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Today’s automakers are increasingly collaborating and partnering with the specialty-equipment industry, and they’re turning to the annual SEMA Show to identify new trends and products.

At the 2007 SEMA Show being held October 30–November 2, 2007 in Las Vegas, 14 automakers will be exhibiting with elaborate displays, many of them making major announcements and debuting new vehicles for the first time during the week. Open only to qualified trade professionals, the SEMA Show has become a must-attend event for the world’s automakers. Unlike any other event in the auto show circuit, the SEMA Show is unique because it is truly a trade-only event catering to key decision makers, designers, media and businesses that form a powerful grassroots voice in the automotive industry.

“As the premier automotive accessories trade event in the world, the SEMA Show creates many opportunities for automakers,” said Carl Sheffer, vice president of OEM relations. “The SEMA Show is a vital component of their marketing plan and is an effective way to reach a powerful audience.”

Among those exhibiting at the 2007 SEMA Show is Toyota Motor Sales, Inc. Toyota began exhibiting at the SEMA Show in 1998, although this year marks the first time the automaker will be featured as the Vehicle Manufacturer of the Show.

“It’s great to have Toyota as a first time vehicle manufacturer of the Show. It reinforces the importance and positive working relationship that exists between themselves and the SEMA industry,” Sheffer added.

Joining Toyota Motor Sales Inc. at the SEMA Show are Ford Motor Company, General Motors Corporation, Hyundai Motor America, American Honda, Kia Motors America Inc., Lexus, Mazda North America Operations, Chrysler, Nissan North America, Scion, Subaru of America Inc., Suzuki and Volkswagen. The 14 automakers will have a total of more than 30 nameplates represented at the event. 

In addition to exhibiting, automakers support the SEMA Show through a number of programs. SEMA's Project Vehicle Program is an example of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and exhibiting member companies working together to attract buyers, media and, eventually, consumers. The program begins with OEM brand teams providing stock vehicles to SEMA-member companies. The SEMA members equip the stock vehicles with those accessories that best suit the vehicle's lifestyle, adventure or general-use applications. For participating automakers, the modified vehicles illustrate design versatility and utility while adding flair and performance not available from the stock equipment catalog.

The Technology Transfer program affords SEMA members confidential technical data from OEM partners well in advance of public announcement. Body specifications, project-vehicle access and the free flow of vital new-model data now enables SEMA members to imagine, design and build parts and accessories in-sync with projected new vehicle market launches. Tech Transfer specialists will be at the SEMA Show demonstrating how the process—including confidential CAD-CAM data transfer—allows member-companies to access automaker information and participate in a critical business-to-business dialog with potentially significant customers.

Association members who participate in programs such as the Technology Transfer, Tech Talks and Measuring Sessions are then allowed the opportunity to judge the SEMA Vehicle Design Awards, presented annually at the SEMA Show. Winners join a prestigious list of past recipients and have the opportunity to display winning vehicles in future SEMA Shows and major auto shows, and often see their work featured in automotive publications.

Press conferences and sponsored media events make up a significant part of automaker activity at the SEMA Show, where manufacturers seek access to a global media pool ranging from key industry communicators to the latest lifestyle broadcast programs. The launch of new models and technologies continues throughout Show week and further attests to the growing importance the OEM community lends the Show and the media attention it garners.

OEM executives, engineers and designers consider the SEMA Show critical to their understanding of the overall industry and trends likely to influence the sale of particular vehicle types or specific segment growth.