In the automotive industry, the term ‘performance parts’ is used for a variety of car and truck parts or accessories, that are designed to enhance a vehicle’s performance. The term is generally tied to the aftermarket industry which makes sense considering that car or truck enhancement parts or accessories are typically purchased after the original purchase. This is not to say that O.E.M. manufacturers won’t create performance parts, because they often do.
Products such as Borla Exhausts, K&N Air Intake filters, ReadyLift Suspension Kits, or Bilstein shocks are considered performance parts because they are created to enhance car or truck performance. On the other hand, the O.E.M. exhaust, intake filter, suspension kit, or shocks that come with the newly purchased vehicles are generally stock parts designed to meet standards at a reasonable price. Someone looking to boost their car or truck’s performance will then purchase an aftermarket part designed to boost performance.
Strictly being aftermarket however, does not categorize a car or truck part or accessory as a performance part. Aftermarket products may include seat covers, car covers, bumpers, sun visors, make-specific paraphernalia (such as TRD’s line of Toyota® accessories), and steering wheel covers. These products are based on aesthetics, comfort, or brand loyalty, not performance. This would make them a car or truck accessory, but not a performance part.
Performance Parts may also play slightly different but overlapping roles from one car or truck to another. For example, K&N’s quality oil and air filtration products are available for virtually every modern vehicle under the sun. However, while lift kits tend to be popular among Ford®, Chevy®, Dodge® and Toyota® truck owners, you are unlikely to see a demand from Mercedes-Benz® or Porsche® owners. This isn’t to say that popular Porsche® and Mercedes® parts (aftermarket at least) are always different from the more popular truck performance parts. Manufacturers are starting to notice and react to new consumer demands. For example, Borla, known for its quality SUV and Truck exhausts, made the cross over and began to offer exhaust systems for Porsche® and Corvette® a few years ago.
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