Custom-car builders from all walks of life entered the 2019 Battle of the Builders (BOTB) competition. While the bulk of the entries came from contestants scattered across the United States, our neighbors up north and down south also provided multiple entries, and some even traveled across the pond to enter the competition. Legends of the industry entered and competed with first-timers looking to make names for themselves. The format remained the same as last year, with winners recognized in four different categories: Hot Rod, Truck/Off-Road, Sport Compact and Young Guns (under 27).
The performance products market—comprised of engine and drivetrain, electrical and ignition, intake and exhaust, cooling, safety and race gear—is one of the largest in the automotive aftermarket, with an estimated $10.63 billion in sales last year, according to the “2019 SEMA Market Report.” That reality was reflected last November at the 2019 SEMA Show’s New Products Showcase, where hundreds of new racing and performance-related products were on display.
One of the more pressing issues confronting today’s small-business shops is finding and attracting young talent. The case for winning over Millennials is obvious. As more industry retailers and shops come to rely on advanced technologies and social-media marketing, the need for employees adept in those areas will only grow. Plus, the industry overall is graying, meaning that the demand for new workers to replace retiring employees will also become more urgent with each passing year.
It’s no secret that the retail environment has changed significantly over the past decade. Automotive specialty-equipment retailers in particular are dealing with new pressure points on a number of fronts. But what are the emerging trends that have industry retailers most concerned? And, more importantly, what tools and best practices are they utilizing to adapt? Those questions are at the forefront of a new SEMA market research report.
TIA is a nonprofit organization, and its mission is to promote tire safety through education and training, to act as the tire industry’s principal advocate in legislative affairs, and to represent the industry at public and industry events such as the SEMA Show. TIA offers training and certification courses in automotive, commercial, earthmover and farm tire service, and more than 150,000 technicians have completed TIA coursework to date.
The SEMA Person of the Year award is among the most prestigious of the honors announced each year at the SEMA Show Industry Awards Banquet. Beyond any personal or professional achievements, the award recognizes an individual who embodies service and dedication to the automotive specialty-equipment industry for the benefit of the entire aftermarket. At the recent ceremonies held Thursday night, November 7, at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino, the association named Dan Kahn, founder of Kahn Media, its 2019 SEMA Person of the Year.
Wheels and tires are more than utilitarian objects. The right combination can enhance a vehicle’s performance, increase safety and stability, and even make a fashion statement. All that and more have made them popular aftermarket replacements or upgrades for consumers. Unfortunately, many resellers felt a slowdown in these categories last year. But what caused that slackening in the market? How widespread is it? What might it signal for the future?
A number of new models and concepts were unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show last November, revealing ’20 model-year vehicles and concepts intended to signal the directions automakers are considering for the future. The L.A. Show, the first major show of the new-car season, tends to focus on electric-vehicle (EV) technology and clean-energy vehicles and has added programs intended to be a catalyst for industry progress. Of the 65 vehicles that made their debuts on media days, 25 were from global brands, and more than 1,000 new models were on display on the show floor when the event opened for consumers.
Sometimes people come together for a special cause and create something extraordinary. SEMA Garage, WD-40 and many others in the industry came together in order to create a custom ’66 Ford Bronco that will be auctioned off to benefit Childhelp later in the year. Childhelp is an organization dedicated to closing the cycle of child abuse in the United States by helping victims and those at risk.
The New Products Showcase is routinely the number-one destination for SEMA Show buyers and media, giving participating exhibitors a distinct advantage in getting their products out to the world. The 2019 SEMA Show surpassed 3,000 products across 16 different categories, including street-performance, racing, off-roading, mobile-electronics and exterior and interior products. Three of the 16 categories were won by first-time exhibitors, indicating that the industry is healthy and continuing to grow.