• 21

The team over at SEMA, you know them as the group that supplies the automotive industry with aftermarket performance and cosmetic accessories, have asked more than 1,000 automotive enthusiasts how they intend to spend their federal tax rebate checks. Of course, we know what SEMA wants the answer to be...

Interestingly enough, most surveyed (21%) said they would use the money to pay down credit cards. Another large chunk (20%) said they'd bank the cash for now. Of those who said they'd spend the money on specialty automotive equipment, most intend to buy wheels, exhaust kits, cold air intakes, and engine performance accessories. From survey results, SEMA was able to determine most enthusiasts have altered, and delayed, buying specialty equipment due to the high cost of fuel. In fact, some of the hottest aftermarket performance parts right now are specifically designed to enhance fuel economy. We think you just found an excuse for that new CAI. Check out the press release after the jump.

[Source: SEMA]


Millions of tax-paying consumers have began receiving their federal tax rebate checks, and according to a survey sent to automotive enthusiasts last week, 18% said that they plan to purchase custom parts and accessories for their vehicles. The consumers surveyed were current subscribers to automotive enthusiast magazines. The average age and income of these respondents were 46 and $97,000, respectively.

A total of 1,032 enthusiasts answered the survey. The highest percentage of these consumers noted that they plan to pay off credit card bills (21%), followed closely by those that plan to put their rebate check money in the bank (20%).

Other survey findings include:

• Of those who plan to buy specialty equipment, the top "first" accessory choices were custom wheels (8%), exhaust kits (7%), cold air intakes (4%), engine performance tuners (3%), and custom suspension parts (3%).

• For consumers 30 years old and younger, 29% indicated that they plan to purchase specialty equipment and 22% indicated that they plan to put the money in the bank. The most popular specialty-equipment product this group will purchase first: custom wheels (12%).

• 10% of the entire sample surveyed plan to use their rebate money to pay for everyday items, such as groceries and clothing; 8% toward a vacation; 2% for home improvements; 2% to purchase home electronics, such as big-screen televisions; and 19% indicated "other." These "other" write-in responses included regular bills, new furniture, college tuition, fixing their vehicles and off-setting the higher costs of gasoline and diesel.

The increasing cost of gasoline is affecting whether enthusiasts purchase custom automotive parts and accessories. When asked whether current fuel prices have caused them to delay buying specialty equipment for their vehicles, 50% said "yes." Only 33% of survey respondents gave the same answer two months ago when the national average for a gallon of gasoline was $0.35 less than the current average.

Jeff Lawson, an enthusiast from North Carolina, remarked: "I am a car guy, but with rising fuel costs, grocery costs and high unemployment rates, I have altered my automotive spending habits."

Enthusiasts recognize that certain specialty-equipment products are beneficial in order to mitigate the effects of higher fuel costs, however. "Right now anything that helps on gas mileage is sounding pretty good," noted Darin Tenney from Oklahoma.

Consumers want specialty-equipment products that help to increase fuel economy, and many products manufactured have been shown to actually enhance fuel economy along with performance gains. So companies that effectively communicate this message to their customers could profit from upcoming tax-rebate spending.

I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.

    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      My check bought me some headers and a high flow cat for my Camaro along with the necessary hardware. The remainder paid for a new alternator after mine crapped out.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I am buying a PS3 and GT4 Prologue.... Spent too much money on my car already this year.. Already got a tuner, cold air intake, and exhaust this year... doing my part to support aftermarket!
        • 7 Years Ago
        That's what I was going to do until I found that even though Dubya ment this to be spent in a retail fashion, I owe the IRS $468.75 after I make this month's payment...

        So I only get $131.25 of it, might upgrade the PC I just built with a video card and new MB (ATI 690 chipset vs AMD 780 chipset = 2.4x faster) with Hybrid Crossfire (SLI for ATI fans) or a 500GB SATA drive.

        I spent roughly $9,000 on upgrades on the car last year, finally installed the final bits (S3R w Toys) last weekend - 380+hp/400+lbs :)

      • 7 Years Ago
      I am spending some of my "stimulus" check on a Playstation 3. Politicians play games with the tax revenue they confiscate from us, so it makes sense to play games with the money they return to those of us who earned it in the first place.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Yes, I'm sure that a $900 exhaust system will save $900 in fuel...I'm sick of hearing about how all these performance mods increase gas mileage.

      Anyways, mine is going to pay down the principal on my car loan. In a few years, I'll be glad I did this.
        • 7 Years Ago
        it depends on the car

        if it's turbocharged, an ECU tune can save you LOTS of money in gas
      • 7 Years Ago
      You're 100% right, mk. You're too damn conservative to get elected, and that's a good thing.

      After eight years of George W. Bush, you morons shouldn't even have a vote in 2008. And that's the real shame of Hillary Clinton's impending loss...another Clinton presidency would've been one hell of a payback.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I plan to use my rebate to pay for the additional fees for excess mileage accumulated on my leased Nissan Frontier, and to get another leased pickup truck. Can someone give me an offer? I'll right-off my vehicle lease , vehicle expenses (tax deductions), and stick it back to the govt. who don't give you true information regarding our economy by not considering "real" cost of living expenses for food, higher banking interest rates, and ridiculous price and tax for gas. Everyone should look for "FreeGas" opportunities. There you have it, tax rebate + tax write-off + Fee Gas Opportunity to bring down "real" expenses. Take control of your destiny, and use your dream vehicle/auto to your destination of choice on your own terms. God Bless you, your family, community, county, state, and the U.S.A.
      • 7 Years Ago
      My check went to my car. It went for a head gasket, a water pump, an assortment of seals and gaskets and a few tools I was missing to do the head gasket job on my Miata.

      Yep, the day we got our check my head gasket popped it's cork. $800 and counting so far.


      • 7 Years Ago
      Mine WAS going toward the purchase of a 350z, but seeing as I'm still in college, my parents filed me as a dependent which meant I didn't get one.

      Too bad I never heard that bit in the news...
      • 7 Years Ago
      I almost used mine towards a 1970 Cadillac... until the brakes (which the seller had had redone) failed on the test drive. which pretty much took care of that. Ended up buying a 1,000w amp for my home stereo.

      May still end up with a Cadillac later... Depends on how many people start putting their sub-10mpg 'project' cars up for sale after finding out that they can't/don't want to afford them anymore.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I using it towards my daughter's wedding
      • 7 Years Ago
      This is total nonsense about better mileage...if any performance mods could give you better mileage and horsepower the manufacturers would have done it themselves to get their mileage and power ratings up.

      The only time adding something like a CAI would really improve mileage is if you were too lazy to regularly replace your air filter and it became clogged up with crud. In which case of course, replacing it with a clean CAI would improve your mileage. That's probably the only reason people think CAIs improved their mileage *sigh*

      How about people spend the money to make sure their car is actually properly maintained with clean air filters, an up to date oil change, etc.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I have larger turbo and I picked up 2mpg, no BS and increased HP by 80-90hp/80-100lbs of torque under boost (20+psi). Out of boost I see a mileage increase, so blow it out your tailpipe, some mods do increase mileage because they decrease pumping losses...
      • 7 Years Ago
      saving it for the purchase of 09 Audi A3 2.0T quattro DSG. when it comes out
    • Load More Comments