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.
Ted Wentz III, CEO of Quadratec Inc., has been elected to the 2020–2021 SEMA Board of Directors in the Distributor/Retailer category. He will replace outgoing Board member Greg Adler of Greg Adler Motorsports, effective in July.
As the automotive aftermarket has gradually adopted digital technologies, so too has the hot-rod aftermarket. Vintage sheetmetal nowadays may house OBD-II-spec engines and drivetrains, 3-D-printed accessories, aftermarket advanced driver-assistance systems and even Bluetooth connectivity. Whatever technologies builders leverage to craft their projects, however, a constantly evolving hot-rod aftermarket can meet their particular needs. What follows is a survey of related products from the New Products Showcase at the 2019 SEMA Show, along with some insights from a number of industry leaders.
Getting “unstuck” is a popular small-business topic, and there’s no end to advice articles online. Most of them deal chiefly with burnout and the motivational blocks that can stymie a business owner. However, small-business expert Barry Moltz believes that there’s more to getting a retail business unstuck than motivational gimmickry—even while he concedes that it’s hard for a business owner to exude enthusiasm day in and day out.
One of the major perks of working at SEMA has been exposure to a wide array of interesting personalities. Like so many, I grew up inspired by the countless influential talents found in the automotive field. The well-known faces and brands are usually linked to a unique style of craft, innovation or entertainment. While I don’t always share their tastes, I can appreciate their unique expressions. At the end of the day, a common thread unites us enthusiasts: the love and dedication for all things four-wheeled.
More recently, SEMA has evolved a wide variety of new programs and even new business units such as the SEMA Data Co-op (SDC) and SEMA Garage, each offering more specialized services. As those specialized benefits become available, SEMA aims to reach relevant individuals within each company who might want to know about them. For example, a product data manager would be specifically interested in the SDC’s benefit of digitized product information—necessary to allow broader B2B and B2C exchanges in an increasingly online world. Similarly, SEMA Garage offers services specifically useful to product-development specialists and engineers, and SEMA legislative and regulatory alerts are of interest to company CEOs, legal advisors and those who communicate with the enthusiast community. It’s quite possible that information about such services and opportunities reaches its intended target less frequently if the member company’s primary contact is the only one informed of it.
SEMA provides its nearly 7,000 companies a plethora of benefits, including access to the SEMA Garage; industry-leading market research; education; world class trade shows; networking opportunities; a regulatory and advocacy program to fight for industry-friendly legislation in Washington, D.C.; international programs to reach potential overseas customers; and more. Whether you're a manufacturer, retailer, jobber, distributor, rep or installer, SEMA has something to offer everyone. For more information, visit www.sema.org/benefits.
The face of the automotive marketplace has changed many times over the decades, but one feature has remained constant: the popularity of pickups and, more recently, their sibling SUVs and CUVs. Unlike certain makes and models of passenger cars, trucks never go out of style. They’re the ideal multipurpose vehicles that are equally functional as daily commuters, jobsite workhorses or recreational trail machines. For sheer versatility, on the road and off, nothing compares to them, and that’s probably why the bestselling vehicle in the United States for more than 40 years running has been a pickup.
The SEMA Show is four action-packed days of conducting business, making connections and seeing the industry’s newest products. It is also a great opportunity for SEMA to provide elected officials with a firsthand look at the automotive specialty aftermarket and the role the industry plays in the communities they represent. Each year, SEMA hosts members of Congress and state lawmakers, providing Show tours that feature visits to home-state exhibitors. The 2019 SEMA Show hosted U.S. Representatives Doug LaMalfa (R-CA), Mike Kelly (R-PA) and Dina Titus (D-NV), along with 18 state lawmakers.