SEMA News

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Cover Section

  • As a trade association, SEMA is governed by a Board of Directors, which is elected by the SEMA membership at large. Board members serve three-year terms, with the chairman-elect automatically assuming the role of Board chairman after completing his or her two-year term.

    “The SEMA Board of Directors is vital for setting our priorities and addressing issues that promote growth for all the association’s member businesses,” said SEMA President and CEO Chris Kersting. “Our directors represent the breadth and depth of the $33-billion specialty-equipment industry, and we appreciate their spirit of volunteerism, along with the considerable industry experience and insight they bring to their leadership role.”

Business

  • New products shape the automotive specialty-equipment industry, and companies that get their innovations to market earliest have the best chance for success. Millions of dollars are spent each year to research, design, develop and produce prototypes that are eventually honed into the finished parts that reach consumers’ vehicles. Until recently, that process has been time consuming and expensive—especially for smaller manufacturers that don’t have huge budgets. But technology is changing the R&D process.

Business Technology

  • Jon Wyly

    Questions From Your Industry Peers

    Continuing the theme from our last column in the October issue of SEMA News, let’s look at some questions that came from the Council Summit in Pomona, California, back in July. The folks attending this event represented a great cross-section of the industry, and all were very inquiring minds that made for some great conversation and questions.

  • Perhaps the most exciting news for SDC members is the debut of SEMA Search, a new online tool developed to deliver retailers and counter people in part stores, web businesses and warehouses a one-stop reference for SDC-member products.An Exclusive Progress Report on the SEMA Data Co-op

    When SEMA launched the SEMA Data Co-op (SDC) a little over two years ago, the goal was admittedly ambitious: to revolutionize the way automotive specialty-equipment manufacturers (data suppliers) convey product information to warehouse distributors and resellers (data receivers) for the benefit of all. Now, according to Jon Wyly, the co-op’s CEO, the SDC is delivering thousands of data sets a week, representing millions of part numbers and tens of millions of vehicle applications, through a database that continues to grow by leaps and bounds daily.

Chris Kersting

  • Chris Kersting, SEMA President and CEO We’re pleased to report that the SEMA Data Co-op has surpassed critical mass and is rolling! Your industry-owned product data repository now has more than 350 brands covering more than 2.7 million live part numbers. Every week, we see thousands of data exports pulled down by data receivers—our industry’s resellers and retailers. That means that more products are getting more exposure, leading to increased sales.

    That’s great news. Meanwhile, the marketplace continues to evolve. These days, more than 50% of all sales begin with online research, and studies show that a product listing that offers an image is more than twice as likely to sell as one with no image. Rich data—images with multiple views, video files, audio files—is reported to be as much as 17 times more likely to prompt a sale.

Events

  • The hot rods took to the track to benefit two children’s charities just before the banquet started. The cars were then autographed by the builders and displayed in the HRIA booth at the 2014 SEMA Show.Builders Race Their Creations on the Dragstrip to Raise Money for SEMA Cares Charities

    Eleven of the nation’s premier custom-car builders crafted miniature pinewood hot rods that raced head to head this past summer at the fifth-annual Hot Rod Industry Alliance (HRIA) Pinewood Builder’s Challenge during SEMA’s Installation Banquet & Gala Fundraiser, which was held July 18, at the Sheraton Fairplex Hotel & Conference Center in Pomona, California. The hot rods took to the track to benefit two children’s charities just before the banquet started. The cars were then autographed by the builders and displayed in the HRIA booth at the 2014 SEMA Show.

  • Last March, Team Derale from Forsythe High School set the record for fastest time of 19:10 at the Georgia International Convention Center in Atlanta.Now in its seventh year of existence, Hot Rodders of Tomorrow (HROT) enables young automotive enthusiasts to develop and show off their mechanical skills while being exposed to the automotive specialty-equipment industry. The organization’s purpose is to replenish the aging automotive field with essential future talent by expanding high-school education programs and providing career guidance to students while promoting the value of teamwork.

    “We started out recruiting high-school and college students and soon realized where the need was,” said Jim Bingham, HROT chairman and president/CEO of Winner’s Circle Speed & Custom based in Joliet, Illinois. “At the high-school level, we can get kids pointed in the right direction; we’re actually changing lives. It sends a chill down your spine when you see what you’ve done for these kids; we’re getting them to go to school.”

From The Hill

  • Vintage Air Hosts U.S. Representative Lamar Smith

    It’s said that necessity is the mother of invention. If you’ve ever been to San Antonio, Texas, in the summer, you know it’s not uncommon for the mercury to push triple digits. When it’s that hot, having a running air-conditioning system in your car is a must. Enter Jack Chisenhall. When he founded Vintage Air in 1976, no one else was producing air-conditioning systems and components for classic cars and trucks.

Government Affairs

  • The laws and regulations that govern how SEMA members do business have a continuous impact on the way automotive specialty-equipment products are made, distributed and marketed. The charge of the SEMA government affairs office is to stay on top of relevant state and federal legislation and regulations and advocate industry positions to ensure the best possible outcome for the membership. The following are just a few examples of critical legislative/regulatory successes that the SEMA government affairs team was involved in this year.

Industry News

  • 2016 Ford Explorer Uncovered, Ford Super Duty, Next-Gen Camaro, Porsche Panamera

  • Guide to Protect Trademarks, Patents and Copyrights Available Online and Light-Truck Accessory Market on the Rise

International

  • Offering Access to Hard-to-Obtain Vehicles What do a Toyota HiLux, a Ford Ranger T6, an UAZ Hunter and a Mitsubishi L200 have in common? For one thing these vehicles are known for being aftermarket-accessory friendly, are extremely popular with enthusiasts and are typically upgraded by owners who seek to take them off-roading. Another thing they have in common is that none of these vehicles are sold in the United States, but being very popular throughout the much of the rest of the world, they offer export marketing potential for U.S. companies.

Internet

  • Earlier this year, antivirus king Symantec sent shockwaves through the business community with the statement that antivirus software was “dead”—leaving businesses wondering, now what? Symantec dropped the bombshell to make a point: These days, a PC armed with a good firewall and some topflight antivirus software is simply no match against a sophisticated, determined hacker. The reason: The number of new viruses unleashed on the public every day can be as many as 200,000, according to Kapersky Lab, a computer security firm.

  • Social media is now a serious player in employee recruitment, in many cases significantly reducing the cost per hire for companies while simultaneously bringing in higher-quality talent, according to many recruiters.E-Mail Retains the Title

    While digital marketing always seems to have its own version of the “It Girl” each year, one thing has remained constant for nearly 30 years: E-mail is still the new sexy. According to a barrage of studies released during the past year, e-mail marketing still surpasses all others in the digital realm when it comes to return on investment (ROI) and increasing sales. And companies still see e-mail marketing as a stalwart when they’re looking to hang on to customers, build loyalty and increase website traffic.

  • These days, 21% of smartphone owners say they’ve scanned a QR code, with 2% saying they scan QR codes at least once a day.With the Right Demographic, a Potential Boon

    Businesses with a significant demographic skewed toward “hipper,” generally younger tech users—people who like to stay on the edge of what’s happening digitally—should take a serious look at QR-code marketing. Most of us have come across a QR (quick reach) code in our travels. It’s that framed square of hieroglyphic-like symbols that we flip to in a magazine, which triggers our smartphones to reveal a company website when scanned. Or it’s on that advertisement we see at an airport or train station that, when scanned, conjures up an electronic coupon on our tablets that can be used at a coffee shop, often only steps away.

Peoples And Places

  • As a trade association, SEMA is governed by a Board of Directors, which is elected by the SEMA membership at large. Board members serve three-year terms, with the chairman-elect automatically assuming the role of Board chairman after completing his or her two-year term.

    “The SEMA Board of Directors is vital for setting our priorities and addressing issues that promote growth for all the association’s member businesses,” said SEMA President and CEO Chris Kersting. “Our directors represent the breadth and depth of the $33-billion specialty-equipment industry, and we appreciate their spirit of volunteerism, along with the considerable industry experience and insight they bring to their leadership role.”

Required Reading

  • The message is clear: Automotive customization is thriving, and American-based businesses are at the forefront of product technology and innovation for the industry. As highlighted in the recent “SEMA Annual Market Study,” the automotive specialty-equipment market now represents $33 billion in annual sales—a 7% increase over the previous year.

Retail Store Review

  • Never Enough Auto Accessories Blossoms From the Owner’s Enthusiasm

    From its inception, the automotive specialty-equipment industry has been built in large measure by enthusiasts who followed their passions. Brad Vlastuin fits that mold.

    Vlastuin enjoyed cruise-ins and car gatherings around his hometown in Michigan back in the days when neon lighting and exterior accessories were the hot ticket for import cars. He owned a Toyota Matrix and found that others who attended the same events were in search of products similar to those he was interested in. He began to track down and offer accessories to his fellow enthusiasts, and he was soon running what was essentially a small business out of the trunk of his car.

SEMA Heritage

  • Shelby American had a presence at the High Performance and Custom Equipment Trade Show at Dodger Stadium in 1967, the event that would go on to become the SEMA Show. It’s interesting to see what’s in the Shelby booth—as well as what’s not. Shelby’s iconic Cobra roadster and the GT350 Mustang are represented only by photos on the booth’s back wall. Note, too, the “wanted” poster on the easel soliciting for manufacturer’s representatives to handle Shelby’s parts and equipment.

    The engine in the center of the booth is a small-block Ford outfitted with a Paxton supercharger. Shelby began offering the blower on ’66 GT350 models, though the expensive option found few takers. Only 11 GT350s left the factory as supercharged models.