SEMA News - October 2009

By Steve Campbell

A Preview of the 2009 SEMA Show


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While SEMA provides the canvas, it is the industry and SEMA members who provide the magic that is the Show.

There are probably as many definitions of a successful SEMA Show as there are automotive professionals who attend—and that’s more than 100,000 definitions. Value, attracting new customers, sales improvements, innovation, networking and educational programs are probably common themes in many characterizations of a successful Show.

The SEMA Show is a reflection of the automotive specialty-equipment industry. Over the years, it has expanded and contracted as the economy boomed and faltered, but one thing hasn’t changed: The SEMA Show has always offered success to the industry through the good times and the bad because of the industry itself. Automotive professionals love what they do, through all their triumphs and tragedies, and they inspire their fellow professionals to thrive and to seek greatness. While SEMA provides the canvas, it is the industry and SEMA members who provide the magic that is the Show.

The association is working harder than ever to ensure a successful SEMA Show no matter how the words are defined. What follows are descriptions of some of the programs that will highlight the SEMA Show this year. See where your definition of success might be found.

Interactive Floorplan

Check out the enhanced online SEMA Show floorplan. Just click on the floorplan starburst on the Show home page and then select which hall you’d like to view. Once you’re on the floorplan page, you can also click on the name of the exhibitor you want to visit, and the website will not only open the appropriate hall but will also show you an expanded view of the exhibitor’s booth location. You can search by exhibitor category, booth number or section, and each exhibitor’s name, booth number and booth size pops up as you scroll your mouse over the floorplan. Click on the booth, and a popup provides details about the exhibitor. These new features will make planning your SEMA Show a whole lot easier!

Buyers and Exhibitors Connect

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Once you’re on the floorplan page, you can also click on the name of the exhibitor you want to visit, and the website will not only open the appropriate hall but will also show you an expanded view of the exhibitor’s booth location.

    
SEMA and AAPEX have developed another useful tool that will help buyers and exhibitors connect. When buyers register for the Show, they are asked to list their product interests. The SEMA/AAPEX matchmaker program then uses the attendee’s preferences to compile a personalized list of appropriate exhibitors, educational and networking events. Each exhibiting manufacturer is also matched to domestic and international buyers and events based on the profile that the exhibitor completed about the company and its products when registering for the Show. Both buyers and exhibitors are notified of their matches via e-mail, including updates as new attendees or exhibitors register. The matchmaker program allows exhibitors and attendees to pre-set appointments for efficient use of their time and to better target their contacts at the Show. Slick! If you’ve registered, look for your first e-mail soon. If you haven’t registered, what are you waiting for?

Featured Automaker-Ford

Ford Motor Company will be the featured automaker of the 2009 SEMA Show and will be partnering with the association on several branding and technology programs. “Ford Motor Company is pleased to be the featured manufacturer for the 2009 SEMA Show,” said John Felice, general manager of Ford and Lincoln Mercury marketing. “The SEMA Show provides us with the opportunity to showcase the flexibility of our vehicles for personalization and accessorization and ultimately drive sales of our new cars, trucks, crossovers, and SUVs.” The automaker is one of the premiere participants with the specialty-equipment industry on technology-sharing programs. Ford has also received several of SEMA’s prestigious design awards for creating accessory-friendly vehicles. Stay tuned for special Ford programs at the Show.

New Show Sections

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Ford Motor Company will be the featured automaker of the 2009 SEMA Show and will be partnering with the association on several branding and technology programs.

When segments of the specialty-equipment business grow, SEMA responds. That’s why there are two new sections at the 2009 SEMA Show—the Powersports & Utility Vehicle section located in the South Hall and the Paint, Body & Equipment section in the North Hall. The Powersports & Utility Vehicle section will feature manufacturers of personal transporters, motorcycles, motor scooters, ATVs, pocket bikes, specialty golf carts, mini-bikes, dirt bikes, and accessories and services that support those vehicles. The Paint, Body & Equipment section will feature manufacturers of vehicle paint, prep stations, paint booths, body work, frame machines, spray guns, safety/filtration/breathing apparatus and related accessories, equipment, systems, coating/refinishing products, services and publications. “The sectionalized SEMA Show floorplan is one of many ways we help buyers connect with the right exhibitors,” said Peter MacGillivray, SEMA’s vice president of events and communications. “It’s also an easy way for buyers to discover cross-marketing opportunities.”

 

Transportation

Las Vegas is a happening town, and the SEMA Show is an up-tempo event. Getting from place to place is vital for SEMA Show attendees and exhibitors alike, but it’s made easy with the myriad transportation options available to and from the Las Vegas Convention Center. There are cabs, complimentary shuttle buses routed specifically to more than 20 hotels, and the city’s monorail system, which offers a convenient stop right at the Convention Center. Here is a list of participating hotels, rental vehicle and airline travel options. Getting there is no longer a challenge. And, to make travel even easier, airline service kiosks in the Central Hall may be used to obtain boarding passes as well as for luggage check-in and transport. This year, airport-style plasma screens will provide information about flight arrivals and departures, and various services are available to customers of US Airlines, Frontier, Delta, Southwest, Ted and United.

Association Center

SEMA is far more than the SEMA Show alone. The association offers insurance programs, freight-savings programs and research programs regarding both domestic and international markets and products. There is also legislative advocacy, career development and training, employee recruitment, industry news, international relations and technology transfer programs that provide CAD and other design data directly from the manufacturers. Members may also take advantage of SEMA’s myriad networking events, other trade shows and much more. Stop by the Association Center in the North Hall at this year’s SEMA Show to discover everything there is to know about membership in the association.

Media Center

Hundreds of journalists—print, broadcast and Internet—cover the SEMA Show each year, and their Las Vegas annex is the Media Center (Room S219, between the Central and South Halls). Credentialed media have unbridled access to the SEMA Show during exhibit hours, and the Media Center provides them with free use of computers, press conferences and other amenities. The center is also the distribution point for exhibitor press releases and press kits. Exhibitors may stock a maximum of 100 copies at a time and are encouraged to restock as needed. To ensure that materials are available throughout the Show, personally deliver your materials before Monday, November 2, and Media Center staff will direct you where to place them. Items shipped directly to the media center will not be stocked or stored.


Internet Access

Wireless Internet access is a true boon for business people at the SEMA Show. Thousands of attendees have taken advantage of this complimentary service since the association began to provide it a couple of years ago. Signal strength and availability has been improved for 2009, so bring along your laptop. Continue to keep in touch with the home office even as you’re making contacts and doing business on the Show floor.

International

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The SEMA Industry Awards Banquet is a special time to gather and pay tribute to those who have made an immense impact and contributed to the industry.

 
For companies that are involved in or are interested in global business and international markets, the SEMA Show’s Center for International Commerce provides a bonanza of information and contacts. SEMA will be hosting its seventh annual International Happy Hour—the industry’s largest global networking opportunity, which brings together buyers and distributors from throughout the world—and the SEMA Global Media Awards will also be presented at this gathering. Tickets are available on a first-come-first-served basis. For questions or additional information on how to best take advantage of international opportunities at the SEMA Show, contact Linda Spencer.

SEMA Awards Banquet

Comedian Bill Engvall will headline one of the most anticipated events during the SEMA Show, the SEMA Industry Awards Banquet to be held Thursday, November 5. The banquet honors the most recent inductees to the SEMA Hall of Fame as well as the winners of industry awards that include the SEMA Person of the Year, WD of the Year and Manufacturers’ Rep of the Year. “The SEMA Industry Awards Banquet is a special time to gather and pay tribute to those who have made an immense impact and contributed to the industry,” said Peter MacGillivray, SEMA vice president of events and communications. Tickets to the SEMA Industry Awards Banquet are available to those registered attendees at the SEMA Show and cost $50 per individual or $500 to reserve a table for 10. Visit the “Special Events Reservation” of the Show website to order tickets.

Feature Vehicles

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The spectacular presentation of customized project and concept vehicles will be on display throughout the Las Vegas Convention Center.

The SEMA Show offers not only displays and in-depth appraisals of the latest automotive specialty-equipment products but also a look at those products installed on some of the finest examples of street rods, musclecars, exotics, compacts, light trucks—virtually every type of vehicle available in the marketplace today. The spectacular presentation of customized project and concept vehicles will be on display throughout the Las Vegas Convention Center, both in exhibitor booths and all around the Show grounds. It doesn’t get any better than that for automotive professionals who are also avid enthusiasts.

Internet Marketing

The first-ever SEMA conference dedicated to online marketing will be held at the 2009 SEMA Show. Companies will learn how to profit and promote themselves through the Internet at this one-day conference on Monday, November 2, 2009—the day before the official opening of the Show. The program is valued at more than $1,500, based on costs for other one-day Internet marketing programs, but qualified professionals in the automotive industry may register for the conference for $199 per person, which includes free admission to the 2009 SEMA Show. “We’ve gathered some of the top Internet marketing experts for this unprecedented conference,” said Nathan Ridnouer, SEMA vice president of membership and councils. “Participants will discover proven strategies and hidden secrets for online marketing success.” And, as further incentive, SEMA is offering a money-back guarantee to those not fully satisfied with what they learn at the conference.

Press Conferences

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There may be no better way to get the word out than through a press conference at the SEMA Show, where the world’s automotive media are clamoring for information and story ideas.

Exhibiting companies with major product news or innovation announcements may request to schedule a media conference at the SEMA Show. Such conferences are scheduled by SEMA staff in advance to avoid conflicts, and all media conference topics must be pre-qualified. Companies are not authorized to hold media conferences outside of the official schedule or off-site during SEMA Show hours. New-Product announcements are considered only if the product is completely new to the industry, not just new to the company, but there may be no better way to get the word out than through a press conference at the SEMA Show, where the world’s automotive media are clamoring for information and story ideas. A conference application is available for download via the Exhibitor Services Manual.

Publications

Want to see what’s currently hot in the marketplace? Want to find out what consumers are really interested in? Check out the dozens of domestic publications produced by companies exhibiting at 2009 SEMA Show. These publications are distributed for free while supplies last outside of the SEMA Show Media Center on the South Hall Skybridge. In addition, international magazines are also distributed for free outside of the Center for International Commerce on the South Hall Skybridge. Get the lowdown for no dough!

Making Green Cool Zone

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The Making Green Cool Zone is dedicated to keeping members informed about the latest vehicle technology opportunities, challenges and solutions associated with high-performance engineering, energy efficiency and demonstrating that horsepower and green power can coexist without sacrificing the cool factor.

Green performance is one of fastest-growing segments in the specialty-equipment and performance aftermarket industry. The new generation of clean diesels, hybrid powertrains, extended-range and pure electric vehicles represent blank canvases for SEMA-member companies. The Making Green Cool Zone located in upper South Hall at the 2009 SEMA Show will once again display the most innovative vehicles, products and people working to accelerate the adoption and commercialization of alternative powertrains, new technologies and continued improvements in the next generation of GDI and turbocharged gasoline engines. SEMA is dedicated to keeping members informed about the latest vehicle technology opportunities, challenges and solutions associated with high-performance engineering, energy efficiency and demonstrating that horsepower and green power can coexist without sacrificing the cool factor.

Mopar Alley

When you need to traverse between the South Hall and the Central Hall in the Las Vegas Convention Center at the SEMA Show, there’s no better way than to navigate through Mopar Alley. This time-saving shortcut treats you to some of the hottest cars, parts and eye candy that SEMA and Mopar have to offer. From musclecars and trucks to the latest Chrysler offerings, Mopar Alley is a treat for enthusiasts of every stripe. But get there early in the week, because Mopar Alley closes at 2:00 p.m. on Friday, November 6.

New Products

The SEMA Show is all about the products, and one of the best ways to find the most innovative among them is the New Products Showcase. Each exhibit case presents new parts, packaging and merchandising to industry buyers and media, providing exhibitors with invaluable exposure both during and after the Show. The first new-product entry is free, and all of the entries will be judged on Monday, November 2, with the best among them receiving recognition at the annual New Product Awards Breakfast to be held Tuesday, November 3, starting at 7:30 a.m. Photographs of every entry are featured in the January issue of SEMA News and at www.SEMAphotos.com. Each buyer at this year’s Show will also be provided with a scanning fob that electronically collects information about only the products selected by the attendee for either printout or to receive as an e-mail after the Show. The New Product Showcase has been relocated to the South Hall for 2009. Don’t miss it!

Motor Trend Proving Ground

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The Motor Trend Proving Ground, this year hosted by the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving, will again be located between the Central and South Halls.

 
With more than 51,000 square feet of asphalt to play on, the Motor Trend Proving Ground, this year hosted by the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving, will again be located between the Central and South Halls. The proving ground allows for limited driving demonstrations and provides a venue for buyers and media to test new products under performance conditions. Exhibitors may also demonstrate their products with hands-on driving experiences, including performance driving on an enclosed track. Take advantage of the opportunity for some hands-on performance evaluations—and some good track time! E-mail Joe Sebergandio for information about remaining demonstration opportunities.


Off-Road Proving Ground

The SEMA Off-Road Proving Ground sponsored by Toyota, once again located in the Silver Lot in front of South Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center, will allow attendees interested in getting down and dirty to evaluate some of the latest off-road machines equipped with the newest SEMA-member off-road performance and appearance accessories. The current list of exhibitors includes Maxxis Tires and Skyjacker Suspension. E-mail Joe Sebergandio for information about remaining demonstration opportunities.

West Coast Customs

Get your chance to paint, stitch and weld with some of the top custom car builders in the business today. Visit the West Coast Customs Experience, located in the Silver Lot in front of the South Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center. Join Ryan Friedlinghaus and the crew of his West Coast Customs automotive shop for fabrication and equipment technology demonstrations. The West Coast Customs Experience will also feature hands-on participation in three to four master classes per day. Each 90-minute class will be small—only eight to 10 people—so early sign-up is critical. About 400 people will have the opportunity to join the classes. To sign up, visit www.wccexperience.com.

Dealer Day

Vehicle dealers will discover recession-busting solutions to dramatically increase sales and profits through vehicle accessorization at the 2009 SEMA Show Dealer Day, Wednesday, November 4. During the program, which runs from 11:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., dealers while be shown how to integrate and speed accessory sales as well as turn used vehicles into new money. They will also learn about warranty, liability and quality issues. Advanced registration is $75 until October 16, and on-site registration is $125. For more information or to register, click here

Interactive Displays

The outdoor displays offer more than your average hot rod. The Big Rig displays located in the Silver Lot at the front of the Las Vegas Convention Center showcase an impressive collection of exhibitor show rigs, race transporters and coaches fitted with the latest equipment and accessories. See products, parts and cushy rides, but also check out the tractor/trailer rigs themselves.

SEMA Store

While brochures, information sheets and product photos are a given at the SEMA Show, don’t forget to stop by one of the SEMA Store locations in the Grand Lobby, the Lower South Hall Lobby, the Central/South Hall Skybridge, the Silver Lot, and at the east end of the Grand Lobby Concourse. The stores are chock full of industry gifts and collectibles. Pick up gifts for friends and business associates back home, including T-shirts, hats, rolling back packs, books and more.

Show Daily

The SEMA Show Daily is the official newspaper of the 2009 SEMA Show and will be distributed at kiosks throughout the Las Vegas Convention Center and at the entrance to each exhibit hall starting on opening day, November 2. The SEMA Show Daily brings you the latest news from the Show floor and is organized by Show section, including Racing & Performance; Mobile Electronics & Technology; Hot Rod Alley; Paint, Body & Equipment; Truck, SUVs & Off-Road; Tires, Wheels & Equipment; Powersports & Utility Vehicles; Restoration Marketplace; Restyling & Car Care Accessories; Tools & Equipment; and Business Services. To get the latest news about the SEMA Show while you’re at the SEMA Show, pick up a copy of the SEMA Show Daily!

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