Hot-Rod Innovators Look Ahead to 2010 SEMA Show

  SEMA members have noticed a trend in late-model musclecars from the ’60s–’90s.

As the world’s premier automotive specialty-products trade show, the 2010 SEMA Show, held at the Las Vegas Convention Center from November 2–5, attracts more than 100,000 industry leaders from more than 100 countries and also provides a unique opportunity for buyers and exhibitors to connect.

The Show covers the entire realm of the specialty-equipment industry and is comprised of 12 categories: Global Tire Expo—Powered by TIA; Hot Rod Alley; Mobile Electronics & Technology; Paint, Body & Equipment; Powersports & Utility Vehicles; Racing & Performance; Restoration Marketplace; Restyling & Car Care Accessories; Tools & Equipment; Trucks, SUVs and Off-Road; Wheels & Accessories; and OEM.

Each will be highlighted separately every week in SEMA eNews. This week’s category is Hot Rod Alley. So far, 80 hot-rod companies—13 of which are first-timers—are exhibiting in 258 booths in the Central Hall.

In 1988, exhibitors gathered in what was referred to as "Street Rod Equipment," making this the oldest section of the SEMA Show and a clear sign of how integral the niche is to the industry. The hot-rod market is made up of restoration, street-performance and street-rod and custom niches, and each is segmented into three categories: accessories; performance; and wheels, tires and suspension. According to SEMA research, in 2009, 45% of buyers sold to street performance and 43% sold to restoration.

“Hot Rod Alley is among the few sections of the Show that has been with us from the start and it's the cornerstone of our industry,” said Peter MacGillivray, SEMA vice president of communications and events. “It's not the largest section in terms of numbers, but in value and importance, everything else was built around the hot-rod market. It's not a branch on a tree; it's one of the roots.”

Retail sales for the street-rod and custom niche experienced a 20% increase from 2004–2008, while restoration retail sales have increased 17% during that same period. The top three products purchased among hot-rod enthusiasts were carburetors (43%), intake manifolds (42%) and exhaust headers (42%), while 25% planned to purchase exhaust kits. Sixty-five percent spent more than $1,000 on accessories and performance parts in a 12-month period. And, despite the slumping economy, according to SEMA research, 65% of jobbers and retailers surveyed said business was either flat or up last year.

SEMA members also have noticed a trend in late-model musclecars from the ’60s–’90s. According to Experian, last year there were 802,578 Chrysler, Ford and General Motors vehicles, model years ’67–’72, registered in the United States. They were made up of ’68 and ’69 Camaros and ’67 Mustangs.

Hot rodding is a hobby centered around making drastic improvements to old cars in both aesthetics and performance. Hot rodders may delay their purchases of parts and/or vehicles, but once the economy rebounds, they should return.

Buyers: Click here to register for the 2010 SEMA Show.

Exhibitors: Click here to reserve your space for the 2010 SEMA Show.

Click here to view the online floor plan.