"If you went to a SEMA show four or five years ago, matte-finish paints were on all the cars -- matte black, matte orange and that sort of thing," Mackenzie says. "Now the industry's picked up these paints, so you can have a Lamborghini in matte white or a Mercedes-Benz in a color called alubeam, which is a matte silver that makes the car look like it's made out of metal."
4. Interior tech
Even though their interior LEDs may not be linked to tachometers or nitrous tank gauges, car buyers' center consoles are doing just as much multitasking as those installed in The Fast and the Furious street racers.
From Ford's Microsoft (Stock Quote: MSFT)-powered Sync entertainment system linking audio, GPS and Bluetooth to the Toyota Enform Safety system installed in its Lexus luxury brand, the all-in-one center console allows the average commuter to feel in touch with their ride without breaking any local traffic laws. For automakers such as Toyota, Honda, Volkswagen and others that like to restrict their racing personae to the big driving circuits and keep their consumer products as sensible as possible, it's a way to perform for buyers without giving them too much performance.
"I think the Japanese companies really struggle with brand, and both Toyota and Honda perceive themselves a certain way," Mackenzie says. "They've played around with performance cars, but they've always backed away."
5. Vin Diesel wannabes
When The Fast and the Furious was released in 2001, sales for compact-performance products totaled $2.86 billion, according to SEMA. A year later, sales jumped to $3 billion.