary-films/

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