Law and Order is an update of some of the most recent federal and state legislative and regulatory issues that could potentially impact the automotive specialty-equipment industry. These include issues affecting small-business owners and their employees.

Stu Hilborn

Hilborn was among those who raced on Southern California’s dry lakes in the years prior to World War II. Ironically for a man whose name is now synonymous with fuel injection, Hilborn had little mechanical knowledge when he bought his first hot rod in the ’30s. But he had a neighbor who did—Indy 500 veteran Eddie Miller. Miller helped Hilborn build a flathead-powered Model A that could hit 120 mph on the lakes, and Hilborn proved to be a quick study, in all senses of the word, and he soon wanted to go faster. To do so, he bought a narrow streamliner that had been raced by Bill Warth.

Blowin’ and Goin’—SEMA Data Co-op Powering Industry Sales

The SEMA Data Co-op (SDC) is now completing its first year in full-operations mode, and we thought you might like to see that your industry-owned data management resource is now well–established and helping companies increase sales every day. As a reminder—the SDC is operating a centralized product data service for manufacturers that organizes, houses and then distributes online product catalog information to WDs and retailers to help power all manner of business systems, ultimately driving sales growth.

What does the Data Co-op progress report card look like? Consider these results from the first year of operations.

China’s Growing Love Affair With Jeeps

A number of Jeep clubs have sprung up throughout China with their members enjoying off-roading trips lasting up to two or even three weeks and venturing as far away as Mongolia and Nepal, among other destinations. By Alysha Webb

China continues to be a very important market for Chrysler’s Jeep line. Last year it became the brand’s largest global market. Imported models have driven that growth, but Chrysler has been talking for years about producing Jeeps in China. It looks as though that will become a reality next year. Adding domestically produced models to the mix should boost both sales of Jeeps and opportunities for SEMA members.

A Look At The Racing and Performance Powertrain Market

A Ford 408 engine by Blueprint Engines. Just one of the broad varieties of crate engines available from the engine builder.By Mike Imlay

Racers, street performance enthusiasts, four wheelers, restorers and boat owners all need engines, which means that, at some point, they tap into the performance niche occupied by engine builders and, more often than not, the specialty shops that install replacement engines. It’s a segment composed of small businesses, not-so-small businesses and by OEM crate-engine distributors—all offering powertrain solutions.

In fact, use of ready-made drop-in crate engines with known horsepower and torque specifications has become a driving force in the marketplace in recent years. In particular, the GM LS series has become...

Tougher Policies: Intellectual Property Protection at the SEMA Show

Chris Kersting, SEMA President and CEO Do you see increasing examples of trademark rip-offs and illegal knock-off products showing up in online marketing and catalogs? SEMA is hearing more often from members experiencing intellectual property (IP) infringement problems. Protecting IP is something that many industries have struggled with for some time, and our industry is clearly no exception.

For a number of years now, SEMA has maintained policies and procedures to prevent the display of products, trademarks and trade dress that violate the IP rights of other SEMA exhibitors. Our goal has always been to ensure proper protection of the IP of industry members.

SEMA UTV Accessorization Survey

Preview of a New Report on the Side-by-Side Accessory Marketplace

As with virtually every type of vehicle, regardless of its genesis, sport UTVs and competitions sprang up shortly after their introduction to the market. They are now commonplace at events such as the King of the Hammers in Johnson Valley, California.Spurred by the growth in the number of utility task vehicles (UTVs) over the last decade, SEMA recently released a new report examining the size, types of accessories and accessory purchasing processes involved in this burgeoning powersports segment.

UTVs, also known as side-by-sides, evolved as an offshoot of the all-terrain vehicle (ATV) market. The earliest models were spawned by the need for greater cargo capacity for those who used three- and four-wheel cycles for work tasks on farms, job sites, golf courses and other areas where off-road performance was required but a fullsize pickup was unnecessary or too cumbersome.

Japan Custom-Car Market Overview

Though Japan slipped from the number-three car consumer worldwide in 2011 to number five in 2012, love for automobiles remains very strong among the Japanese. Like Americans, the Japanese are holding on to their cars longer, which makes for a very interesting opportunity for the custom market. People have a desire to give their cars a facelift after a few years when they hold on to them, and that results in more sales for those engaged in the custom-car market. From swapping out wheels to updating headlights to modernizing the entertainment system, the aftermarket business in Japan is booming, and consumers continue to look for new products to enhance their driving experiences.

SEMA Helps Save Johnson Valley Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation Area

Intense Advocacy Effort Results in Decisive Victory for Recreation Enthusiasts

Randy and Michael Slawson celebrate their team’s victory at the 2013 King of the Hammers event.For more than six years, a battle brewed over the future of the Johnson Valley Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Recreation Area in the Southern California desert. The issue was simple: how to expand the adjoining Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center at Twentynine Palms while preserving recreation access to 189,000 acres at Johnson Valley. The Marines needed the additional land to simulate movements of brigade-level expeditionary forces (about 15,000 troops), and the Johnson Valley topography seemed ideal for training purposes. The debate reached a critical point in 2013, and a decision required Congressional approval. As a result of a consistent grassroots effort from SEMA and many partner organizations, a legislative solution was reached to create a dedicated OHV recreation area and provide land for military training exercises.

Racing Into the Black

Find Profit With Performance Parts From the 2013 SEMA Show

For buyers that specialize in high-performance accessories, the 2013 SEMA Show was “the place” to discover new trends, and potential profit centers. Hundreds of exhibitors dedicated to power and performance were on hand, offering the latest in turbochargers, superchargers, exhausts, headers and much, much more. Racing and Performance exhibitors also submitted a wide variety of products into the Show’s annual New Products Showcase. Page through this special section and enjoy identifying the products that belong either on your store’s shelves or in your personal garage. Also, take time to review journalist Steve Campbell’s interviews with industry executives, offering their thoughts about the trends they perceive and some words of advice about what might lie ahead.


Subscribe to Featured