Sema 2014 was simply breathtaking. The amount of Jeeps was simply insane, I believe I took over 900 pics of Jeeps alone!!! What was fascinating however, was that it seems the US market is really taking notice of what we Australians are doing. Here are 5 emerging trends we noticed:
The lifts are getting lower. We noticed more Jks running 3 and 4″ of lift and the majority of em are now short arm too. We have been stating for years that the Long Arm Kit for a JK is simply not needed for such heights and it seems the Americans have noticed. Just cause it happened with the TJ doesn’t mean its required for the JK. Furthermore, the trend for adjustable flex arms is now trending back to fixed length rubber bushes. Rubber provides a better ride and is quieter than Flex Joints.
The Touring or Overlanding scene is fast gathering momentum over there. Roof rack options for the JK is now mind blowing, and there are more to come. But the interesting question is have any of them actually used them heavily laden over corrugations like we do down under. This will separate some of the lets just say interesting designs coming out. Storage Units and 12v fridges are now seeing the light of day over there, lets hope they do same with water and long range fuel tanks.
We didn’t see that many JKs on 42″ tyres plus, but what we did see were 37s and 40s running 20,22 and 24″ wheels. This trend will emerge over here as both the look and the handling of your Jeep is far superior with the bigger wheel, and the weight saving of going a bigger wheel as opposed to a heavy tyre, pays dividends both at the fuel pump and with ongoing maintenance. My 20″ beadlocks on 37s on my smurf handle way better than Mannys JK on 17″ wheels and the same brand of 37, and furthermore, were yet to encounter a situation where my lower profile tyre was to blame for its offroad performance.
The Americans are scared of the dark big time!!! LEDs are being put in some fascinating spots in corners where they serve little use. Massive dual 50″ light bars over the tops of windscreens, have they ever driven above 80kph with em on with the roof off????
The traditional 2 door wrangler is dying. The 4 door is ever so popular and they cant build em quick enough, where as the two door with its impracticalities is becoming legend. I think we only saw maybe a handful of shortys, the JKU is just dominating. Expect to see Jeep kill off the two door in a few years time.