Wake up and smell the Cape York mud. January is already over and here we are, charging head down, full steam into another sensational year– crikey how time flies. Yep, it’s 2016 and the industry is awake and cranking while the 4WD lifestyle itself is bulging in the waistband like Big Kev on a excitement fuelled kebab bender. Sure as sheets, life’s good on the 4WD front.
Except for one, niggling thing.
In the same way that 2016 is bringing around some amazing changes in the industry, it’s also boiling my blood – what the heck am I on about right? Well, let me put it another way; why the heck are the good, honest 4WDing public charging forward at a magnificent rate of knots, yet some of the 4WD industry’s biggest players running backwards into the dark ages – ‘Hey Doc, is it 1785 yet?’
As 4WDers, we tend to have the odds stacked against us when it comes to making our hobby into a lifestyle. We’ve got track closures rising faster than the price of diesel. We’re fighting ridiculous and draconian vehicle modification laws, constructed by Prius driving, latte sipping, suits in their ivory towers. Not to mention a general public that thinks we’re monster truck driving, soot puffing hooligans. Yep, there’s a real risk on out future if we don’t band together as a whole. That means the industry too.
Here’s where the blood boiling starts. While we have such a small industry, compared to say, women’s fashion or the billion-dollar juggernaut of the sports industry, we have a level of passion that is seldom seen in any other industry. Why? Because 4WDers like you and I ARE the industry as much as we’re the lifestyle. The problems come when you put green-eyed businessmen into roles that should be reserved for passionate individuals and where you have those green-eyed monsters, you tend to have blokes putting dollars before the consumer. This is becoming ever more evident in areas like 4WDing publications, and the big businesses that have jumped on board with those same conglomerates purely to shove more dollars into their already fattened wallets.
Regular 4WD enthusiasts like you and me are taking a backseat to political, industry warfare – and it’s a bloody joke.
There’s only one thing that’s going to ensure the survival of the 4WD industry and lifestyle alike, and it comes down to a very simple concept. Working together for the greater good. Like the first monkeys that punched each other senseless over a scrap of food, we evolved to work together to ensure our survival, and now live in excess rather than in need. Until the role models of the industry come together to ensure its survival, it’s going to be a long night with a bleak dawn.
“What the heck can I do? I’m not the industry,” you might be thinking. Well, tell ‘em you’ve had enough. Don’t fuel fires by jumping on bandwagons. Push the point. The big players are so scared of losing your business that if we push ‘em hard enough, we’ll start to see change.
Competition is no longer about producing a better product for you and me, it’s simply about bagging out the other bloke, just a little louder than he bagged you. C’mon guys, we see through the smoke and we want change. We, the 4WDer, demand it!