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Custom Wheel Colors Can Earn Dealerships More Green

Alloy wheels are an attractive, often-desired feature for new and pre-owned vehicle customers. There’s now an exciting trend growing in the automotive industry: custom colored alloy wheels. Popular makes are now coming off the line with black and gun-metal colors and sold as upgrade packages to consumers — and customers are buying.

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Alloy wheels are an attractive, often-desired feature for new and pre-owned vehicle customers. There’s now an exciting trend growing in the automotive industry: custom colored alloy wheels. Popular makes are now coming off the line with black and gun-metal colors and sold as upgrade packages to consumers — and customers are buying.

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Colored alloy wheels started in the aftermarket industry in the early 2000s. Aftermarket manufactures such as Konig and Forgiato produced dynamic wheel styles and colors designed to pop and provide a unique look to any stock vehicle. As the demand for these wheels grew, OEMs took notice and introduced “special edition” packages on select models. By 2010, custom colored wheels, specifically blacked-out wheels, started to show up on Chevrolet Camaros and Corvettes, Ford Mustangs, Jeep Cherokee Sports and others on dealer lots. Today, we’re seeing black wheels and other custom colors and styles on luxury brands such as Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Land Rover, Lexus and Tesla, with other brands like Kia, Honda and Subaru following suit. Custom colored wheels are not just for the aftermarket wheels industry anymore — the OEMs are joining in the fun.

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As a dealer, how can you capitalize on this exciting new trend? How about offering OEM wheel color changes as a new product in your service drive, or adding custom wheel color packages through your F&I department? You can even customize wheels on pre-owned cars and get slow moving inventory off your lot. By offering custom powder coating and coloring services, you can open a new revenue stream for new car sales, service drive and pre-owned departments.

The process for custom color and powder coating involves taking the existing OEM wheels off the car and using specialized techniques and equipment to deliver a professional, high-quality product. Specialists are adding custom coloring and powder coating to their list services and providing it to dealerships wanting to capitalize on this exciting trend. They have a number of different options to offer customers, including gloss black, flat black, dark hyper silver/gunmetal, white, machined face with painted pockets, and matching the wheel to the color of the vehicle.

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Selling custom wheel coloring through the different dealership departments can earn nice profits. Through the service drive, service writers can sell custom color wheel changes — a weekly profit projection that starts with selling one custom color change per day can earn $2,000 per week. Two sets per day? That’s $20,000 per month direct profit through the service drive. Through F&I, $1,000 custom wheel coloring packages can be sold for a small monthly add-on payment on new car sales. Imagine adding custom color wheel packages to pre-owned cars to increase the sale price of popular models. Or, change the color of the wheels on slow-moving inventory to attract a browsing customer’s attention.

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Some wheel repair vendors are offering same- or next-day wheel color change services to dealerships. Regular custom painting is done on-site in mobile wheel repair and painting units while powder coating and CNC machining is done off-site. For dealerships wanting to capitalize on the custom wheel coloring trend, this is a perfect no-cost solution.

Michael Dunlap

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