Automotive News

Fast Facts

Breaking news from SEMA members, including Remington Industries, Petersen Automotive Museum, CRP Automotive, WyoTech, LKQ Corporation, Toyo Tire North America and more.

George Lathouris Named 2013 SEMA Person of the Year

Presented annually at the SEMA Show Industry Awards Banquet in Las Vegas, the SEMA Person of the Year Award ranks among the association’s most prestigious honors. At the 2013 SEMA Show, the award went to George Lathouris, a 36-year marketing veteran. Lathouris was recognized for his volunteer leadership contributions, philanthropy and overall influence on the marketplace.

Lathouris is currently senior category manager at Keystone Automotive Operations in Scranton, Pennsylvania. He started his career working in a warehouse for American Speed Equipment in New York and worked his way up to the position of national sales and advertising manager.

Justin Hartenstein, YEN Member Insights, January 2014

Justin Hartenstein, SEMA YEN Member of the Month Spotlight, Member Insight, Automotive News, Aftermarket News, January 2014

Justin Hartenstein, founder and president of Oracle Lighting, was a true automotive enthusiast from the beginning.

When Hartenstein began selling automotive parts in his eBay store in 1999, it was primarily items that he had installed but later taken off his own rides. He later started making items on his own and posting project pictures on online forums. Others began requesting parts, asking to buy what Hartenstein had made for himself. While he maintained his eBay store, Hartenstein was also going to school at the University of New Orleans and working full time.

It wasn’t until Hurricane Katrina in 2005 that Oracle Lighting became the top priority for Hartenstein. His previous employer was greatly affected by Katrina. After the Hurricane, Hartenstein moved for a short period, and his own business was what he relied on. This was his turning point.

“When I moved back, I didn’t have any distractions, and it’s all I’ve done since then,” he said.

Oracle Lighting has been a SEMA member since 2003 and began exhibiting at the Show in 2009.

Collector Car Appreciation Day Scheduled for July 11, 2014

Collector Car Appreciation Day has become an annual event marked with special events by car clubs across the country, such as the Crazy Cruisers of Panama City, Florida. SEMA and its Automotive Restoration Market Organization and Hot Rod Industry Alliance have announced that the next Collector Car Appreciation Day will be celebrated July 11, 2014. The date will mark the fifth consecutive commemoration in what is now an annual event to raise awareness of the vital role automotive restoration and collection plays in American society.

The industry endeavors to preserve the nation’s automotive heritage while providing well-paying, high-skilled jobs nationwide. Collector Car Appreciation Day is a singular tribute to the collector-car industry and the millions of hobbyists it supports.

SEMA Cares Launches Bike Drive for Children in Need

Funds raised through the SEMA Cares Bike Drive will go toward the purchase of bicycles for each of the children at the Childhelp Merv Griffin Village.SEMA Cares has teamed up with Childhelp to purchase bicycles for the children of Merv Griffin Village. Childhelp is a leading national non-profit organization dedicated to helping victims of child abuse and neglect. Childhelp exists to meet the physical, emotional, educational and spiritual needs of abused, neglected and at-risk children.

Funds raised through the SEMA Cares Bike Drive will go toward the purchase of bicycles for each of the children at the Childhelp Merv Griffin Village.

Press Registration Open for SEMA’s Media Conference

Media representatives have the opportunity to meet with top motorsports parts producers in private, face-to-face meetings at the MPMC Media Trade Conference.  Media registration for the 2014 Motorsports Parts Manufacturers Council (MPMC) Media Trade Conference (MTC) is available online. Through the annual event, journalists—including freelancers, bloggers, TV reporters and magazine writers—participate in private, uninterrupted meetings with executives from manufacturing companies.

Reporters are able to select representatives from the companies they wish to meet so that they visit only with companies that are relevant to their outlets. Early registration ensures that reporters receive the best possible schedule in advance of the event, which will be held January 21–23, 2014, at the Embassy Suites Orange County Airport North in Santa Ana, California.

Putten der Growl in der Beetle

After a rocky start in the United States—probably too soon after World War II—Volkswagen sales had really taken off by the mid-’60s, with millions of the little Bugs on the road. There was a growing aftermarket for the cars by then as owners looked for ways to get more performance out of their wheezing, flat-four motors. At first glance, it would seem that hot-rodding magazines in the ‘60s were all about high-horsepower, big-cubic-inch stuff—drag racing, Bonneville, Indy and the explosion of a new-car segment that we now know as musclecars. But every once in a while, the magazines would branch out into foreign territory (pun intended) and check in with what was happening on the VW tuning front.

After a rocky start in the United States—probably too soon after World War II—Volkswagen sales had really taken off by the mid-’60s, with millions of the little Bugs on the road. There was a growing aftermarket for the cars by then as owners looked for ways to get more performance out of their wheezing, flat-four motors.

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