Steve Campbell

Tire and Wheel Trends Update

Dozens of wheel and tire companies exhibited at the 2013 SEMA Show, displaying everything from fullsize trucks to power-sports products. Combinations mounted on 20-in. and larger rims were common throughout. Courtesy of Vossen Wheels Keeping an Eye on the Evolving Marketplace

Dozens of companies displayed tire, wheel and related products at the 2013 SEMA Show, providing concrete proof that the tire and wheel segments are among the most prolific within the automotive specialty-equipment industry. As always, however, evolution is constant, so SEMA News once again canvassed wheel and tire professionals for their insights into design, construction, marketing and sales trends as we enter the new year.

2013 SEMA Show New Product Awards

16 Categories Yield 48 Honors From Among More Than 2,000 Entries

More than 2,000 parts, tools, assemblies and packages were submitted for judging at the New Products Showcase during the 2013 SEMA Show. The displays encompassed items from every segment of the industry, and all were reviewed by a panel of expert judges who ranked them for superiority of innovation, technical achievement, quality and workmanship, consumer appeal and marketability. The judges then awarded honors to products in 16 categories, including two runners-up in each division. Congratulations are due to all those who conceive and create the innovations that drive the industry.

The Hottest Vehicles of the SEMA Show

The Hottest Vehicles of the SEMA Show

The SEMA Award honors are presented in the categories of Hottest Car, Sport Compact, Truck, and 4x4-SUV.During the 2013 SEMA Show, the SEMA Award for Hottest 4x4-SUV went to the Jeep Wrangler. This well-deserved honor was the result of the Wrangler's dominant presence throughout the Show. Here now are some examples of builders turning stock Wranglers into rolling, rugged masterpieces. Take time to scroll through each entry and notice that in every writeup, there are direct links to manufacturers with 2013-2014 Jeep Wrangler accessories.

“The SEMA Show has always been the annual event where the newest and most innovative products are seen first,” said Chris J. Kersting, SEMA president and CEO. “The SEMA Award celebrates the industry’s unique ability to identify and set the trends that influence consumers worldwide. It also underscores the cooperative relationship between the automakers and SEMA-member companies.”

Retailer Spotlight

In the Family Way With Chuck’s Truck Accessories and Line-a-Bed Sales

Many of the most famous names in the history of the automotive specialty-equipment industry started as family endeavors. Chuck’s Truck Accessories and Line-A-Bed Sales exemplifies that type of familial heritage. In fact, one of the joys of doing business for owner Chuck Vaughn comes from the fact that his wife, father, son and several cousins work at the retail and installation store.

Rapid Change Calls for Immediate Attention

Current studies suggest that up to 90% of shopping now begins with an Internet search, and mobile is overhauling other search devices. No wonder the Online Marketing seminars at the SEMA Show are among the most popular.Current studies suggest that up to 90% of shopping now begins with an Internet search, whether the product is ultimately purchased online or through a brick-and-mortar retail store. And mobile is overhauling other search devices, with tablets alone projected to account for 65% of all sales made on mobile devices. That’s a rapid change from only a short time ago.

“It’s like dog years, where one year is actually seven years worth of change,” said Bob Moore, partner in the automotive aftermarket consulting company J&B Service in Kansas City, Missouri. “For example, I was looking at a presentation we did in 2010...

Trends for 2014

SEMA Council LeadersA Look to the Future With SEMA Council Leaders

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

Product Packaging

It’s All Wrapped Up in Protection, Branding, Economics and the Environment

A package for an automotive product serves multiple purposes, the most important of which is protection. Whether a package contains highly durable grade-8 fasteners or a fragile electronic tuning device, its main mission is to get the product to the end user in pristine condition. But a package can also serve sales functions, provide branding and inform consumers about an entire product line.

“Our products can be expensive,” said Joe Dussol, marketing director for Powerteq, which is the parent company of Superchips and Edge Products. “Depending on the product, some people might spend $600–$1,000, and we want the customer to feel like he’s holding something worth that kind of money when he picks up our package. That’s why our packaging might be a little bit more costly than doing a cardboard box with some print on it, but we really want it to stand out.”

Good Times in Las Vegas

The Richard Petty Driving Experience at the Las Vegas Speedway allows participants to take command of the wheel and experience the thrill of driving a NASCAR race car.  Taking Advantage of the Recreational Possibilities

While most attendees and exhibitors at the 2013 SEMA Show will spend the majority of their time either touring the displays or participating in the many educational and networking opportunities available, there’s plenty to do in the entertainment mecca of Las Vegas. It is one of the great recreational destinations in the world, offering all types of show-business entertainment as well as cultural, historical and outdoor activities.

Check out the official Las Vegas tourism site to find out about the myriad shows, activities, restaurants and more.

Vehicles of the 2013 SEMA Show

2013 Lamborghini The Car Show for the Pros

Professionals from all facets of the automotive specialty-equipment industry will gather once again at the Las Vegas Convention Center on November 5–8 to see the latest product innovations, attend in-depth educational seminars and make business connections. They’ll also be witness to one of the most spectacular custom auto shows in the world.

Many of the products that will be introduced by the exhibiting companies—more than 2,000 of them this year—will be showcased on the vehicles for which they are intended. Over the past few years, SEMA News has previewed dozens of these automotive artworks, and we’re doing it again for 2013. The feature vehicles shown in this listing will appear in exhibitor booths and in display areas throughout the Las Vegas Convention Center and the adjacent outdoor grounds. Be sure to check them out in person, and enjoy the Show!

Selecting a Public Relations Agency

Matching Companies With Marketing

Until fairly recently, advertising and PR were two distinctly different functions in the marketing of automotive specialty-equipment products. As with so many other aspects of modern commerce, the Internet has created some blurring of the lines. Getting products in front of potential customers is the lifeblood of marketing. Whether through straightforward advertising placed in pertinent outlets or through creative ventures handled by public relations (PR) agencies, getting the word out is key.

We included an article on best practices for selecting an ad agency in our February 2013 issue (“Finding the Right Advertising Agency,” p. 60), and this month, we’re taking a look at selecting a PR firm.

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