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Over the past decade, the light truck market has changed dramatically to become the fastest growing automotive segment in the US with almost 27 million pick-up trucks on the road today, a number that grows by 4% annually. One report suggests that as many as one in three vehicles on US roads today is a light truck. The pick-up truck market has changed in more than just size. Traditionally, the vehicles were used primarily for work and hauling, but they also have become more popular for everyday transportation, outdoor recreation and weekend activities. Also, pick-up trucks have become more than just basic vehicles, with many models having such features as extended cabs, eye-catching styling inside and out --and higher prices, too. But whether trucks are used to haul heavy loads, motorcycles or recreational gear, one thing hasn't changed: the need for owners to protect their investment, especially since pick-up trucks aren't the inexpensive vehicles they once were. One of the best and the most popular methods to protect the trucks is by having a bed liner installed. Not surprisingly, bed liners are the number one accessory purchased by pick-up truck owners throughout the United States. In a recent survey, over 9 percent of recent truck, van or SUV buyers purchased a bed liner first. Not only do bed liners protect trucks, they offer an additional way to beautify and add value to the vehicles. This is especially appealing for the millions of used pick-ups over three years old on the road today. There are a few different bed liner choices available utilizing different technologies and installation methods. The first is the standard plastic drop-in liner, which accounts for about 3/4 of the $400 million annual bed liner market. Professionally applied spray-on liners account for another $90 million dollars, followed by $10 million for other products. Plastic drop-in liners are affixed to the truck bed with screws and typically have cut-outs for cargo hooks and cleats. Plastic drop-in liners have the disadvantage of rust-causing water leaks, a slippery surface, and noise or vibrations. Cargo space can also be impacted by a drop-in liner. To avoid these problems, the bed liner industry came up with spray-on bed liners, which are rubberized coatings designed to protect the bed from rust, scratches and gouges. The newest technology to enter the market is a do-it-yourself brush-on kit, that offers great durability and cost savings. Brush-on liners have the features and composition of spray-on liners, with one distinct advantage. They are priced at less than $100, compared to upwards of $300 to $500 for a professionally installed spray-on bed liner or plastic drop-in liner. "With more options available and rising pick-up prices, bed liners surely will continue to grow in popularity," said Jeff Stauffer, vice president of marketing for Old World Industries and HERCULINER brush-on bed liners. "Now, owners can protect and beautify their truck beds with a tough do-it-yourself liner for only $100." So no matter how you use your pick-up truck, a bed liner is a smart investment, whether you choose a plastic drop-in liner, have one professionally sprayed on, or do it yourself with a brush-on bed liner kit.

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June 22, 2017, 11:48 pm PDT

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Last Updated 06-19-17