The Impact of New US Tariffs on the Golf Car Industry

It is tough to turn on the news lately without hearing something about the latest US tariffs imposed by the Office of the Unites States Trade Representative. On July 10, 2018, a complete list of 5,745 affected products was released. Following a six-day public hearing, 297 products were removed from that list based on appeals from various interested parties. The products that remain on the list experienced a tariff increase of 10 percent on September 24, 2018 and are scheduled to receive an additional increase to 25 percent following the first of the year.

Why are we talking about this? Golf car parts are among the various products that are on the 25 percent tariff list. Parts like lift kits, light kits, brakes, seat kits, windshields, and wheels and tires that are manufactured in China will experience a 25 percent price hike when they cross the US border.

What Does This Mean for Golf Car Owners?

Within the next few months, golf car owners will see prices rise for both the hard parts that they need and also the custom accessories they want. Dealers, like WHEELZ Custom Carts, are doing their best to absorb some of the tariff increases, but margins are already fairly low.

Golf cars are becoming more important to the everyday life of tens of thousands of Americans every year. Sadly, the tariffs may mean that middle class families become priced out of golf car ownership and personalization. American brands such as Suite Seats, Strech Plastics, All Sports Lift Kits, and Doubletake will undoubtedly experience an uptick in sales; however, there are countless golf car parts that are not manufactured in the United States. Customers who were unwilling to pay more for US products in the past will be forced to pay more for all products now.

What Does This Mean for Golf Cart Dealers?

Over the past few weeks, golf car parts dealers have received numerous emails from suppliers advising of price increases. Increases ranging from 10 percent to 25 percent have already gone into effect for most golf car dealers. Additional price increases are slated for after the new year. Those who work within the golf car industry have two choices:

  • Raise prices
  • Promote US products

Most golf car dealers are implementing a combination of both. Those dealers who have not actively partnered with American manufacturers before are scrambling to form those relationships. Many suppliers are engaged with the government seeking relief from the new tariffs, but even their best efforts may not be enough to convince the USTR. If you are opposed to the implementation of the new tariffs, the public is free to submit a comment voicing your opposition to the Commerce Department and also to your local Senators and Congressional Representatives.

The team at WHEELZ is working hard to minimize the impact of the price increases caused by the tariffs. Those of us golf car dealers who have been here from the start have battled many storms over the past several years of serving our customers and we plan to be here for many more years.

Whether you are a golf car owner or a golf car dealer, you understand that our golf car community is strong and we will all find a way to continue to live the “golf car life!”

About the Author: The Owner of WHEELZ Custom Carts & Accessories, Julie tarr was one of the industry’s first online retailers of golf car products. Her eCommerce store, www.WHEELZLLC.com, has been serving golf car owners since 2008 and the store remains a popular online shopping experience for golf car owners who want to take their golf cars to the next level.

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