SEMA at 50: Celebrating Five Decades of Automotive Passion

Chris Kersting, SEMA President and CEO Fifty years ago, in May of 1963 to be exact, a roomful of industry pioneers founded a trade association—the Speed Equipment Manufacturers Association—and SEMA was born. As we celebrate the organization’s Golden Anniversary, what held true then is still true today: the association, with deep volunteer participation and guidance, is a reflection of the industry itself. Together we’re celebrating five decades of business perseverance, growth, innovation and success.

At a recent SEMA Installation Banquet I was noting some of the challenges that confront the industry and I read an excerpt from an industry trade publication: “We may wake up one morning soon and find there’s no one left with any reason to buy headers or manifolds or a host of other performance products designed to make a car perform better…

SEMA Show Guide for Buyers

Encompassing well over a million square feet of product innovations, aftermarket trends and unmatched business opportunities, the annual SEMA Show in Las Vegas is a buyers’ paradise. Make sure you have a game plan for getting the most of it. As the world’s premier automotive aftermarket trade event, the annual SEMA Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC) can seem overwhelming. How do you cover well over a million square feet of display vehicles, product innovations and special events in just a few short days? The secret, according to SEMA Show Director Tom Gattuso, is to start strategizing ahead of time.

“The SEMA Show is like the Super Bowl,” said Gattuso. “A buyer can’t just show up and hope to win. You have to have a strategy. The more you plan ahead, the more productive you will be. We talk to buyers extensively after each Show and find that those who had a plan are substantially more successful.”

Vehicles of the 2013 SEMA Show

2013 Lamborghini The Car Show for the Pros

Professionals from all facets of the automotive specialty-equipment industry will gather once again at the Las Vegas Convention Center on November 5–8 to see the latest product innovations, attend in-depth educational seminars and make business connections. They’ll also be witness to one of the most spectacular custom auto shows in the world.

Many of the products that will be introduced by the exhibiting companies—more than 2,000 of them this year—will be showcased on the vehicles for which they are intended. Over the past few years, SEMA News has previewed dozens of these automotive artworks, and we’re doing it again for 2013. The feature vehicles shown in this listing will appear in exhibitor booths and in display areas throughout the Las Vegas Convention Center and the adjacent outdoor grounds. Be sure to check them out in person, and enjoy the Show!

SEMA Show to Feature Three New Exhibitor Areas

The First-Time and Featured Exhibitors areas include hundreds of exhibitors representing a variety of market segments.

The First-Time and Featured Exhibitors areas include hundreds of exhibitors representing a variety of market segments.

In addition to 11 designated floor sections, the 2013 SEMA Show will include three different areas where First-Time and Featured Exhibitors can be found. While the Show has included First-Time and Featured Exhibitors areas in previous years, 2013 marks the first time that the Show will include three such areas:

Must-See Features of the 2013 SEMA Show

The SEMA Show draws more than 135,000 industry leaders to Las Vegas from more than 100 countries, all seeking business opportunities in the automotive, truck and SUV, powersports and RV markets. A Sprawling Panorama of Automotive Excellence

The SEMA Show is the world’s most impressive automotive trade show. It draws industry professionals from around the globe to stunning exhibits of innovative and sought-after specialty-equipment products. It attracts more than 135,000 industry leaders from more than 100 countries to Las Vegas, all seeking business opportunities in the automotive, truck and SUV, powersports and RV markets. And the 2013 SEMA Show—the year of the association’s 50th anniversary—will eclipse all previous gatherings. In fact, exhibit space in the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC) is sold out, and new display areas have been created in the Las Vegas Hotel and in other parts of the Show grounds to help accommodate the surplus.

A Few Words With Tom Gattuso

More than 2,100 companies have already secured space for the 2013 event, including 500 first-time exhibitors. The Show is designed to provide manufacturers of automotive products and accessories with a venue to connect to and do business with buyers from throughout the world, so the better informed exhibitors are, the more successful their experience will be. The SEMA Show Director Provides Tips for Exhibitors, Buyers and Media

Tom Gattuso is the director of the SEMA Show. With more than 18 years in the field of automotive-event production—both consumer and trade—he is well versed in ensuring that attendees and exhibitors of every stripe receive the greatest return on their investments. The 2013 SEMA Show will be his third as director, and SEMA News was pleased to talk with him about his insights.

SEMA Leadership Days

The July 26 festivities included the inauguration of the 2013–2014 SEMA Board of Directors, led by incoming Chairman Nate Shelton (front center). Annual Summit and Gala Mark Association’s 50th Year

As the specialty-equipment industry’s premier trade association, SEMA relies on elected volunteers to serve on its Board of Directors and in positions of council leadership. Representing every segment of the automotive aftermarket, these industry professionals are dedicated to the advancement of marketing, regulatory and business standards and practices that promote industry growth for all. In short, they are on the front lines identifying challenges and opportunities facing the industry and crafting policies and programs to address them. To support and recognize their efforts, SEMA holds a series of intensive Leadership Days events each year, with this year’s gathering held principally at the Sheraton Fairplex Conference Center in Pomona, California, July 24–25.

Retailer Spotlight

ModBargains.com Delivers Data, Product and More

A generation ago, mail-order entrepreneurs transformed the specialty-equipment industry by leveraging enthusiast print media to inform and market to the masses. Today, a new generation of pioneers is doing it again—this time through the Internet and social media. ModBargains.com is a case in point.

Located in La Habra, California, the company was co-founded in 2004 by CEO Mike Brown, then 19, and President Ron Hay, then 24. Their original business plan called for a sort of online clearinghouse of special automotive parts promotions and deals similar to those offered by tech-industry bargain sites. But the venture quickly morphed into something much bigger—and better.

Mobile E-mail Marketing: Now, Too Critical to Ignore

E-mail marketers operating without significant, robust accommodations for mobile device users are leaving trunks of money at the table, according to two new reports on e-mail usage.

A full 41% of all e-mail is now read on mobile devices—smartphones and tablets—and that’s a spike in preference that will continue to rise for the foreseeable future, according to the “Mobile E-Mail Opens Report, 2nd Half 2012,” released by Knotice, a marketing firm.

2013 SEMA Annual Market Study Preview

2013 SEMA Annual Market Current Report Details Slow But Steady Industry Improvement

Things are looking up. That’s the overall impression cast by the just-released 2013 SEMA Annual Market Report. The new study provides a composite view of the automotive specialty-equipment industry and new-vehicle sales, and is packed with information and background that businesspeople from all market segments will want to access. The study is available now and can be downloaded here.

The report’s major findings include a return of growth for the industry overall. The street-performance niche continues to drive the rebound with a 15.3% year-over-year increase, but the light-truck niche also experienced the first growth in four years with a 1% increase in sales. The appearance and accessories segments are growing based largely...


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