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Modern Tastes, Technology Open New Markets for Classic Car Parts

The August 2010 issue of SEMA News is available to view online. This month's issue provides an in-depth look at the accomplishments of 2010 SEMA Hall of Fame inductees Richard "Dick" McMullen, Chuck Schwartz and Van Woodell. Learn more about their careers and how their contributions and service have left an indelible mark on the automotive specialty-equipment industry.

SEMA News also goes inside the restoration market to see how modern technology, enthusiasts' tastes and the popularity of resto-mods have helped reshape the market. While a significant portion of the market continues to desire traditional recreations of the original vehicle, others want a combination of modern conveniences and factory-spec. These changes in the market have created new opportunities for product lines that incorporate the traditional style with modern accessories.

The restoration market is not the only area where traditional approaches are being altered. Automaker Local Motors methods to auto manufacturing is based on open source and open design, and its customers help design and develop the cars that the company creates. With the feedback and direction from a community of artists, enthusiasts and designers, Local Motors uses the traditional tier-supplier network and the specialty-equipment aftermarket to construct its vehicles.

Get started with the August 2010 issue of SEMA News.

Is Your Business Underperforming? Use Market Research to Find Out

The SEMA Financial Benchmarking Program was developed in order to provide SEMA members with financial benchmarks they could use to help measure and compare their business operations with others in the industry. Industry-specific key performance indicators are reported that can then be used by participants to improve or grow their businesses.

Distributors and Manufacturers Post March Gains; Retailers Less So

More than half of distributors queried for the recent SEMA Financial Benchmarking Report indicated that sales increased year-to-date through March, compared to the same period in 2009. More than half were also optimistic that sales would continue rising through the following three months.

Lasting Shine: DIY Enthusiasts, Stagnant Auto Sales Reshape Car Care Market

Barry Meguiar’s family has been in the car-care business for 109 years, and he’s personally headed up the company that carries the family name for more than four decades. As the president of Meguiar’s Inc., he’s seen the economic roller coaster trundle up and down many times before, but he’s never seen anything like the past couple of years. Despite the fact that his company not only weathered the storm but actually prospered, posting a double-digit gain in 2009 alone, he said that the recession has battered the car-care industry like none other in his lifetime. [Read more]

New Techniques, Fewer Factory Options Fuel Restyling Resurgence

One of the most profound effects of the recession was the decline in U.S. vehicle sales, which plummeted from nearly 17 million in 2006 to about 10.6 million in 2009, according to Ward's AutoWorld. And while the downturn hobbled nearly every facet of the automotive aftermarket, some of the greatest damage occurred in the restyling category, whose very existence is predicated on available vehicle inventory. [Read more]

Sensing Recovery, Specialty-Equipment Companies Increase Equipment Spending

A Commerce Department report released two weeks ago showed capital spending plans rose 2.1% in May from April, and was 18.4% above its level a year ago. And despite jitters that some measure of economic recovery has slowed, The Wall Street Journal reports that companies including 3M and Cummins have stepped up equipment and manufacturing spending in anticipation of increased demand. 3M will spend an additional $3 billion on manufacturing this year, including a new Singapore plant to make films for solar panels.

Services and Accessories Fuel Powersports Market Rebound

Motorcycles and scooters play a key role in transportation systems throughout much of the world. Economical to own, maintain and use, easily navigated through tight, winding roads, a breeze to park and flat out fun to ride, they are primary conveyances in Asia and large segments of Europe. In the United States, however, motorcycles and other powersports machines, such as all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and side-by-side utility-type vehicle (UTVs), are viewed almost exclusively as luxury items—toys that enthusiasts prize but most mainstream consumers consider only for hobby or secondary use. [Read more]

SEMA Consumer Demand Index Tracks 25% Rise in Specialty Equipment Interest From Last Year

SEMA’s Consumer Demand Index for the month of May is up 25% over the same month last year. With a value of 40 for May, the index experienced a decrease of 8 points or 17% from April.

More Than Half of Industry Retailers Report Higher April Sales Than in 2009

Nearly half of retailers that responded to a SEMA survey think this will be a pretty good summer for specialty-equipment sales.

Consumer Demand Index Up 85% From a Year Ago

SEMA’s Consumer Demand Index (CDI) experienced yet another increase in April, going from 45 to 48. Representing a 7% increase, the CDI again matches closely with the Consumer Confidence Index which experienced an 11% increase from March to April. The April increase experienced by the CDI follows the ten-point increase from the month before and marks an 85% increase from April 2009. This could signal an indication that consumers are willing to purchase more products in the next few months—much needed good news for the specialty-equipment market.
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