SEMA News

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Cover Section

  • The Innovations Center Opens for Business

    The photo you see on the cover of this month’s SEMA News was taken in the newly completed SEMA Garage photo studio. It’s a shot of rock guitarist Billy Gibbons, who was kind enough to pose with his project car, which SO-CAL Speed Shop is preparing for the 2014 SEMA Show. Gibbons was on hand to view progress on the car, confer with SO-CAL designer/builders Pete Chapouris and Jimmy Shine, and to tour the SEMA Garage, which is now officially open for business.

Business

  • Morris 4x4 Center will move into a 60,000-sq.-ft. facility later this year, with plans to better service the West Coast and expand offerings into the truck market. Morris 4x4 Center Has Maintained a 30% Average Annual Growth Rate Since 2005

    Morris 4x4 Center is a pure-play Jeep parts and accessories Internet retailer—which accounts for 98% of all sales—and is housed in a 32,000-sq.-ft. facility in Pompano Beach, Florida, with 70 employees. It started as a 6,500-sq.-ft. warehouse complex with six units. Every few years, the company expanded into another unit. In November of this year, Morris will move again, this time into a 60,000-sq.-ft. facility.

  • Industry data standardization has led to an explosion of parts and related information that can now be made available to dealers and aftermarket retail outfits online. Today’s web developers offer manufacturers as well as end users powerful tools to disseminate and access a seemingly infinite number of products in the marketplace by part, vehicle and application. Online Tool-Building for Your Business

    In many ways, developing a strong web presence has become a whole lot simpler. In other ways, it can be more confusing than ever.

    “With all the technology out there, websites are just easier to build now than they used to be,” said Bill Lundberg, product manager, automotive industry, for ARI (formerly 50 Below). “Local website designers have become abundant. Many designers still focus on the desktop version. Great website presence, however, relies on helping your customers on all types of devices and using the best tools for the job.”

  • A Powersports Category Snapshot

    SEMA research indicates that more than a third of automotive accessory enthusiasts are likely to own a powersports vehicle. That means the powersports market offers great crossover potential for aftermarket businesses catering to other specialty-equipment segments. So what’s one of the hottest trends in the powersports arena?

    The SEMA-commissioned report notes that approximately 670,000 UTV models were sold from 2010 to 2012. This is consistent with other market analyses that have predicted continued healthy growth of the segment through 2015.

  • The Innovations Center Opens for Business

    The photo you see on the cover of this month’s SEMA News was taken in the newly completed SEMA Garage photo studio. It’s a shot of rock guitarist Billy Gibbons, who was kind enough to pose with his project car, which SO-CAL Speed Shop is preparing for the 2014 SEMA Show. Gibbons was on hand to view progress on the car, confer with SO-CAL designer/builders Pete Chapouris and Jimmy Shine, and to tour the SEMA Garage, which is now officially open for business.

Business Technology

  • Jon WylyData Receivers: Now Is the Time to Speak Up!

    July marks the end of the first full year of operation of the SEMA Data Co-op (SDC) Product Information Management System (PIMS), and this fledgling new business is well on its way to becoming what we intended it to be—the definitive centralized product data repository for the SEMA marketplace. Now hosting more than 300 supplier brands of data, 2 million part numbers and more than 30 million vehicle application records, the SDC is a legitimate and valuable source for product data to power wholesale distributor (WD), retail and web businesses.

Chris Kersting

  • Chris Kersting, SEMA President and CEO The compelling image you see on the cover of this issue was a byproduct of a visit by the world-famous SO-CAL Speed Shop crew. They came by to check out the newly completed SEMA Garage and to touch base with one of their celebrity clients—rock guitarist and legendary car collector Billy Gibbons. SO-CAL was among the first of many SEMA-member companies that will use the tools and facilities we have assembled in the SEMA Garage.

    The SO-CAL team took advantage of the SEMA Garage FaroArm laser scanner to capture the exact curvature of the ’34 Ford’s sleek body panels to quickly fabricate a new custom trim piece. It’s an example of how the latest scanning and rapid prototyping tools can revolutionize the way our industry develops products.

From The Hill

  • Steve Matusek (left) welcomed Rep. Yoder to Aeromotive’s headquarters. Aeromotive Hosts Kansas Representative Kevin Yoder

    Like many other leaders in the automotive specialty-equipment industry, Steve Matusek started small. He formed Aeromotive Inc. in 1994 in Lenexa, Kansas, with dreams of applying aerospace techniques and processes to high-performance automotive fuel systems. The company blossomed by relying on three generations of engineering and racing experience. It is now a leading designer and manufacturer of fuel-delivery systems for racing, street and marine applications.

Industry News

  • New-Generation SVO Mustang, Ford Raptor Mule, SRT Challenger Hellcat, and GM Colorado, Canyon Diesel With VW Amarok.

  • Breaking news from SEMA members, including Wes-Coast Marketing, Holley Performance Products, Midwest Truck & Auto Parts, Flex-a-lite, Fidanza Performance, The Society of Collision Repair Specialists and more.

  • Ford Motor Co. has made CAD information available for the ’15 Mustang and F-150. The data is accessible to SEMA manufacturing members who are subscribed to the SEMA Technology Transfer program. The program, which was established more than 10 years ago to help manufacturers minimize or eliminate reverse engineering for production, is available for $360 per year. Other OEMs that are part of the program include Chrysler, General Motors and Scion.

  • Attendee, exhibitor and media registration for the 2014 SEMA Show is available online at www.SEMAShow.com.  Registration for the 2014 SEMA Show is open and available. The Show takes place Tuesday–Friday, November 4–7, in Las Vegas. Registration is offered in three categories: attendee, exhibitor and media.

International

  • The Toyota HiLux is a popular vehicle to customize in Central America. SEMA purchased a HiLux, which is popular elsewhere in the world but is not sold in the United States, so that SEMA-member manufacturers could measure the vehicle to create export-ready product. The international vehicle measuring session program is made possible through a partnership with the U.S. Department of Commerce. An Increasingly Popular Regional Destination for U.S. Automotive Specialty-Equipment Products

    With an estimated population of 42 million, Central America is an increasingly important regional market for U.S. goods. The Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) eliminates trade barriers among the seven signatories, which include the United States, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Before this regional trade pact, tariffs on U.S. autos and parts to the region had averaged from about 4% to 9% and even up to 30% on certain products. Most of these import taxes disappeared immediately with CAFTA-DR approval, and the rest will be eliminated by 2015.

Internet

  • While negative online reviews can be completely unsubstantiated, businesses must face a hard truth: The Internet never forgets. Without a detailed strategy in place for dealing with negative reviews, a thumbs-down from a customer—or a series of customers—can stay on the web forever and consequently erode profits forever.

    Indeed, according to a Harvard study released in 2011, a simple one-star ratings increase of Seattle restaurants on Yelp spiked a...

Member News

  • A key to developing a motivated team is growing the talent that’s already in the pool. The goal of the SEMA Education Institute (SEI) is to lead the industry by offering a variety of tools to help members continue learning throughout every stage of their career paths.

  • SEMA Scholarships CommitteeAsk professionals across the industry what they need in an employee, and they will give an assortment of answers depending on their niche and role within a company. Some employers look for a certain skill set. Often, this expertise is very specific and, as a result, elusive in the applicant pool. Tray Smith’s mail-order company, H&H Classic Parts, is like many retail businesses in that it depends on a strong sales team. Finding the right fit is not always as easy as it sounds, however.

  • After the success of last year’s Launch Pad competition, SEMA is excited to announce that the contest will return for a second year at the 2014 SEMA Show in Las Vegas. Sponsored by the Young Executives Network (YEN), the SEMA Launch Pad offers innovators under the age of 40 an industry platform to showcase their businesses and win a significant package to help them market a new automotive product or service.

  • By Gigi Ho

    Whether it’s leading a small group, a department or an entire company, effective leaders draw upon their own unique journeys for developing keys to success. While there is no single formula, some of the most successful women in leadership positions today share some core values that can be applied to any company atmosphere. Here’s a look at two rising leaders in the industry and their takes on leading effectively.

  • Manufacturers Representative Network (MRN) - SEMA CouncilBy John Chapin

    The e-mail came in at 9:07 p.m., and I responded immediately. The customer’s response: “Wow! That was quick. Thanks. Trying to get my staff to deliver those ‘wow’ moments myself.”

    These days, it’s easier than ever to create the “wow” response with customers, mostly because customer service, follow-up and all related business protocols leave so much...

  • Emerging Trends and Technology Network (ETTN) - SEMA CouncilBy Regis Finn

    The Emerging Trends & Technology Network (ETTN) is still a relatively new SEMA network, but the group’s stated mission is to educate members about the latest trends, including those in marketing. One way the network accomplishes this objective is by sharing with members the way other industries operate and display at conventions and trade shows.

  • Vehicle Dynamics for the Wheel and Tire Industry

    The partnership between SEMA and the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR) is producing a great new resource for the wheel and tire industry. The Wheel & Tire Council (WTC) and CU-ICAR have been collaborating since 2013 on a vehicle dynamics research project studying the effects of plus-sized wheels and tires on the ’13 Ford F-150. Using advanced simulation models, researchers have been able to quantify the effects of various wheel/tire combinations on key areas of consumer priorities: routine and emergency handling, steering feel, ride comfort and various subsets of those categories.

  • Professional Restylers Organization (PRO) - SEMA CouncilLook to the Future

    On the morning of July 16, 2014, SEMA-member restylers, accessory manufacturers and retailers—all of whom are involved in the restyling industry—are invited to gather at the SEMA Garage–Industry Innovations Center in Diamond Bar, California, to discuss the current state of the industry and explore new opportunities for the future. This annual Professional Restylers Organization (PRO) long-range planning meeting is a chance for all employees of PRO-member companies and potential members to network and discuss industry-related issues. Attendees can help determine the focus and direction of the council for the next year and beyond.

  • Motorsports Parts Manufacturers Council (MPMC) - SEMA CouncilFollowing its most recent election cycle, the Motorsports Parts Manufacturers Council (MPMC) will soon install new leadership. Rich Barsamian, vice president for sales and marketing at GT Performance Products LLC, will take over the chair position, and Chris Douglas, marketing director for COMP Performance Group, was chosen to serve as chair-elect. Each laid out his goals for the group in recent interviews with SEMA Member News.

  • Light Truck Accessory Alliance (LTAA) - SEMA CouncilAs always, summer is a busy time in the automotive industry, and members of the Light Truck Accessory Alliance (LTAA) council will be making the most of the sunshine and warm temperatures to accomplish projects and strengthen their businesses.

  • Hot Rod Industry Alliance (HRIA) - SEMA CouncilThe hot-rod market is reminiscent of a time gone by, but it’s really an industry committed to giving new life to time-tested vehicles. The Hot Rod Industry Alliance (HRIA) continues to break new ground for the niche in the resources it offers and approaches it tries. While 2014 has already been a year of fresh ideas, there’s more excitement in store.

  • Automotive Restoration Market Organization (ARMO) - SEMA CouncilThe Automotive Restoration Market Organization (ARMO) will install new leadership following its most recent election cycle. Dennis Roberts, vice president of Distinctive Industries, will take over the chair position, and Erika Wiesman, the owner of Hydro-E-Lectric Inc., was selected as chair-elect. They laid out their backgrounds and plans in recent interviews with SEMA Member News.

    Roberts has been involved in the restoration industry for more than 30 years after having been introduced to musclecars in 1970 through a ’70 Trans Am owned by a friend of his older sister. He bought a ’67 GTO as his first car in 1974 at the height of the gas shortage and became a hands-on restoration enthusiast for life.

New Products

  • Car-Care and Restyling Products From the 2013 SEMA Show

    From classic cars to today’s modern muscle, every automobile requires care, and each can also benefit from components that may subtly or outrageously change a vehicle’s appearance. At the 2013 SEMA Show, dozens of products were displayed under the car-care and restyling classifications in the New Products Showcase. The range of innovation ran from spoiler sunroofs and body side moldings to polishes, waxes and protective films. We’ve gathered the full contingent for your perusal here, along with comments on industry trends from a few executives who represent some of the industry’s leading car-care companies.

  • POWERSPORTS & UTILITY VEHICLES NEW PRODUCTS

    Quality Components for Fun Machines

    Motorcycles, ATVs, UTVs, snowmobiles and personal watercraft—small on size, big on entertainment value. And the New Products Showcase at the 2013 SEMA Show was brimming with powersports accessories designed to boost performance, add functionality and enhance appearance. The next few pages highlight the new and featured products displayed in the powersports category of the Showcase.

Required Reading

  • Enthusiast publication Popular Hot Rodding covered its 15 favorite musclecars from the SEMA Show. The 2013 SEMA Show featured literally thousands of cars. All kinds of cars. No matter what type you prefer, chances are it was on display at the SEMA Show. Whether it was Mustangs, Camaros, Porsches, Toyotas, Corvettes or something else, you were guaranteed to see the latest and greatest. These cars provide a canvas for the best in wheels, mobile-electronics products and LED headlights, just to name a few.

    These custom builds were a great way for the Show’s almost 2,500 exhibitors to showcase and display their aftermarket products. SEMA Show vehicles provided aftermarket product manufacturers with the ability...

SEMA Heritage

  • At the 1973 Street Rod Nationals (or so the story goes), rod builders Andy Brizio and Lil’ John Buttera got into a, shall we say, friendly discussion about which end of the Golden State produced the best street rods. Southern Californian Buttera ribbed Brizio, who was from South San Francisco, about how the Bay Area cars were “average” mechanically but were topped by outstanding paint jobs to make them seem more special. Brizio, in turn, said L.A. turned out trick show cars that couldn’t be driven very far. One thing led to another and (so the story goes) the discussion devolved into a “my new car will be better than your new car” challenge. At the 1973 Street Rod Nationals (or so the story goes), rod builders Andy Brizio and Lil’ John Buttera got into a, shall we say, friendly discussion about which end of the Golden State produced the best street rods. Southern Californian Buttera ribbed Brizio, who was from South San Francisco, about how the Bay Area cars were “average” mechanically but were topped by outstanding paint jobs to make them seem more special. Brizio, in turn, said L.A. turned out trick show cars that couldn’t be driven very far. One thing led to another and (so the story goes) the discussion devolved into a “my new car will be better than your new car” challenge.