At most car shows, people want to see the brand new and upcoming from their favorite manufacturers. Even if they are not looking to buy, the eye candy is quite a real factor that drives crowds to the stands and internet traffic to digital configurators. Then there is that odd corner of the car show that accommodates the crazy ones – the tuning companies with their outlandish body kits, oversized wheels and price tags that seem like they exist in a reality of their own. It seems that manufacturers and tuners are completely different casts, serving completely different customers. That’s true, but there is more overlap than you think. The relationship is subtle and distant, yet it is there, the same way that the typical fashion show’s catwalk is filled with items of clothing that no normal person physically be able to put on, let alone be willing be seen wearing in public, but it still has an effect on the high-street retailer’s inventory.
And much like with clothes, tuning has fashion. Remember the era of spinner wheels, neon lights and component manufacturer stickers on the doors? Watch the first instalment of Fast and Furious to refresh your memory. Well, these days you’re about as likely to see a vehicle like that on the street as you are a fur coat in Beverly Hills. No manufacturer has adopted those things to series production vehicles, but that doesn’t mean they are not paying attention.
Black Exterior Package
A “black pack” also known as a “chrome delete” or “dechrome” is one of the most common visual tuning trends worldwide. It used to be the prerogative of Hip-Hop stars to take their brand new SUV to a tuner to “murder out” their vehicles by combining black paint, with blacked out chrome elements, and putting on black wheels. As a result of this trend surviving for a good 10-15 years, today, if you browse any new vehicle over $30’000, you’re likely to encounter a “sport” version that has all the usual chrome bits replaced with glossy blackness, and an option of black wheels. This is understandable if you think of European manufacturers who serve the european tastes, which are inclined towards understatement. But even the most chrome-loving buyers in the world, the American pickup truck market, is now coming out with their own factory-fitted black packs. Think of the RAM 1500 Black Edition, for example. The trend is so strong in fact that some manufacturers are now assuming that black is preferable to chrome. Take the much hyped Tesla Model Y. It is a vehicle based on the Model 3, which incidentally has chrome inlays around the door windows, and has chrome door handles. A huge portion of owners visually modified their vehicles with a “chrome delete”, so much so that the Model Y will have matte black window surrounds and door handles as standard. Even Rolls-Royce, a company famous for ignoring the unrefined frivolity of sub-$300’000 vehicles meant for the commoners, has a “Black Badge” version of their Cullinan SUV.