By Christina KwanHeading into the 2013 SEMA Show, the SEMA Businesswomen’s Network (SBN) re-evaluated its core mission statement, and it now reflects the group’s proactive and ongoing advocacy for women in the aftermarket industry. SBN’s mission is to provide networking, education and recognition opportunities for professional women in the automotive specialty-equipment industry that will enhance their careers and positively impact the growth of the entire automotive aftermarket.
SEMA Member News—March/April 2014
Getting Involved With SBN: From MRP to Select Committee
Supporting the association that represents the automotive specialty-equipment market is reason enough to join SEMA, but there are many additional reasons. Some are especially helpful to the retail segment, but wading through all the benefits SEMA offers can be overwhelming at times. For those who are wondering about the value, here are the top five reasons it pays for retailers to join the association.
SEMA Member News—March/April 2014
Five Reasons Why It Pays to Be a SEMA-Member Retailer
A Whole New Way for Companies to Promote With HashtagsCompanies looking to join highly specific conversations happening on Facebook now have an easy way to get there: Facebook hashtags. Essentially, Facebook allows users to categorize a conversation they’re having on the social network by using a simple hashtag (#) and keyword in their post. For example, log onto Facebook and type #InternetMarketing in Facebook’s search box, and you’ll be presented with all the posts on Facebook coded with that hashtag/keyword.
“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.” —Henry Ford It’s almost hard to believe that the SEMA Data Co-op (SDC) was officially launched just two short years ago with one employee, an ambitious mission and a handful of industry hopefuls who were willing to test drive an idea that, by all accounts, was going to be difficult at best. It seems appropriate as we approach the end of our second year to stop and take a look at where the SDC has been in its short existence and what the future holds for us in the coming months.
“I was about 26 years old at that time and didn’t know very much about the area,” laughed Batanian. “I soon found out that within a block there were at least a hundred mechanics. There are really no customers in El Monte. They’re all mechanics and workers here. You can’t even do an oil change on a car because everyone is doing his own.”Nevertheless, Batanian has managed to build an extremely successful wheel and tire business over the years—so successful that he now has two additional stores in the greater Southern California area, one in Palmdale and another in Camarillo. In fact, he envisions a chain of 10 to 15 outlets throughout the Southland within the next few years.
RETAIL SPOTLIGHT: Kings Tire & Wheels Crowned by Service and Referrals
“I was about 26 years old at that time and didn’t know very much about the area,” laughed Batanian. “I soon found out that within a block there were at least a hundred mechanics. There are really no customers in El Monte. They’re all mechanics and workers here. You can’t even do an oil change on a car because everyone is doing his own.”
What’s Driving the Industry’s Young Entrepreneurs?A lot has been said and written lately about the “aging” of the automotive specialty-equipment industry. Built over roughly six decades by hands-on parts and hardcore speed and performance innovators, the automotive aftermarket is now an industry topping $30 billion. However, questions currently abound over whether it will continue to attract younger enthusiasts—not only as consumers but as entrepreneurs.
Thousands of reporters and journalists attend the SEMA Show each year with the goal of sharing new products and trends with consumers who are unable to see what’s happening in person. Many of the journalists represent automotive publications. However, as vehicle customization becomes more mainstream and consumers seek to personalize everything from cell-phone covers to coffee orders, general interest in the SEMA Show increases. Representatives from daily newspapers and mainstream outlets come to the SEMA Show to share with their readers news on how they can personalize their vehicles, whether with something as simple as a custom floor mat or seat cover or with a new paint scheme or engine component.
The wheel segment continues to be among the most robust in the automotive specialty-equipment industry, as evidenced by the dozens of wheel manufacturers that exhibited at the recent SEMA Show. Wheel builders continue to refine manufacturing techniques such as laser cutting for high-quality surface finishes and evolving designs that include deep concaves, mesh spokes and revolving caps. The following pages highlight some of the innovations from exhibitors in the Wheels & Accessories section, as seen in the 2013 SEMA Show New Products Showcase.
For the tenth year, a panel of 29 journalists from leading international media outlets served on the Global Media Award panel. Journalists from 14 countries participated, including Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Finland, France, Germany, Honduras, Mexico, Norway, Russia, South Africa, United Kingdom and Venezuela. Each was charged with choosing 10 products from the more than 2,000 new products introduced at the 2013 SEMA Show that they believe would resonate best with their consumers. Narrowing down the selection to only 10 products was difficult, said Graham Erasmus of South Africa’s Automotive Business Review. “Being a global media awards judge is pretty daunting,” he explained. “You are given six hours to vote for your 10 winning products, but the real problem lies in picking the final 10. I got it down to a short list of 28 and then had to go through the agonizing process of [whittling down the list to the final 10].”