TRUCK TRENDS IN 2021

ALL THAT IS COOL IN THE NEW YEAR

As 2021 (finally) rolls in and gets started, many things are up in the air. It seems like everything is in a strange limbo as some aspects of life begin to go back to normal, and others are still on halt. While you may not see any reports on restaurant or movie theater industry trends for ’21, one industry that has continued to move forward is the 4×4 aftermarket industry. If you’re on the lookout for the parts and upgrades that will be on the leading edge and excite enthusiasts in the new year, look no further – Southern Off-Road Specialists has the inside scoop.

20" WHEELS - THE BARE MINIMUM

One of the most prominent trends that the aftermarket truck industry has seen move through the late 2010s and into the new decade is a preference for larger wheels. In 2021, a 20-inch wheel is the absolute minimum size truck enthusiasts seek out for aftermarket wheels. In 2019 and earlier 2020, we were still seeing 17s and 18s as the standard on smaller 4×4 vehicles like Tacomas, Colorados and Rangers. However, as we moved into the latter part of 2020, even those vehicles became overwhelmingly equipped with 20s. As for 1/2 ton trucks, any thing less than a 20” wheel as an aftermarket wheel has become a very rare bird with 22s and even 24s becoming increasingly popular. Paired with wide, tall all-terrains or mud-terrains, this makes for a tall, aggressive stance. Speaking of tires…

Takeaway: If you aren’t up-fitting your trucks with 20s, you’re not selling your trucks.

37S ON ANYTHING THAT WILL CLEAR

In addition to 20”+ wheels, larger tires are becoming more common. 37” all-terrain, hybrid and mud-terrain tires are steadily moving into the space that has long been occupied by 35s. This is not to say 37s were unheard of throughout the 2010s and 2020 – however 35s have long been been the “standard” so to speak, and any one looking to get into real off-roading / off-road styling opted for 35s on any vehicle that would clear them. In 2021, 35s have become extremely common and some new vehicles, such as the new Ford Bronco, can even be had from the factory with 35s. In response to both the flood of 35s and to newer vehicles ability to clear larger tires, enthusiasts are moving up to 37s for bigger, meaner and more capable vehicles.

Takeaway: While 35s are still a safe option for vehicle up-fits, a 1/2 ton truck or Jeep with 37s will elicit excitement.

6" LIFT IS THE NEW 4" LIFT

To accommodate larger wheel/tire size, larger lifts are required. Whereas a 4” lift cut it in the past on older vehicles running 33s and 35s, 6” lifts are required on most vehicles to start accommodating 37s and larger tires. Especially on 1/2 ton trucks, we’ve seen the 6” lift become by and large the most common lift height over the last two years and we expect that trend to continue strongly into 2021, with larger lifts in the 7” and 8” range becoming more common as well.

Takeaway: Bigger is better! Trucks up-fitted with 6″ lifts are more likely to draw attention and sell.

OVERLANDING GEAR

Overlanding has absolutely taken the off-roading scene west of the Mississippi by storm. However, it has been much slower to catch on in the Southeast. While it really came into its own out west in 2020 (what better way to socially distance than to disappear in your vehicle for a few weeks?), we only saw the beginnings of the movement here in the first half of 2020. As the year continued on, we saw more and more interest pick up within our client base and built our first, all-out overlanders in the last months of 2020. While full builds are still a bit of a novelty in the Southeast as of yet, we have seen a large number of vehicles running miscellaneous overlanding gear, from rooftop tents and freezer systems to recovery gear and solar power systems. In ’21, we fully expect overlanding gear to become a common component of aftermarket upgrades with full-on overlanding builds becoming increasingly commonplace.

Takeaway: If you want a vehicle to stand out on your lot, consider a package with a piece overlanding gear or two.

CONTINUED CHANGES IN WHEEL DESIGNS

The final trend, and one that is also carried over from 2020, is the continuing shift in wheel design. The gloss black / black-and-milled stalwarts of the 2010s are continuing to give way to simplistic and even military-esque wheels in bronze, gray and polished finishes. The old gloss black look isn’t completely out though – heavyweight brands like Fuel Off-Road and Mayhem Wheels as well as newcomers like Wicked Off-Road continue to push the look, though all have introduced their own takes on the new aesthetic.

Takeaway: The “standard” black wheel designs are still a safe bet – for now. However, you can be ahead of the curve by stocking some vehicles with some newer wheel designs.

As a car dealership, we hope you can take this information and use it to stock your lot with some enthusiast-approved vehicles in the new year, boosting your sales. If you’d like to learn more about Southern Off-Road Specialists’ dealer packages, please visit our Dealer Portal website and ask about our Dealer Program. If you’re already a dealer partner and would like to order a cutting edge new package, contact our sales team today!