Name: Hotchkis Sport Suspension
Location: Santa Fe Springs, Calf.
CEO: John F. Hotchkis Jr
Manufacturing: Southern California
Hotchkis Sport Suspension designs, tests and builds performance aftermarket car and truck sport suspension systems. The company’s performance suspension products, including sway bars, fabricated control arms, trailing arms, chassis bracing, endlinks and associated products are manufactured in four southern California machine/fabricating shops.
Click through the slides as Company founder and CEO John F. Hotchkis Jr. shares his story:
Q: What factors did you consider when deciding to manufacture domestically?
A: The end user, our consumer, strongly urges us to keep our products manufactured in the U.S.A. Therefore, excellent customer satisfaction and our efforts in keeping manufacturing jobs in America is our motivation to manufacture and source domestically. Our performance aftermarket products are targeted at a very knowledgeable automotive enthusiast customer base that demands superior product quality, durability and appearance. Our customers own new and classic American muscle cars and trucks such as Camaro, Chevelle, Cuda, Challenger, Charger and Chevy C10. They are patriots and proud to drive American Muscle. They don’t want to use cheap foreign made products on their prized-project cars.
Q: How has domestic manufacturing influenced your organization?
A: We are not shy about the origin of our suspension products. To a person, everyone at Hotchkis Performance is proud to offer our unique, well engineered, American made suspension products. We feature “Made in America” and the American flag wherever possible. Regardless of the nationality of our employees, they are proud Americans.
Q: What is your company doing to promote domestic manufacturing?
A: We are fortunate that our parts are specialized and the production volumes are low enough that manufacturing in a foreign country does not hold a significant advantage. We constantly promote through print and social media that we are proud Hotchkis Sport Suspension is made in America. We are active in the Santa Fe Springs Chamber of Commerce and just recently held an open house showing our made in America products.
Q: What is one of the biggest challenges to growth as your company moves forward?
A: The uncertainty of costs associated with healthcare, taxes and unnecessary regulation imposed by the government. America is the land of opportunity; however, the prospects of achieving the American Dream are not bright enough. Our customers are automobile enthusiasts and they pay for our suspension products with disposable income. We are their automotive entertainment, their relaxation and favorite hobby. Their financial mood must be positive so they can enjoy their hobbies. Financial uncertainty as the result of government failings makes our consumer a nervous consumer.
Q: What is the biggest challenge to maintaining manufacturing in America?
A: Regulations. The rules pertaining to manufacturing in California are getting increasingly restrictive. With these restrictions come associated costs, such as waste disposal, emissions, safety, permits, inspections and insurance to name a few. These are all good things within reason, because we all want a cleaner better planet. However, manufacturing in California is extra tough because we are competing against manufactures in many states with far fewer regulations. Comparing our manufacturing regulations to that of China, India and other prosperous foreign manufacturing countries is difficult because they are nearly regulation free. Of course they can’t stay like that for long due to excessive pollution, but for now they hold a huge cost advantage in our type of steel fabrication over manufacturers in America.
Q: Where is there opportunity in the market for your products?
A: The opportunity is in numerous areas including the consumer, wholesale, private label and OEM (original equipment manufacturer). Our largest market consists of the D.I.Y. automotive enthusiasts throughout the country. Many of these people are just hanging on or busy looking for a better job, consistent employment and the ability to build up more disposable income to spend on their car hobby.
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