The industry’s reaction in 2015 to enactment of the replica car law could be described in two words: giddy enthusiasm. Companies would soon be able to produce and sell new turnkey vehicles that resembled classic vehicles produced at least 25 years ago. Passage of the law had taken just four years following the bill’s introduction—a relatively short period on Capitol Hill—but who knew that it would take five years of lobbying and a lawsuit before companies could begin selling replica cars?
“Make Bonneville Great Again” is no longer just a cheeky slogan that land-speed racers have printed on hats. SEMA is proud to announce that a joint state/federal program to save the Bonneville Salt Flats has been created to dramatically increase the amount of salt pumped onto those hallowed grounds.
Rich Barsamian got word that he was indeed one of the 2020 SEMA Hall of Fame honorees, and he was still speechless one week later. “Yeah, I was trying to think—because I’m still sort of in shock,” he said. The SEMA Hall of Fame will do that to you. It will take your breath away and leave you speechless, even if you’re Rich Barsamian. And that is saying something, because it takes quite a bit to see him speechless.
Undeterred by a sluggish economy brought on by COVID-19, demand for classic-car restoration is still soaring, and it’s likely to continue as long as parts suppliers can keep up. The clients are typically “car people” and are faithful to a particular make and model. While there are still those who insist on accurate restoration of classic cars, growth is to be found in those who want to retain the classic-car look but are thirsty for modern performance upgrades that improve drivability and promote individualism.
Of all the segments of the automotive aftermarket to have been impacted by 21st-century advances in original-equipment design and manufacturing technologies, few have been more dramatically affected than the collision repair and refinish industry. Lighter-weight body panels, tri-coat paint applications and advanced driver-assist systems (ADAS) have all become commonplace on OE production platforms, and those advancements have posed fresh challenges to the market.
Even in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, the aftermarket was rolling up its sleeves for business. For operations able to stay open under essential-business declarations, that meant adopting the latest best practices in coronavirus mitigation. For those unable to stay open, it meant crafting innovative strategies to weather the lockdown until the green light came to reopen. Now that the economy is shifting into recovery mode, businesses in the latter category may be asking what “safely reopening” means. How can they best protect the health of employees and customers alike?
In late January, all indicators pointed to another robust 2020 for the market. Then came the coronavirus. In response, major UTV manufacturers took decisive measures to safeguard employees and customers and weather the national shutdown initiated in April, and aftermarket manufacturers and retailers developed new ways of selling. More recently, as the summer powersports season moves into full swing, there is optimism that a significant rebound will be possible.
For most builder-enthusiasts, car-care and restyling products are among the most indispensable tools for customizing a vehicle. They can provide added measures of protection for paint, glass and chrome. They can lend upgrades to interior comfort and optimize exterior shine. Many of the most popular products can be purchased without breaking the bank. They’re available nearly everywhere that auto parts are sold—and even some places they’re not, such as in neighborhood car washes or convenience stores.
Throughout the years, the automotive aftermarket has adapted many times to changes in consumer taste and advances in product development. Through it all, however, Hot Rod Alley at the SEMA Show has remained a steady industry focal point, providing a forum for some of the aftermarket’s leading lights to showcase their latest, most innovative parts and projects. What began with a handful of fabricators tinkering with pre-war Fords in their home shops has blossomed, decades later, into a global industry boasting thousands of builders who comprise a $1.26-billion market, according to the most recent survey from the Hot Rod Industry Alliance (HRIA).
Businesses seem to increasingly find themselves at the mercy of some sort of natural disaster, whether it’s a hurricane, an earthquake, a flood or a wild fire. As a result, it’s crucial for business owners to be prepared and have a response plan in place in the event the unthinkable happens.