For attendees of the 2017 SEMA Show, preparation is already well underway. It’s now time for buyers to begin acquainting themselves with the online floorplan (www.SEMAShow.com/floorplan) and researching exhibitors. The best place to start is with the following listing of first-time exhibitors—more than 230 companies that are potential leads for new products and business opportunities.
“A good market with lots of potential” is how participants on the 2017 SEMA Australia trip summed up the Australian market in a post-trip survey. A full 100% of the participants completing the survey reported developing promising business leads that are expected to result in sales.
The SEMA Hall of Fame was established in 1969 to honor the contributions of leaders in the automotive aftermarket industry whose creativity, diligence, generosity and industriousness have significantly contributed to the industry’s growth. The award is the automotive aftermarket’s highest honor, and the Hall celebrates the legacies of a pantheon of automotive legends from the racing, manufacturing and media sectors.
While chatbots—computer programs that conduct conversations via audio or text—have captured the imaginations of businesses hungry to automate conversations on the web, it will still be a while before any “digital friend” inside your computer can truly mimic human conversation. Even so, businesses which ignore chatbots do so at their peril, given that there is a great deal of money betting chatbots will emerge, sooner or later, as conversational charmers.
More than 25% of all buyers expected at the 2017 SEMA Show will come from more than 132 nations outside the United States. Show exhibitors should create an action plan to attract and service international buyers visiting their booths.
New tools for new jobs—and better tools for the same old jobs—were on display at the 2016 SEMA Show in the Tools and Equipment section. That area, which covered more than 63,800 net sq. ft. of the North Hall, also included shop equipment, uniforms and a variety of specialized supplies. Notable products from the New Products Showcase awards were a trailer storage system, a handheld fire extinguisher and a ratcheting flare nut wrench—all fresh takes on tools that have been around for a long time.
’18 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1: Chevrolet engineers are polishing the final details of what is set to become the swan song of the C7 Corvette generation.
’18 Jeep Wrangler: The new Wrangler will resemble the outgoing one, but various aerodynamic tweaks will make it less upright.
’19 Chevrolet Camaro: The Camaro will get a mid-cycle lift next year. Based on the camouflage on this prototype, the standard models will get some comprehensive changes from the A-pillar forward and at the rear.
’19 Ford Mustang GT500: Building on the GT350 and GT350R, the Ford Mustang GT500 is expected to be the next step in the hyper-musclecar stakes.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) was the venue for the sixth annual SEMA Middle East Business Development Program in March. The 2017 event brought together pre-vetted trade buyers from 11 nations to meet with a delegation of 40 U.S. SEMA-member companies. The delegation included those returning for an additional SEMA Middle East program, such as aFe Power, Borla Performance Industries, COMP Cams and Injen Technology, as well as more than 23 manufacturers traveling to the Middle East with SEMA for the first time.
While many businesses are guilty of chasing the latest digital marketing craze, good old email marketing is still the killer app to beat when it comes to return on investment (ROI) for businesses. Indeed, a 2016 study released by marketing consulting firm Clutch found that email marketing still has the highest ROI of any marketing channel (https://clutch.co/marketing/email#survey).
With many businesses in the automotive specialty-equipment market experiencing consolidation and some of the biggest names in the automotive sphere at the center of the activity, mergers and acquisitions have become important topics of discussion. As the market began to recover from the Great Recession, consolidation became a growing trend. Since then, private equity (PE) firms have continued to actively invest in aftermarket companies.