The sport compact scene exploded onto the American Market in Fast and Furious form. Its cars and style were presented flashy and full of bling rapidly. The Scene’s rise crushed previous conceptions of what a sport compact is and what you could expect of one.
As the sport compact style became popular and in high demand, the aftermarket sales went through the roof at the speed of light. But, nothing lasts forever. Sport Compact production slowed, though the scene continues to enjoy a healthy growth. However, this growth is occurring in different areas than its primary explosion.
Everyone agrees that the sport compact scene is still alive and growing. What I have noticed a lot over the past year is the scene has changed a little bit. Last year companies that strictly cater to the sport compact scene were mostly into accessories and cosmetics, and I have noticed a lot of them finally doing an increase in performance parts.
I am talking about Turbos, Wastegates, Intercoolers, Pistons, Cams and more. There continues to be a high demand and large growth in the engine performance and suspension modifications. This is good news for performance enthusiasts. This is opening more doors for sport compacts that can me modified.
It’s no longer just an Acura and Honda scene. For a company to be successful, they must offer products for all makes and models that are popular in today’s scene. Such as Neon, Escort, Mx-3, Focus, Cobalt, Miata Tiburon, 350z’s and so on. The domestic and European scene is also in an up rise and companies need to realize that also.
The scene itself changes just as rapidly as new car models come out. The scene continues to mature. Young enthusiasts are becoming more associated the scene and that’s the way it should be. Most estimates that the age range of enthusiasts is from 18 to 35. The first generations of sport compact tuners are now in there early 30’s, which helps keep maturity there.
As the scene matures, so does its vehicles. They are increasing in Styling, Speed and Uniqueness; many new models have become very popular in the scene. Hondas are still king however just like the 350’s were in the hot rod days. There is very fast moving numbers in Cobalt’s, SRT4s, Wrx’s, 240sx’s and more. I would say the latest compacts in the scene come from Honda, Subaru, Toyota, Mitsubishi and even the European brands like BMW, Volkswagen, and Audi are all popular cars to modify.
The cost of gas is a hot topic in today’s society and being discussed almost anywhere you go. But nothing more than high performance aftermarket. Europe pays almost 5 dollars a gallon but their scene is still very much growing. I think we take for granted the fact that our gas costs are still a lot lower than other countries. This is also what is driving the younger crowd to turn towards the 4cyl imports versus a Firebird or Trans Am.
The Cars are more affordable and they are quick and light. It doesn’t take a lot of money to make them fast and they are good on gas.
The Automotive Scene is in its midst of making a huge move away from styling and cosmetics to performance and speed. Without a reasonable doubt, this is only one of many changes to come to the scene as it grows and evolves.