Currently, the market for racing parts and accessories is rapidly expanding. Performance Racing Industry completed an estimate for total number of racers. The resulting number was 385,000 people who competed in an organized auto race at least once in the past year. The estimate includes all forms of auto racing: drag, stock car, open wheel, modified, sports car, autocross, formula car, tractor pull, and off-road.
Overall it is estimated that the total retail market for hardcore racing products is $1.5 billion annually and it still continues to grow.
The only real threat to our venture would be a similar new entry to the marketplace. This opportunity may best be described as one ready and waiting for the first entrant who arrives with a well-conceived plan, sufficient industry experience, and the required capitalization.
The racing industry is in a boom period. While there are many items from various vendors available, Southeast Racing Parts has approached the market as a specialty retailer -- a provider of parts and services to the entry-level racer.
Our target customer in this segment will have a wide range of racing and automotive skills, but our most important target customers are relatively unsophisticated at racing. We will be able to serve this customer well not only by offering them parts at an affordable price, but also by giving them advice that ensures they get the task done correctly, therefore improving their on-track performance.
Our segment definition is in and of itself strategic. We are not intending to satisfy all users of racing equipment, but rather those who are just starting out and those who are struggling to keep up. We can save our customers time and money, not so much within our pricing structure, but by assessing their needs and directing them toward the proper product. Racers, by nature, tend to desire a high-end product, when often a low to mid-end product will do as good as, or sometimes even a better job. By always dealing in an honest and ethical manner, we will build customer loyalty and word-of-mouth sales that many of our competitors are lacking.
Trends are in our favor. We have identified four major trends that help us:
Since our target market is the entry-level racer, the most important needs are service, price, and availability, in that order. One of the key points of our strategy is to focus on target segments that know and understand these needs and are willing for us to fulfill those needs.
With expanded television coverage and an enormous base of grassroots motorsports activity, auto racing is a thriving industry, as well as the fastest growing sport in America. As with baseball, it could be argued that auto racing has grown to such popularity because of its vital grassroots foundation. Our customers will be the Little Leagues and softball leagues of auto racing. Outsiders to the racing industry must understand that racers may be the most obsessive consumers of any industry. Because of the pressure to win, they avidly purchase new technology. In most race cars, several parts will become obsolete in the course of a season, even though they function perfectly well.
Racers are hard on their investment, too. New tires might be a weekly purchase, and several engine freshening expenditures might be called for in a season. A good whack at the outside wall, and a racing retailer has a customer or two for shocks, a-arms, fasteners, hubs, and more.
Racers spend what it takes to win; they are not out merely to enjoy the ride. Any person who has spent any time at all in the racing pit has heard the guy in front of him in the snack bar line describe how he postponed a key household expense--the telephone bill or a new household appliance--to purchase a new right rear tire, or other critical racing part.
To service this sport, there are thousands of small businesses across the country skilled in the ways of horsepower and hooking it to the ground. Whether they make their money from parts or services, retailing or building engines, these businesses make it an easy and convenient matter to go racing. Without these local ambassadors of speed, it is hard to imagine the existence of auto racing in a large scale.
Generally, traditional distribution channels are followed. The products are bought from distributors and/or direct from the manufacturers, who have little say in how products are marketed. As in most industries, price levels decrease as volume increases.
We feel that racers understand the concept of service and availability, and are much more likely to pay for it when the offering is clearly stated.
There is no doubt that we will compete much more against the large mail order outfits than against any small local suppliers. We have good indications that racers/customers would rather pay 5-15% more for a long-term relationship with a vendor providing quality service and support. To this point, the racer thinks about price because that's what he sees emphasized by the mail order companies.
Availability is of utmost importance. The buyer tends to want immediate, local solutions to their problems and/or needs.
By positioning ourselves at the lower end of the market, we will present ourselves to consumers just getting into racing, and we will sell to a base of customers that we can grow with together.
The above are all targeted towards the professional (NASCAR Winston Cup, etc.) market. They carry a totally different product mix to service that market. Their prices are high, and their interest in selling to the entry-level market is basically nonexistent.
These are both late model chassis builders not targeting the entry-level market. Basically, they stock inventory that's used just on their own cars. They are both located in the Anytown Motorsports Center business park which is in an out-of-the-way, hard to find location.
They are a large drag racing mail order firm that is skimming the circle track gravy. Since Southeast Racing Parts will cater to the circle track market, we believe that whatever local circle track customers they have will switch suppliers. We will have more knowledge and experience to suit their needs.
These are the mega mail order firms. Customers seem to use them only for price, and because of a lack of local suppliers. We can offer faster delivery times, along with knowledge and experience in their type of racing. We believe a small share of their circle track market would be obtainable. These companies do not enjoy a loyal circle track customer base.
As implied in their name, they sell used parts, so in most cases they're not usable for our target market. They also sell a limited amount of new parts; however, because of their name, most people are not aware of this. Also, they are located in an area which was described earlier as a poor location.
They are the only local competitor that we could identify that was targeting our niche. Following are what we feel are some of our competitive advantages: We feel that we are in a much better location. They utilize a black and white flyer as their main sales tool, and we will have a professional four-color catalog. Also, they concentrate mainly on chassis and safety equipment, where we will also offer a full array of engine parts.
We are part of the Performance Racing Industry, which includes several kinds of businesses.
Speed Shops: Most of these are small, sometimes part-time ventures run from the individual's home. Sometimes they will service a local race track; however, they usually carry a very minimal amount of inventory, and are usually operated by a racer or an ex-racer depending solely upon a small circle of friends or acquaintances as customers. They normally are short on business and marketing skills.
Engine & Chassis Builders: Typically these are well-respected firms supplying engines and chassis to the racing industry. Their customer profile lies in the mid to upper end of the market. They offer superb technical support; however, it is only available to customers utilizing their engine or chassis. They stock parts to service their engine or chassis, but are usually limited in areas areas beyond that. Normally their pricing structure is slightly above average.
Mail Order: The racing industry is served increasingly by large mail order firms that offer aggressive pricing on racing components. They are usually impersonal, and have little or no technical support available. For the purely price-driven buyer who purchases parts and expects no support, these firms offer a good option.
Others: There are many other channels through which people buy their racing parts, usually variations of the main three types above.