Another year past and another year to look forward to. 2013 was a good year for the automotive aftermarket, but let's be frank, it wasn't anything to write home about. While the economy continues to recover, the days of carefree spending and bottomless project-car budgets are long gone. And because of that, there are still people who question whether this segment will survive. It's time to stop looking in the rearview mirror and focus instead on what lies ahead. I have no doubt the aftermarket industry will continue to thrive and innovate, as it always has. Plus, there are more affordable and mod-friendly cars on the market than ever before, or at least it seems that way to me. WRXs, Evos, 350Zs, S2Ks, and even BMWs can now be had in the sub-$10K range. Aftermarket support will continue to flourish for these types of enthusiast machines as they become even more affordable to own.
In the new car segment, the Scion FR-S has been a massive success for Toyota, and other manufacturers are clamoring to get in on the action. That's good news for all enthusiasts, as we can expect to see more true drivers' cars in the next few years. Nissan is set to unveil its answer to the FR-S at the Tokyo Auto Show, an affordable RWD platform that's reportedly going to feature a 2.5L turbocharged engine as well as an optional VQ-based V6. If Nissan gets it right, this could really heat up the action in this segment and give our scene and the aftermarket an even bigger shot in the arm.
2014 also marks the first year that vehicles from 1989 are allowed into the U.S. without regard to whether they comply with all applicable DOT Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. This 25-year-or-older importation law could see the likes of Nissan R32 GTRs, 180SXs, Silvias, and many other highly sought-after JDM automobiles make their way stateside. The looming question is: How will state law and insurance companies react if these JDM classics start pouring in?
As for the magazine business, it continues to be an increasingly tough market to remain sustainable in, and odds are that won't change anytime soon. Online enthusiast sites are ever expanding, and our very own Modified.com website continues to grow at a rapid pace. Where does that leave print?
Maybe I'm biased, but I think magazines like this one still play an important role in the automotive world. We may not be first to announce breaking news or the latest event coverage drama—that's the Internet's bread and butter—but we instead offer a level of professionalism and focus that aren't available on too many websites. I know plenty of guys working on web-only automotive sites, and it's pretty clear that it's not easy making money just by having the first pictures online from the latest drift event or trade show. Turns out monetizing online content isn't as easy as Mark Zuckerberg might lead you to believe.
So although we can't bring you the latest gossip on an hourly basis, at least not in print, the limited number of pages we have to work with each issue does challenge us to focus our resources and put quality before quantity. As a result, we filter out the noise you'll find online and bring you only the highest quality feature cars and tech content, presented in a professional style and with great storytelling.
That said, we are moving with the times, and 2014 will usher in significant changes here at Modified as we evolve with emerging trends and look to broaden our appeal. The core of the magazine will stay the same—Modified will always favor performance above all—but it's time we start to bring you a wider sample of what we consider the best built performance cars on the planet, regardless of whether they're JDM, USDM, EDM, or even KDM. We may even throw the occasional hot rod at you, just to keep you on your toes. If it's built right and hauls ass, you'll find it here. Welcome to 2014—it's going to be a helluva year!