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Examining the Fresh Faces in Congress

From left: SEMA Chairman-Elect Doug Evans, U.S. Rep. Mimi Walters (R-CA), David Algire of The Enthusiast Network, and SEMA President and CEO Chris Kersting.The Future Is Now

What do a car dealer, a former Navy SEAL commander and a financial advisor have in common? They were all recently elected to serve in the U.S. Congress. As a result of the November midterm elections, a lot of new faces have arrived in the nation’s capital. Fifty-eight first-timers were elected to the House of Representatives and 13 to the U.S. Senate. Among them are the future champions of the automotive specialty-equipment industry. While sorting through all of the new names may seem daunting, here are a few to keep an eye on.

SEMA Ignited

SEMA Ignited closed out the week of the 2014 SEMA Show with an afterparty like no other, and a public tribute to the best car builders on the planet. As the Convention Center doors closed and the trade-only Show ended on Friday, hundreds of custom vehicles roared to life, forming the now-traditional SEMA Cruise.

This year’s exit parade had a different destination, however—straight down Paradise Road and on to The LINQ in Las Vegas. With the high-roller observation wheel in the background, the world’s first car show that exclusively featured cars from the SEMA Show opened to the public. Enthusiasts were over-the-moon about the chance to get up close and pose next to cars built by true automotive legends.

Rev Up Your Inventory

Racing and Performance Products From the SEMA Show

For buyers, attending the SEMA Show is all about identifying next year’s hottest products. In the racing and performance section of the Show, exhibitors thrilled attendees submitting more than 800 new products to the annual New Product Showcase. The entries ran the gamut from turbochargers and exhausts to performance tuning and diagnostic tools.

What’s Trending in 2015

Additive manufacturing was front and center at the recent SEMA Show in Las Vegas, with Local Motors “3D printing” its Strati car on the Show floor for the SEMA Cruise.Some Insights From the Annual SEMA Show

What are some of the latest trends hitting the aftermarket in 2015? If you were in Las Vegas this past November for the annual SEMA Show, you likely already have some answers to that question. There’s no better barometer than the Show to preview the hottest products and innovations taking hold of consumers. The following are just a few of the latest trends that SEMA News editors observed not only grabbing attention on the Show floor itself but also in post-Show media wrap-ups afterward.

Global Media Awards

First-time exhibitor Rock Smasher, whose engineering team is shown here with SEMA Vice President of Finance and Administration George Afremow (center, blue shirt), was ecstatic at finding out that the company had won three SEMA Global Media Awards.Winners Announced at the SEMA Show International Happy Hour

Nearly 160 SEMA Show exhibitors were notified on Wednesday morning of the recent 2014 SEMA Show that one or more of their products were Global Media Award winners. Twenty-six international journalists sitting on an elite panel from 15 countries chose the products.

Receiving three Global Media Awards was “probably the biggest highlight out of a week full of highlights for WipeNew,” commented first-time SEMA Show exhibitor Wipe New’s Vice President Nick Naylor.

Innovations in Wheels and Wheel Accessories

Introductions From the New Products Showcase at the 2014 SEMA Show

One of the most common adages in the automotive specialty-equipment industry is that the quickest and easiest way to change the character of an automobile is to change its wheels. As anyone who toured the displays in the lower South Hall at the 2014 SEMA Show can attest, the variety available is stunning. From plated to painted and concave to split-spoked, the displays drew thousands of buyers from every type of reseller, and there were equally impressive new tools to provide mounting, handling and balancing options for installers.

2015 Tire & Wheel Trends

Market Forces and Technology May Change the Shape of the Industry

The wheel and tire market has improved over the past year, according to a widely held consensus among professionals in the automotive specialty-equipment industry. New offerings, technology and an improving economy bode well for sales in 2015, but there are also impediments that may deflate some of the optimism.

The Los Angeles Auto Show

A beautiful exercise in glass and metal, the Infiniti Q80 Inspiration Concept is a stunner from every angle. The concept car features lots of intriguing ideas, including a new hybrid powerplant that pairs a twin-turbo 3.0L V6 engine to an electric motor, making a combined 550 hp. Infiniti spokespeople say that the car is an indication of where they would like to take the brand in the future.The Los Angeles Auto Show has developed a reputation as a “green” show that strongly focuses on alternative fuels and novel forms of propulsion. This may have been the case in prior years, but the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show had more to offer enthusiasts than in recent years, as a burst of “track-ready” performance cars and creative variants on existing platforms came to light. That made it more like the SEMA Show—an optimistic environment in which OEM exhibitors launched fun-to-drive new models and showed off interesting concept cars that may very well enter production. Among them were several vehicles that could be of special relevance to SEMA members.

Positive Developments In China’s Specialty-Equipment Market

Demand Is Strong; Will Laws Be Updated Soon?

Seventeen SEMA-member companies presented their products in a two-city visit to China during the September 2014 SEMA China Business Development tour. The SEMA delegation had the opportunity to exhibit both in Beijing and Shanghai. The group was briefed by the U.S. Embassy and participated in networking events in both cities, where members had the chance to meet with buyers from throughout the country. Buyers attended the SEMA events from 23 provinces located throughout China.

Trends for 2015

A Look to the Future With SEMA Council Leaders

SEMA News annually turns to the leaders of the association’s councils and networks for the January issue to seek their views about how the industry is shaping up for the coming year. The chairs of each group provide responses based on what their organizations and companies are seeing within their marketplaces. Their responses provide helpful insights for businesses in every segment of the marketplace.

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