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Advanced Vehicle Technology: The Future of Performance and Customization

As part of our annual look at where automotive technology stands, we recently engaged in a wide-ranging conversation with John Waraniak, SEMA vice president of vehicle technology, delving further into the four advanced vehicle technology megatrends: driving green, driving connected, driving safe and driving cool.

The Hottest Vehicles of 2011

Each year, a few vehicles dominate the automotive landscape. It stands to reason that the most popular vehicles among consumers and specialty-equipment manufacturers would also be among the most profitable for all SEMA members. To help sort the vehicular wheat from the chafe, we examined a series of forward-looking “SEMA Indicators” to see what they might suggest about the crop of cars and trucks that are likely to make the biggest sales impact in 2011.

A Golden Ticket: Enthusiasts Enter the SEMA Show and Tell All

A special group of enthusiasts entered the Las Vegas Convention Center on the final day of the 2010 SEMA Show. Despite the trade-only attendance rule, this select group was granted a “golden ticket” through the SEMA Opinion Leader Program. Participants received access to the SEMA Show on one condition: Their experiences had to be shared via feedback surveys and, when possible, across a variety of Internet-based social networks. This was the second year of the project, and the feedback and enthusiasm were inspiring.

Why Cooler Tires and 18-inch Wheels Are the New Market Sweet Spot

The economy and the environment have been the major drivers for many markets over the last three years, and they have also been consistent topics of conversation among tire and wheel experts. The tire industry underwent a sort of accordion buckling in inventory as the economic slowdown led consumers to balk at anything other than critical expenditures and then pent-up demand caused a sudden resurgence.

12 Trendsetting Builders Forecast the Future of Hot Rodding

When word got out that SEMA News was looking to identify future industry trends, our friends at Popular Hot Rodding presented us with the opportunity to feature their "What's Next?" hot-rod builder story. The forecast on the future of hot rodding originally ran in the September issue of Popular Hot Rodding and will no doubt be of interest to SEMA News readers. Special thanks to the folks at Popular Hot Rodding for allowing us to reprint the article in its entirety.

Consumer Demand Index Reaches Highest Level Since July 2009

With just a few days left before the start of the 2010 SEMA Show in Las Vegas, the October Consumer Demand Index Report has been released with some great news. Recovering from a recent 12-point decline experienced in August, the index jumped 26 points to 57 for October. This is the highest level the index has seen since July 2009, when the index also reached 57. The following chart shows the overall index, in blue, as well as the three-month moving averages, in red.

Specialty-Equipment Manufacturers Say Best Months Are Ahead

Manufacturers are forecasting healthy parts and accessories sales during fall, but retailers and distributors are more reserved in their projections.

Following the Hot-Rod Industry's Evolution in "The Business of Speed"

If you scan no farther than these next few words, know this: You should read The Business of Speed: The Hot Rod Industry in America, 1915–1990 by David Lucsko. Since you're browsing through SEMA News, you must be favored with some interest in the automotive specialty-equipment industry, and Lucsko's book offers a primer about where it began, how it evolved and, if not precisely where it's heading, at least an optimistic appraisal of why it will live on. [Read more]

Launch of Car Town Gives Gearheads a Facebook App of Their Own

Following in the footsteps of the popular Facebook social games, FarmVille and Mafia Wars, is the release of Car Town, created by Cie Games that aims to satisfy the user’s passion for automobiles while helping automakers and specialty-equipment manufacturers to reach a new audience via social media and online advertising.

Modern Tastes, Technology Open New Markets for Classic Car Parts

The August 2010 issue of SEMA News is available to view online. This month's issue provides an in-depth look at the accomplishments of 2010 SEMA Hall of Fame inductees Richard "Dick" McMullen, Chuck Schwartz and Van Woodell. Learn more about their careers and how their contributions and service have left an indelible mark on the automotive specialty-equipment industry.

SEMA News also goes inside the restoration market to see how modern technology, enthusiasts' tastes and the popularity of resto-mods have helped reshape the market. While a significant portion of the market continues to desire traditional recreations of the original vehicle, others want a combination of modern conveniences and factory-spec. These changes in the market have created new opportunities for product lines that incorporate the traditional style with modern accessories.

The restoration market is not the only area where traditional approaches are being altered. Automaker Local Motors methods to auto manufacturing is based on open source and open design, and its customers help design and develop the cars that the company creates. With the feedback and direction from a community of artists, enthusiasts and designers, Local Motors uses the traditional tier-supplier network and the specialty-equipment aftermarket to construct its vehicles.

Get started with the August 2010 issue of SEMA News.
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