Market Snapshot

Despite Economy, Specialty-Equipment Businesses Still Innovating

Despite the natural tendency to cut back on R&D during an economic crisis, exhibitors at the 2008 SEMA Show demonstrated forward thinking and vision beyond the current climate.

Exhibitors entered 1,700 products in the 2008 SEMA Show New Products Showcase. About 26% of those were placed in the Best New Engineered category, highlighting innovation from every corner of the market. Not only did Best New Engineered products comprise the bulk of new-product entries, they also proved the most popular with the buyers and attendees who came to see them.

Best New Engineered products were the most scanned products in the Showcase, using a barcode scanning technology that was a SEMA Show first in 2008. More than 6,000 scans were recorded for Best New Engineered products, double the number for the next most traveled category, Best New Exterior Products.

Who was doing all that scanning? More than 9,400 were retailers, followed by warehouse distributors (3,900), repair/service/installers (3,900) and builders/fabricators (3,500). Other categories with a strong showing of new products included Best New Performance-Street; Best New Exterior Accessory; Best New Performance-Racing; and Best New Off-Road/4WD.

Best New Engineered Products that drew the most interest included:

1: Autonet Mobile
Router that turns any car into a Wi-Fi hotspot, allowing multiple passengers to connect Wi-Fi-enabled electronics to the Internet simultaneously.

2: Switchable license plate film
Transparent/privacy film technology that instantly conceals any license plate when triggered from a remote key fob.

3: Bully Dog GT (Gauge Tuner)
All-in-one performance downloader/tuner for gas and diesel applications.

4: Professional Products Powerjection III
Compact, full-featured EFI system with self-learning that eliminates laptop tuning.

5: PlasmaGlow Illuminators LED Modules
10-foot strip includes 10 Illuminators and can be cut to length.

6: Undercover Swing Case
Lockable and weather-tight ABS side toolbox that swings out over the tailgate for accessibility and removal when needed.

7: Drew Technologies DashDAQ
Full-color touchscreen dash utilizes an OBD-II port to access vehicle data, and combines gauges, performance meter, diagnostics, datalogging and navigation.

8: Design Engineering Inc. Titanium Turbo Heat Shield
Titanium heat wrap sized for T3 turbo applications reduces underhood temps. 

9: Pypes Performance Exhaust Electric Cutouts
Three-inch kit includes two billet cutouts, wiring harness, switch and mounting hardware.

10: SCT Touchscreen Xtreme
Bluetooth wireless flash tuning device for Ford, GM and Chrysler gas- or diesel-powered cars and trucks.

More than 2,000 products were entered in the 2008 SEMA Show New Products Showcase. See them all here.