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Customer Spotlight on HRG Offroad

“Why would anyone lift a Honda?
That’s stupid.”

Our customer spotlight on HRG OffRoad begins in 2015, Ben Huffman was working as a mechanic at a local car dealership. Ben was restoring older Hondas in his spare time in his tiny 2 car garage, originally known as “Honda Rescue Garage.” Working on everything from complete motor rebuilds to fabricating and upgrading suspensions. The gears in his head began to turn. “These cars are fine as-is off the lot for daily commuting,” Ben explains, “but if you want to harness the reliability, safety, and comfort of these vehicles in off-road settings, a few alterations are needed.”

subaru crosstek lift partsIn 2016, after building a lifted off-road themed 4WD 1991 Honda Civic Wagon (known as the “war wagon”) he began receiving requests. Requests for the suspension lift that he had created and installed. The orders began to snowball as word got out that Ben was getting Hondas off the parking lots at soccer games and onto less beaten tracks.

HRG OffRoad Niche Market

Suspension lift kits, composed of strut top spacers, skid plates, off-road light mounting brackets, help Ben provide his customers with even more clearance for rough terrain. “We were spending such a huge amount of time finding and combining off the shelf parts to achieve the desired outcome.” “All these cars use a very specific bolt size. Finding bolts was the most challenging aspect of it.” Ben explains, “We quickly found that no one else was putting in the effort to make lift kits for anything that wasn’t a Jeep Wrangler. There was an entire segment that was completely ignored.”

lifted honda accordBen recognized the need for a quality product to fill the niche market. He shifted the focus of “Honda Rescue Garage” to specifically making lift kits for various Honda vehicles. In early 2018, the decision was made to create an actual business around these products. It was also at this time he learned about Honda suing anyone using the word Honda in their company name, so the Honda Rescue name had to go.

The Start of HRG OffRoad

Our spotlight on HRG OffRoad company being created, begins in 2018. That is when Ben started his company. He had a few shelves of inventory in his basement, a borrowed welder and a chop saw in his garage. He worked a regular job and made parts at night and on weekends. Unfortunately, Ben’s landlord found out what he was doing and kicked him out in 2019.

At that point Ben bought a house with a 3-car garage and moved operations into that space. He immediately ran out of room and moved to a 3,000 SF building in 2020. He immediately ran out of room again. So he rented a 2,500 SF gravel parking lot. This is where material, vehicles, and a 40-foot container were stored, to hold inventory. By 2021 HRG was out of room yet again but made it work until late 2023. This is when they moved to their current 19,000 SF building in the heart of Mooresville, NC, AKA “Race City USA”. The new space also includes a service and lift bay, which is mainly used for R&D of new products.

Hyundai Santa Cruz lifted

The first thing Ben’s team looks at is how much ground clearance the car has when it rolls away from the factory. This is typically inadequate for driving on anything but smooth paved roads and highways. If you want to be able to get off the commuter routes, you need to increase your ground clearance as much as possible. Bigger tires will provide an additional inch or two. But, coil spring spacers and a suspension lift kit will supply a bigger bang for the buck. Bigger tires are easy to find. Spring spacers, strut top spacers, skid plates, off-road light mounting brackets, and MOLLE panels? Not so much.

MOLLE

MOLLE stands for Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment. It was originally designed by the U.S. Military. This mounting system allows for tactical gear and storage pouches to be secured out of the way until needed. Typically made of aluminum or steel, these panels are bolted into a vehicle. Typically in a space that would otherwise be unused.

Strut Spacers

Strut spacers are steel or aluminum parts that fit between the top of a standard suspension and the body of the vehicle. Ben originally had the parts made by a local metal fab shop and built a simple website on squarespace. Over time, and as demand increased, he gradually added more products. As well as, improved the design of the spacers and started selling the parts as a kit. Soon he started buying parts in larger quantities to reduce the manufacturing costs increasing the profitability of these simple items.

The line up at HRG OffRoad has grown as their space has increased. While in the beginning the focus was on Hondas, now lift kits are available for many other cars. Such as, Acura, Audi, BMW, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Lexus, Mazda, Nissan, Porsche, Subaru, Toyota, and Volkswagen vehicles. They stock everything and the typical lead time, for the 80-100 sales they make per week, is one business day.

Tube Laser Testimonial KAAST

KAAST’s Machine Tools

To keep up with this volume, Ben has invested in a Bodor C3 laser from KAAST Machine Tools. The Laser will cut all of their flat steel parts; pretty much anything they make, from lift kits to small brackets. Also, from KAAST, an HBS A 230 fully automatic bandsaw helps the HRG team keep up with cutting aluminum bars, square tubing, and more. They use a 1.5kW tube laser to cut the center sections of spacers.And, a Fanuc welding robot that makes the high volume, simple parts. A 35-ton CNC press brake is used to make skid plates, light mounting brackets, and other small parts. Along with the manufacturing equipment, HRG Off Road has also grown in terms of staff. Today, they have 6.5 full-time employees.

“Our timing could not have been better. Everyone coming out of the lockdown wanted to get outdoors and go camping. Oftentimes people don’t have money to buy a Toyota 4Runner or a Jeep Wrangler, but still want to get out into nature. That’s where our product comes in. You could have a hand-me-down Honda Pilot or something and install our lift kit and all-terrain tires and get out to some pretty cool spots that a stock vehicle couldn’t do.”

Summary of our customer spotlight on HRG OffRoad

In the next year, Ben plans to double the number of products manufactured by adding a full machine shop. With a second flat laser, and more employees. In the next 4 years, he plans on moving operations into a larger, more custom-built space. Thus, continuing to constantly add more and more products by expanding into related markets such as side by sides.

Spotlight HRG -The Team Offroad