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  • For nearly two decades, WTW founder and owner Diko Sulahian has wowed attendees at the annual SEMA Show, making his booth a must-see destination in the hugely popular Wheels & Accessories section. “To me, the keys to business success are relationships, respect that you’ve earned and name recognition,” he said. “That’s kind of the trick to the SEMA Show. The big thing about being there is consistency. It’s not about ‘when things are good, I go to the Show, and when things are bad, I back off for a year.’”

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Ideas Alive

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About this product:

Ideas Alive - SEMA News, October 2011

It happens over and over. Someone has a good idea. They may not know it at the time, but eventually, that good idea becomes a product, that product starts a business, and that business becomes a brand. What started as a single drop of water becomes a stream, then a river.

But in the beginning, there was only the idea.

Each successful idea was brought to life through entrepreneurial vision and risk-taking—the courage, willingness to put everything behind an idea and sell it. There is no one single formula for success; in fact, fresh, new approaches are constantly emerging in the automotive specialty-equipment industry. These are the stories of products and individuals whose ideas grew to power a new business, and in the process, created a whole new landscape.

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Made in the U.S.A.

About this product:

Made in the U.S.A. - SEMA News, October 2011

Made in the U.S.A.” has long been a powerful marketing proposition, especially for the automotive specialty-equipment market. Resurgent patriotism and concern over American job losses, along with outsourcing and foreign knockoffs, are currently inspiring consumers to “buy American.”

Of course, there are plenty of manufacturers in this industry who, for numerous reasons, never left the good ol’ U.S.A. Has their decision to remain stateside helped or hindered them?

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Marketing 101: Create a Wow Factor

About this product:

Marketing 101: Create a Wow Factor - SEMA News, October 2011

For nearly two decades, WTW founder and owner Diko Sulahian has wowed attendees at the annual SEMA Show, making his booth a must-see destination in the hugely popular Wheels & Accessories section. Perhaps best known for his high-end Giovanna Wheel line, Sulahian started virtually from scratch at his first Show. However, he quickly learned the ins and outs of successful booth promotion—skills that he’s eager to share with other SEMA members.

Sulahian has always had a knack for shows and events. Raised in Beirut, Lebanon, he got his start in business at age seven, assisting in his father’s tire enterprise. Immigrating to Southern California as a teenager, he soon realized that local swap meets offered little in the way of automotive parts, so he went to work filling the gap. His first booth featured mats, seat covers, wiper blades and related accessories.

SEMA Members may get this content for free!

Regular Price:

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Business

  • Made in the U.S.A.” has long been a powerful marketing proposition, especially for the automotive specialty-equipment market. Resurgent patriotism and concern over American job losses, along with outsourcing and foreign knockoffs, are currently inspiring consumers to “buy American.” Of course, there are plenty of manufacturers in this industry who, for numerous reasons, never left the good ol’ U.S.A. Has their decision to remain stateside helped or hindered them?

  • Faced with the uncertain U.S. recovery and a relatively soft market, many companies are looking to international markets to grow their businesses. This is particularly true in the automotive industry, as emerging global economies create new middle classes of consumers eager to purchase and modify cars, trucks and SUVs. Automotive specialty-equipment companies stand to benefit from entering these global markets—if they can successfully navigate the often-complex regulations and procedures involved in exporting goods overseas.

Chris Kersting

  • The SEMA Show exists for one core purpose: to help grow sales for our member businesses. At last year’s Show, we introduced “The SEMA Award: Hottest Vehicles of the Show” to help drive consumer interest in our industry’s innovative and outstanding products. The SEMA Award does this by honoring the models that industry experts—the SEMA Show exhibitors—most often feature in their booths as the hottest rides for the enthusiast market. Media coverage of SEMA Award winners last year was such a success that we wanted to share more about what the award really means and why we have even higher goals for it in its second year.

Events

  • For nearly two decades, WTW founder and owner Diko Sulahian has wowed attendees at the annual SEMA Show, making his booth a must-see destination in the hugely popular Wheels & Accessories section. “To me, the keys to business success are relationships, respect that you’ve earned and name recognition,” he said. “That’s kind of the trick to the SEMA Show. The big thing about being there is consistency. It’s not about ‘when things are good, I go to the Show, and when things are bad, I back off for a year.’”

  • Whether you’re an Internet veteran well versed in site optimization, pay-per-click advertising, keyword manipulation and search engines, or a novice who recognizes the need to take advantage of all the Internet has to offer to make your business a success, the SEMA Online Marketing Conference (www.SEMAomc.com) is a tool you can use to boost your company’s performance. The one-day conference, sponsored by eBay Motors and the Street Performance Council, will take place on Tuesday, November 1, in conjunction with the annual SEMA Show in Las Vegas. The speakers are not only experts in their respective fields but are also top-rated educators.

  • It happens over and over. Someone has a good idea. They may not know it at the time, but eventually, that good idea becomes a product, that product starts a business, and that business becomes a brand. What started as a single drop of water becomes a stream, then a river.

  • Business is as competitive as ever. Having a great product or service isn’t enough anymore—you have to constantly look for a competitive edge. Will it be a killer website, a particular sales technique, superior customer service, a better industry trend analysis? It is critical to stay up-to-date on the latest business trends and technologies or you might get left in the dust. The SEMA Education Institute (SEI) has assembled a comprehensive education program that will be held in conjunction with the SEMA Show. The program will feature multiple tracks, including online marketing, customer service and sales, business management, industry trends and more. Each session will include subject-matter experts who will give you practical tools and resources that can be implemented as soon as you get back to the office. Don’t miss this unparalleled opportunity to get up-to-speed on the latest trends and technologies to give your business the competitive edge you need to succeed. 

  • The king of the automotive trade shows is better for 2011 as the result of a host of new features. They start with an enhanced website and end with a new cruise event as the grand finale, so the SEMA Show once again continues to evolve and improve. The theme this year—Ideas Alive—begins with the Show itself.

  • A recent study on vehicle accessorization by the automotive marketing research and consultancy firm AutoPacific confirmed that accessories influence more than a million vehicle sales each year (www.sema.org/products/10596/influencer-report). And while many new- and used-vehicle dealers understand the power of accessorization, others have questions about how to incorporate accessory sales effectively, providing not only an added impetus for vehicle shoppers to make purchases, but also adding to the dealership’s bottom line through a supporting profit channel. Dealer Day at this year’s SEMA Show will address those questions.

  • HomeThe SEMA Show is the premier trade event for automotive enterprises of all types. The industry gathers in Las Vegas each year to learn about the latest innovations and most sought-after parts and accessories for car, truck and powersports vehicle owners throughout the world. And the top attraction at this globe-spanning event is Ideas Alive: Featuring the New Products Showcase—the venue where ideas become tangible and attendees find the products that will inspire their customers in the year ahead.

From The Hill

  • On July 8, 2011, SEMA members joined with SEMA staff and thousands of enthusiasts across the country to celebrate the second annual Collector Car Appreciation Day. More than 200 events—double last year’s total—were held in the United States and Canada to commemorate the day, which had been designated as the result of a SEMA-requested U.S. Senate Resolution (S. Res. 154) sponsored by Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) and Senator Richard Burr (R-NC). The resolution recognizes “that the collection and restoration of historic and classic cars is an important part of preserving the technological achievements and cultural heritage of the United States.”

Government Affairs

  • Law and Order is an update of some of the most recent federal and state legislative and regulatory issues that could potentially impact the automotive specialty-equipment industry. These include issues affecting small-business owners and their employees.

Industry News

  • Honda Ridgeline, Volkswagen CrossPassat, Honda CR-V, Corvette C7

  • After two successful years, the Opinion Leaders Program will once again expand at the 2011 SEMA Show. Through the research project, some of the nation’s most active and influential automotive enthusiasts are called upon to help industry professionals identify future trends by attending the Show and providing first-hand feedback on the products and vehicles that debut.

International

  • The SUV and luxury segments will be the main drivers of growth in China’s auto market this year as it shrugs off a slow few months and returns to steady growth, analysts said. That’s good news for SEMA members. Buyers of luxury cars and SUVs—many of which are luxury SUVs—have money to spend on customizing their vehicles, and a growing desire to do so.

Internet

  • Google has turned more than a few heads in the business community by rolling out a new, free service that promises to dramatically speed the download of websites. The technology, called Page Speed Service, works by fetching content from your web-hosting service, rewriting pages using optimization techniques and then rebroadcasting the pages directly to your website visitors using Google computers.

  • Made in the U.S.A.” has long been a powerful marketing proposition, especially for the automotive specialty-equipment market. Resurgent patriotism and concern over American job losses, along with outsourcing and foreign knockoffs, are currently inspiring consumers to “buy American.” Of course, there are plenty of manufacturers in this industry who, for numerous reasons, never left the good ol’ U.S.A. Has their decision to remain stateside helped or hindered them?

Member News

  • Hot Rod Industry Alliance (HRIA) - SEMA CouncilHot Rod Alley may be one of the smaller sections of the annual SEMA Show, but it is also one of the oldest. A trip through Hot Rod Alley reveals innovations, products and history that have been the foundation for many of the other areas of the Show.

    The hot-rod market looks to make a big rebound in 2012, as seen by the variety of new products that will be featured in this area. According to SEMA research reports, the number of unique buyers indicating an interest in the hot-rod market has increased 54% over the same period in 2010. There is also a renewed interest hot rods among a younger audience, with nearly half of the hot-rod enthusiasts at the Show under the age of 41.

New Products

  • The SEMA Show is all about innovation and creativity. For a taste of what’s coming at the 2011 event, check out the more than 100 new products previewed here. During the Show, head to the upper level of South Hall for a look at the Ideas Alive: Featuring the New Products Showcase at the Las Vegas Convention Center, November 1–4, 2011.

SEMA Heritage

  • The man at the mill is John McWhirter, one of the founders of Racing Head Service (RHS). On the other side of the camera is Hot Rod magazine staffer Bud Lang, who photographed McWhirter cc’ing a Chevy cylinder head for a February 1971 profile of the Memphis-based shop. At the time, Lang wrote, the NHRA’s rules for Junior and Super Stock drag racers were so restrictive that “the few shops or engine builders specializing in high-performance work on such engines have, over the years, turned otherwise standard valve jobs into a science.” Lang then spent the next four pages explaining in thorough detail how RHS prepped small-block Chevy heads, with McWhirter—“the gentleman in charge of head production”—as his guide.