Automotive News

Launch Pad Competition Returns for 2014

Jonathan Mill (second from right), was named the 2013 Launch Pad winner. He was congratulated by Bryan Harrison (left), Lindsay Hubley (second from left) and Dan Kahn (right). The SEMA Launch Pad competition, in which automotive innovators under the age of 40 showcase their business plans for marketing a product or service, has returned for 2014. Last year’s inaugural winner was Jonathan Mill for the E-Stopp, a pushbutton emergency brake and anti-theft device for custom vehicles.

For the 2014 competition, the top 10 competitors will gather votes through the SEMA Facebook/YouTube voting platform. The top five individuals will then receive invitations to pitch their business ideas during a special event in front of an industry-fueled crowd at the 2014 SEMA Show.

New SEMA Report Uncovers UTV Purchase Patterns

SEMA’s “Powersports: UTV Accessorization” report highlights the UTV market’s potential for a wide range of specialty-equipment companies.According to a SEMA study on the utility task vehicle (UTV) market, nearly 82% of UTV owners have purchased or plan to purchase equipment upgrades for their vehicles. This means that 410,000 households in the United States buy UTV accessories, with the average enthusiast spending $1,700 on parts.

This means that 410,000 households in the United States buy UTV accessories, with the average enthusiast spending $1,700 on parts.

The Hot-Rod Market

One of the great things about the hot-rod market is the wide range of customizations embraced by enthusiasts. Vehicles such as this Cutworm Specialties rod get tricked out with every imaginable category of aftermarket parts.A Classic Segment, Still Growing Strong

Who isn’t thrilled by the look and performance roar of a classic hot rod? Virtually synonymous with the earliest days of the automotive specialty-equipment industry, hot rodding never seems to grow old. In fact, the market segment has remained incredibly resilient, even in the face of the recently bumpy economy.

2014 SEMA Middle East Trip

Top Speed was the first stop on a day-long trip to tour local tuning shops. Pictured are (left with back to camera) Rick Trudo, president and CEO of SCT Performance; Adrian Croot (center), marketing director of Bully Dog Technologies; and (right) Saeed Al Al Marzouqi, managing director of Top Speed.Record Number of SEMA Members Participate in Third Annual Visit to the United Arab Emirates

Whether the motivating factor is to hedge against future downturns in the U.S. economy or to sell to the 95% of consumers residing outside the United States or a combination of the two, SEMA members are increasingly reaching out to overseas resellers. Todd Lindblade, regional sales manager for Extang, based in Michigan, explained one of the reasons why his company and 41 other SEMA members recently spent a week in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) meeting with buyers from throughout the region.

Stu Hilborn

Hilborn was among those who raced on Southern California’s dry lakes in the years prior to World War II. Ironically for a man whose name is now synonymous with fuel injection, Hilborn had little mechanical knowledge when he bought his first hot rod in the ’30s. But he had a neighbor who did—Indy 500 veteran Eddie Miller. Miller helped Hilborn build a flathead-powered Model A that could hit 120 mph on the lakes, and Hilborn proved to be a quick study, in all senses of the word, and he soon wanted to go faster. To do so, he bought a narrow streamliner that had been raced by Bill Warth.

SEMA Indicators

At the 2013 SEMA Show, more than 60,000 buyers joined nearly 50,000 exhibit personnel as well as thousands of media and other visitors to bring total attendance to more than 140,000 industry professionals and their guests.   A Look at Areas of Interest for Specialty-Equipment Companies

For this story, we have drawn upon information from a variety of sources that, taken together, may suggest business trends. SEMA’s trade show data, new-vehicle sales, educational tendencies and other indicators are some of these often-overlooked sources. What follows is a look at some of the areas of interest that may show where business is headed in the near future.

Fast Facts

Breaking news from SEMA members, including MultiCam Inc., Meyer Distributing and Vehicle Specialties Inc., Goodguys Gazette, Piston Driven Manufacturing and Performance Racing Industry (PRI), Innovative Creations and more.

Experts Help You Navigate the Latest in Connected Vehicle Technology

SEMA’s Product Development Expo will highlight current methods of vehicle production and the tools and awareness needed to navigate the impact of connected vehicle technology on the specialty-automotive market. The Product Development Expo, fueled by the SEMA Garage, and sponsored by the SEMA Data Co-op and the Emerging Trends & Technology Network, will be held Thursday, April 10, at SEMA headquarters in Diamond Bar, California.

The expo will provide specialty-equipment companies with insight on how the methods for vehicle production have been transformed on the OEM level—specifically during the past 10 years— and require companies to adapt quickly to new and emerging technologies to stay competitive.

2014 SEMA Show Booth Space Applications Available

Booth space applications for the 2014 SEMA Show are available online Companies interested in exhibiting at the 2014 SEMA Show, set for November 4–7, 2014, in Las Vegas, may now submit applications for space. Manufacturers that apply before the April 11 deadline will participate in the Priority Booth Space Selection process, where exhibitors are assigned their booth location in the Las Vegas Convention Center.

The SEMA Show typically attracts more than 130,000 individuals from more than 125 countries, making the show the world’s premier automotive trade event where buyers and sellers meet to do business.


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