Market Snapshot

2008 SEMA Show Vehicle Wrap-Up

  2008 SEMA Show Vehicle Wrap Up
Ford is the most common nameplate represented at the SEMA Show, followed closely by Chevrolet-branded vehicles.

About 1,630 customized, personalized or otherwise modified vehicles made their way into display areas during the 2008 SEMA Show. With just six months remaining until the 2009 Show and project-vehicle deadlines looming, exhibitors are making decisions about the platforms they plan to use to highlight their new products and services. Understanding where the market settled last Show could help gauge the direction of the next event.

The majority of SEMA Show vehicle space is divided into two general categories: booth vehicles and feature vehicles. The former are the easiest to understand and are located within the confines of exhibitor booth space. Most of these vehicles are contained in the convention center halls, but a few are found in the larger spaces of the outdoor parking lots.

On the other hand, feature vehicles are co-sponsored by exhibitors and are located outside of their primary booth space. These vehicles are peppered throughout the remaining expanses of the convention center grounds—between halls, in lobbies and throughout outside lots.

Some of these are periodically moved for presentations, press conferences or logistical circumstances. The entire process is organic, and the final layout may present a different scene than the one on opening day.

In 2008, domestic brands had the largest share of vehicles at the SEMA Show, with Ford, Chevrolet and Dodge being the most represented. Japanese brands are the next in line, followed by European nameplates.

While much of this is to be expected however, what the chart does not show is the significant presence of unique or exotic vehicles. Many are one-offs, complete customs, high-end supercars or derivatives based on production vehicles. Some customs do not neatly fall under a normalized category, and the percentage of unique builds highlights the nature of industry.

Similarly, the city car Fortwo model became a highly-publicized accent during the Show for being a groundbreaking new addition to the world of customization and a departure from traditional muscle.

2008 SEMA Show Vehicle Wrap Up Top 20   Model ranges and specific trim vehicles are compared here. The Ford F-Series was the most common platform at the 2008 SEMA Show.
Ford Mustang at 2008 SEMA Show   Ford Mustangs are extremely popular. Both standard trim and upgraded GT models were found throughout the 2009 Show halls.
Toyota Tundra at the 2008 SEMA Show   The Toyota Tundra had a larger presence at the 2008 event than at the 2007 Show as exhibitors embraced the redesign from the previous year.

This side-by-side list displays the top 20 most numerous models at the Show based on their generic classification and their trim-specific classification. For example, the overall leading model is the Ford F-Series which includes the F-150, F-250, F-350 and all other sub-models in the range. Since the F-Series has a lengthy history and a broad scope of models, it has an advantage over competing vehicles that use a narrow naming convention. The more specific trim levels are listed as well.

Another example, the Ford Mustang and Mustang GT, are similar vehicles but are separated into distinct models.

Vehicle sales and OEM concerns for cash may have put a damper on new vehicle launches, but some new models and updates will make their way to the Show floor. Some vehicles, such as the Dodge Challenger and Nissan GT-R, were new for the 2008 Show, but have now been on the market long enough for sufficient product development.

Which vehicles will be the hottest tickets for 2009? We will all know in November. — SEMA Research & Information Center