While the 2014 SEMA Show is now in the history books, highlights from the annual event live on as media coverage continues to highlight the vehicles, products and activities from the event. One consistent theme year after year is that the SEMA Show is a place for the industry to discover new automotive aftermarket trends.
The Hottest Vehicles of the 2014 SEMA ShowSEMA annually recognizes four vehicle models that specialty-equipment manufacturers believe are the best platforms for accessorization and that showcase the year’s coolest products. The awards are presented on the first day of the SEMA Show based on the total number of vehicles chosen for display in exhibitor booths at the annual event. Each booth vehicle represents a vote by the exhibitor. The SEMA Award honors are presented in the categories of Hottest Car, Hottest Sport Compact, Hottest Truck and Hottest SUV.
The banner at the top of the RCTS Canada website reads, “Technology is the only substitute for cubic inches.” It’s a saying that the retail performance outlet has lived by since owner Reg Riemer founded it in 1996. Over the years, RCTS has worked closely with factory shops ranging from TTE-Toyota Team Europe to HKS to boost its technical and R&D credentials. In fact, RCTS has carved out a specific niche as the only licensed, fully supported HKS Pro Dealer in all of Canada. “Reg actually started by selling HKS products out of his garage way back,” explained shop foreman Antony Ray. “Soon he had to get a building to sell them out of, and things grew.
Each year, during the first week of November, manufacturers of automotive parts and accessories gather in Las Vegas to debut their new products and connect with buyers and media. As the largest annual gathering of small businesses, the SEMA Show provides these manufacturers with a venue for which to do business. They spend months in advance preparing their booths and securing meetings, and they work nonstop during the Show to connect with buyers who are seeking the hottest, newest products to fill their store shelves.
The New Products Showcase at the SEMA Show is a hotbed of creativity each year. Attendees flock to the display cases to learn about the latest developments in everything from street-performance, racing and off-roading to mobile-electronics, interior and exterior products. The cases are stocked before the Show opens, and a widely diverse panel of automotive professionals scrutinizes each offering before selecting a chosen few for industry honors.
A car’s electrical system can be a challenge for a do-it-yourself hobbyist. That’s why car magazines—for about as long as there have been car magazines—have covered the topic to help enlighten shade-tree mechanics. For instance, Hot Rod magazine published an article in its June 1963 issue called “Wiring Made Easy” to illustrate the basic tools, hardware and steps needed to wire a hot-rod project. But the car in the opening photograph wasn’t just any hot rod. The subject car was the XR-6—a futuristic, built-from-scratch roadster that was the brainchild of Hot Rod’s LeRoi “Tex” Smith to “investigate the uses of modern ideas in hot-rod design,” as Smith described it. The XR-6 would go on to appear on the cover of Hot Rod’s August 1963 issue and also nab the coveted America’s Most Beautiful Roadster award at that year’s Oakland Roadster Show.
It will be no surprise to those who attended: The 2014 SEMA Show bounced off the rev limiter like a street machine on nitrous, posting historic levels of attendance, exhibitor numbers and total footprint. Growth is good, but the key measure of success will always be to create a comprehensive marketplace where quality exhibitors can do business with quality buyers. In that regard, it seems that the 2014 Show served well as a springboard for success for most in the industry in the coming year. As usual, we’ll be doing research to quantify what worked and what is changing as well as soliciting new ideas and ways to improve. To those of you who returned our post-Show survey, we extend our sincerest thanks in advance for your thoughts and comments.
SEMA members that have taken advantage of a 2011 Market Development Cooperator Program (MDCP) grant of $500,000 awarded to SEMA have reported $52.68 million in export sales. The funds provided by the U.S. Department of Commerce through this program have helped support projects aimed at increasing U.S. exports to key markets overseas.