Builders Race Their Creations on the Dragstrip to Raise Money for SEMA Cares CharitiesEleven of the nation’s premier custom-car builders crafted miniature pinewood hot rods that raced head to head this past summer at the fifth-annual Hot Rod Industry Alliance (HRIA) Pinewood Builder’s Challenge during SEMA’s Installation Banquet & Gala Fundraiser, which was held July 18, at the Sheraton Fairplex Hotel & Conference Center in Pomona, California. The hot rods took to the track to benefit two children’s charities just before the banquet started. The cars were then autographed by the builders and displayed in the HRIA booth at the 2014 SEMA Show.
Shelby American had a presence at the High Performance and Custom Equipment Trade Show at Dodger Stadium in 1967, the event that would go on to become the SEMA Show. It’s interesting to see what’s in the Shelby booth—as well as what’s not. Shelby’s iconic Cobra roadster and the GT350 Mustang are represented only by photos on the booth’s back wall. Note, too, the “wanted” poster on the easel soliciting for manufacturer’s representatives to handle Shelby’s parts and equipment.The engine in the center of the booth is a small-block Ford outfitted with a Paxton supercharger. Shelby began offering the blower on ’66 GT350 models, though the expensive option found few takers. Only 11 GT350s left the factory as supercharged models.
We’re pleased to report that the SEMA Data Co-op has surpassed critical mass and is rolling! Your industry-owned product data repository now has more than 350 brands covering more than 2.7 million live part numbers. Every week, we see thousands of data exports pulled down by data receivers—our industry’s resellers and retailers. That means that more products are getting more exposure, leading to increased sales. That’s great news. Meanwhile, the marketplace continues to evolve. These days, more than 50% of all sales begin with online research, and studies show that a product listing that offers an image is more than twice as likely to sell as one with no image. Rich data—images with multiple views, video files, audio files—is reported to be as much as 17 times more likely to prompt a sale.
As a trade association, SEMA is governed by a Board of Directors, which is elected by the SEMA membership at large. Board members serve three-year terms, with the chairman-elect automatically assuming the role of Board chairman after completing his or her two-year term. “The SEMA Board of Directors is vital for setting our priorities and addressing issues that promote growth for all the association’s member businesses,” said SEMA President and CEO Chris Kersting. “Our directors represent the breadth and depth of the $33-billion specialty-equipment industry, and we appreciate their spirit of volunteerism, along with the considerable industry experience and insight they bring to their leadership role.”
For much of 2014, SEMA members have generally reported having a good year and, for some, a great year. I’ve observed that the SEMA Show is a barometer of industry strength, reflected by participation and investment in the Show. This year’s pre-Show registration indicates that the SEMA Show will be an outstanding springboard for growth opportunities in 2015. This marks the fifth straight year that the Show has had increased participation levels since the lows of the recession in 2009. This makes for a larger Show, but more important than size is how many innovative manufacturers are taking the opportunity...
At the 2012 SEMA Show Awards Banquet, Michael Chapin and Eric Coomer sat down for dinner at the YEN member table. Focused on their respective ventures, the two like-minded gasoline junkies stayed in contact for another year and found several more overlapping likes and interests. Fast forward to 2014, when an opportunity arose to collaborate in a new business launch—RxSpeed.com—a search engine for aftermarket parts.
What kind of SEMA resources have you found to be valuable?
Chapin: Besides the obvious fact that we met while networking with YEN, Eric and I use SEMA’s market reports and resources to convey to the outside world the scale and dynamic of this marketplace. For most non-car people, it’s an industry that hides in plain sight. Few expect to hear that 24 million Americans spend $33 billion annually. The market segmentation reports draw clear lines in the sand to help people understand who buys parts for necessity and who buys them for fun.
Coomer: The background and education SEMA provides on the industry’s data revolution, and more specifically the SEMA Data Co-op, have by far been the most helpful in educating myself and others about the need for standardized product data. It wasn’t very long ago that every small business was told they needed a website in order to survive, and now in 2014, getting your products seen and sold online carries that same message. Clear business communication doesn’t end with conversation, but continues with every file and piece of data you exchange.