At $1.5 billion and growing strong, the auto aftermarket industry--like the hot rods it caters to--is appropriately showing no signs of slowing. Aside from the obvious performance benefits of adding aftermarket accessories, "a lot of people do it for the looks," says Reginald Loterina, 31, founder and CEO of Island Motorsports Inc. Loterina, who started his Buena Park, California, company in 1995, says his sales have been growing about 25 percent a year--selling everything from lighting and exhaust kits to carbon fiber-based products such as spoilers and hoods--and he expects 2003 sales to hit $2 million.
So what are the real winners in this market? "Right now, vehicle lighting is the hottest thing going," says Jack Panzarella, 32, founder of Wayne, New Jersey-based Street Glow Inc. Panzarella's products (some of which were featured in The Fast and the Furious as well as the sequel)--neon undercar kits, glowing foot pedals, LED shift knobs, LED exhaust tips and more--have fueled Street Glow's success, with sales exceeding $100 million in 2002. More than just lighting up cars, this industry is lighting up profits--big-time.