The 2015 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) provided a look at the latest vehicle creations auto manufacturers are developing or introducing during the year. For the specialty-equipment industry’s manufacturers, industry influencers and opinion leaders, seeing the car and truck introductions provides an idea of what OEM product strategists think will attract consumers in dealer’s showrooms.Here is a snapshot of the cars and trucks on display at this year’s NAIAS that members will want to keep an eye on for potential upgrade opportunities. We can foresee a number of recent introductions showing up at cruise nights, track days, road courses, dragstrips and off-road venues in the near future.
Warm up your TV and mark your calendar for 8:00 p.m. EDT on Sunday, March 8. That’s the date and time set for the premiere airing of the one-hour SEMA Battle of the Builders program on the Velocity Network—an in-depth TV event promising to focus new consumer attention on the creativity, products and vehicle builds of the annual SEMA Show. “We’re extremely excited about the upcoming debut airing of our very first SEMA Battle of the Builders competition,” said Chris Kersting, SEMA president and CEO. “A lot of thought and hard work went into both the competition and the television production.
Charities and Student Builders Benefit From an Exciting SEMA Garage ProjectThe ’15 Omix-ADA Jeep Wrangler JK Sport featured at this past November’s SEMA Show has sold for $85,000 to benefit SEMA Cares charities. The sale came on the Barrett-Jackson auction block on Wednesday, January 16, in Scottsdale, Arizona. Known as the Rugged Ridge/SEMA Cares Jeep, the upfitted, dirt-ready vehicle was originally procured with funds from a 2013 Omix-ADA donation and contained a total of $30,000 in aftermarket parts and accessories from other donor companies, including Falken Tire, Super Chips, Rugged Ridge and Kicker. It was also clad in custom paint by Theresa Contreras from LGE-CTS Motorsports. Perhaps most notably, however, it was customized through a collaboration with the Alex Xydias Center (AXC) for Automotive Arts, in which a team of AXC students modified the standard four-door JK at the new SEMA Garage facility in Diamond Bar, California. All of the proceeds from the Jeep’s auction will go to benefit Childhelp America and Victory Junction.
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.
Some Insights From the Annual SEMA ShowWhat 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.
Introductions From the New Products Showcase at the 2014 SEMA ShowOne 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.
YEN Launch Pad Helps Propel Young EntrepreneursFew automotive specialty-equipment veterans doubt that the industry’s future rests in identifying potential young entrepreneurs and igniting in them the sort of passion and bold innovation that will create a fresh new generation of market leaders. The question is: how? Launching new ideas today is daunting even for large companies with plenty of resources, let alone for young, small-business-minded men and women.
A Wave of New Tire Products Hits the 2014 SEMA ShowHeld in conjunction with the recent 2014 SEMA Show, the annual Global Tire Expo (GTE)—Powered by the Tire Industry Association (TIA)—continued its reputation as a world-class “show within a show,” highlighting the tire niche’s tremendous significance within the automotive specialty-equipment marketplace.
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.
The Hottest Vehicles of the 2014 SEMA ShowSEMA annually recognizes four vehicle models that specialty-equipment manufacturers believe are the best platforms for accessorization and that showcase the year’s coolest products. The awards are presented on the first day of the SEMA Show based on the total number of vehicles chosen for display in exhibitor booths at the annual event. Each booth vehicle represents a vote by the exhibitor. The SEMA Award honors are presented in the categories of Hottest Car, Hottest Sport Compact, Hottest Truck and Hottest SUV.