By Juan Torres
Thousands of industry professionals logged onto www.sema360.com on November 2, to take part in the first day of SEMA360, a five-day online trade-only event where attendees from throughout the world can interact with automotive parts manufacturers, see new trends and products, network, and hear from leaders and experts in the specialty equipment aftermarket industry.
Following a live Keynote Q&A powered by OPTIMA Batteries and featuring Mike Rowe and Tanner Foust on Monday morning, SEMA360 officially opened for attendees who were looking to connect with the more than 650 manufacturers that are headlining the event, November 2-6.
“Keystone Automotive Operations has a long history with SEMA, going all the way back to the early days, and we are excited to be a part of SEMA360, which goes a long way to helping us stay connected in this evolving space,” said Andrew Morgan, Keystone Automotive operations category director – Truck & Off-Road. “In these challenging times, we have to be flexible and adapt, and we are very thankful SEMA found a way to help bring the industry together.”
Amy Fitzgerald, owner of Cool Hand Customs, also was looking forward to connecting with the industry on SEMA360. “The ability to connect with others in the industry this year is more important than it has ever been,” she said. “With the education seminars and all the virtual opportunities it offers, SEMA360 is an invaluable resource this year for all of us who make not only our careers but our lives in this industry.”
Likewise, manufacturers were excited to nurture existing business relationships and forge new ones during SEMA360. Programs like the New Products Showcase and Builders Showcase provide companies additional opportunities to highlight their parts and services.
“We are featuring several new products that we have just released as well as a preview of what we’ll be introducing the weeks to come. Our goal is educate SEMA360 attendees on how we’re innovating and get our new products into distribution with our channel partners,” said Russell Stephens, PerTronix Performance Brands vice president of sales and marketing. “We are excited to be part of this inaugural virtual experience and see it as a valuable platform to reach people who may not always be able to attend the live event.”
Rob Anderson, Maxxsonics marketing and creative director, added, “Since in-person trade shows aren’t possible this year, SEMA360 provides the community with a perfect solution to take all of the excitement and business opportunities and bring it all to a virtual platform experience. Our goal for this week is to showcase our new product offerings for 2021, be able to network and connect with established and new business contacts, provide an opportunity for roundtable discussions for our audio products, and showcase some awesome custom vehicle builds.”
In addition to connecting with reps from the hundreds of manufacturers that are headlining the event, attendees can view more than 2,200 products in the New Products Showcase, see over 300 custom vehicle builds, and take part in more than 30 industry-specific education sessions throughout the week. Each SEMA360 day is full of exclusive seminars and events, including winner announcements of the SEMA Launch Pad program and the SEMA Battle of the Builders competition.
“Our industry is resilient, and it's making history by coming together to conduct business through the online platform,” said Tom Gattuso, SEMA vice president of events. “We were unable to have an in-person event this year, and the industry was able to pivot and find a way to conduct much-needed business in preparation for a successful 2021. We are looking forward to seeing even more activity in SEMA360 as the week continues.”