SEMA News - November 2009

By Annie Kang

Navigating Through the Year’s Most Anticipated Specialty-Equipment Trade Show


It’s that time when bags are being packed and itineraries planned for the specialty-equipment industry’s hottest trade show—the 2009 SEMA Show. With all the anticipation and care that goes into attending the Show, don’t miss out on any of the action being offered this year, including 1,500 customized vehicles on display and nearly 2,000 new products. We’ve put together a guide to just some of the splendor that will transform the halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center from November 3–6. Come witness for yourself what the industry’s been up to, and prepare to have a lot of fun along the way.

New Products Showcase and Award Breakfast
One of the staple features of the SEMA Show, the New Products Showcase highlights the industry’s most recent innovations in performance, function and style. The Showcase featured nearly 2,000 newly introduced parts, tools and components at the 2008 Show.

Come visit the Showcase at its larger and more prominent location. The Showcase is newly positioned in the upper South Hall in front of the Trucks, SUV & Off-Road and Powersports & Utility Vehicles sections.


The 2009 New Products Showcase is newly positioned in the upper South Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center, nearly double the size of its previous location. This year, the showcase opens earlier, on Tuesday, November 3 at 8:00 a.m., prior to Show hours.

As in the previous year, SEMA is providing buyers with scanners that read the bar code associated with each product. As a buyer, you will also receive a customized printout of the products you swipe as well as a post-Show e-mail containing additional product information. Exclusive to this year, the showcase is 25% larger, covering 25,000 sq. ft. In addition, the product display cases have been redesigned to improve scanning reliability. The New Products Showcase opens on Tuesday, November 3 at 8:00 a.m., prior to Show hours and will open at 8:00 a.m. each day thereafter.

Immediately preceding the opening of the New Products Showcase, the New Product Awards Breakfast announces the best new products of the Show for the first time.

Dr. Peter H. Diamandis, chairman and CEO of the X Prize Foundation, will speak at the breakfast. Widely recognized as a leader in fostering innovation through competition, the X Prize Foundation began a revolution in private space flight with the $10 million Ansari X Prize. The breakfast is set for Tuesday, November 3, 7:30 a.m.–8:45 a.m., at the Las Vegas Hilton, Ballroom A–F. Tickets are free, but space is limited. Click here to order tickets.

Paint, Body & Equipment and Powersports & Utility Vehicles Sections

The Powersports & Utility Vehicles section is a new feature for the 2009 Show. Designated for scooters, ATVs, motorcycles, pocket bikes, mini-bikes, golf carts, two- and three-wheel personal vehicles, accessories and services, the section is sure to attract a new segment of qualified buyers.

The Show will also feature a new Paint, Body & Equipment section. Located in the North Hall, this section will highlight manufacturers of vehicle paint, prep stations, paint booths, bodywork, frame machines, spray guns and safety/filtration/breathing apparatus. It will also include related accessories, equipment, systems, coating/refinishing products, services and publications.

More than 3,700 buyers were registered at the 2008 SEMA Show as paint/body repair/reconditioning/restoration buyers. Another 3,600-plus with related interests were registered as body and collision parts buyers.

“Locating the new section between the Tools & Equipment and Restyling & Car Care Accessories sections in the North Hall makes perfect sense, with all of the related products from the three sections providing savvy buyers with additional sales and profit opportunities,” said Peter MacGillivray, SEMA vice president of communications and events.

Education Days

There are more than 60 education sessions to provide attendees with exclusive insights and educational tools to survive the current tough economy and to thrive when it recovers. The education sessions are being held in the North Hall meeting rooms at the Las Vegas Convention Center from November 2–5, and registration is free for all Show attendees. Seminars are being offered in the following tracks: Vehicle Technology Briefing SuperSessions, Business Efficiency 101, Customer Service and Sales Solutions, Industry Trends and Forecasts, Legal and Public Policy, Marketing, Online Marketing, Small Biz Management and Tires at Two with TIA. To view the complete seminar schedule, visit

Online Marketing Conference

Attendees who registered for the first-ever SEMA conference dedicated to online marketing will learn how to profit and promote themselves through the Internet on Monday, November 2—the day before the official opening of the Show. The program runs from 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. On-site registration is $249 for SEMA members and $349 for non-members. Other one-day Internet marketing programs that offer similar content but not the same level of speakers charge more than $1,500.

“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.”

SEMA is offering a money-back guarantee to those not fully satisfied with what they learn at the conference. Here is more information on the online marketing conference.

Dealer Day

New- and used-vehicle dealers will discover recession-busting solutions to dramatically increase sales and profits through vehicle accessorization at the 2009 SEMA Show on Dealer Day, Wednesday, November 4.

During the program, which runs from 11:00 a.m.–5:30 p.m., dealers will be shown how to integrate accessory sales into their businesses as well as turn used vehicles into new money. Dealers will also learn about warranty, liability and quality issues. On-site registration is $125. More Dealer Day information can be found here.

West Coast Customs

 Join the West Coast Customs Experience, located in the Silver Lot in front of the South Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center, where Ryan Friedlinghaus and the crew of his West Coast Customs automotive shop will give fabrication and equipment technology demonstrations. To sign up, visit
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. About 400 people will have the opportunity to join the classes. Sign up for the West Coast Customs Experience.

Keynote Breakfast

This year’s keynote address, titled “The Role of the Internet in Shaping Parts and Accessories Sales in 2009 and Beyond,” will be led by Rob Chesney, vice president of eBay Motors. Join Chesney as he leads a panel of industry experts to explore the future state of the industry, as influenced by the Internet. The panel includes Jad Dunning, CEO of DriverSide; Michelle Morris, director of North America automotive sales for Google; Bryan Murphy, CEO of WHI Solutions, Inc.; Famous Rhodes, director of parts and accessories for eBay Motors; Glenn Rogers, CEO of CarDomain; and Steve Sigg, e-business manager for ACDelco.

Chesney will draw from his personal experience in leading the world’s largest automotive website and its vehicles and parts business for the past eight years. The keynote is free to attend and will be held Monday, November 2, the day before the official opening of the Show. It will run from 8:00 a.m.–9:00 a.m at the Las Vegas Hilton, Ballroom C.

SEMA Show Luncheon and Keynote Address

 Ford Motor Company’s Ken Czubay will headline the 2009 SEMA Show keynote luncheon on Monday, November 2, 12:00 p.m.­–1:30 p.m., at the Las Vegas Hilton, Ballroom A–B.
Ford Motor Company’s Ken Czubay will headline the SEMA Show keynote luncheon on Monday, November 2, 12:00 p.m.–1:30 p.m., at the Las Vegas Hilton, Ballrooms A–B.

The annual lunch takes place the day before the official opening of the SEMA Show and has been a coveted feature of the trade event since 1979. Czubay, Ford’s vice president of U.S. marketing, sales and service, will elaborate on how the automaker’s commitment to creating vehicles that are easy to personalize has played a key role in driving vehicle sales.  Ford is the featured automaker of the 2009 SEMA Show. The company has always been a strong supporter of the Show and has long recognized the benefits of vehicle customization.

Tickets are $25 per individual or $250 to reserve a table for 10. Visit our “Special Events Reservation” to order tickets.

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 on 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 communications and events.

Comedian Bill Engvall will headline one of the most anticipated events during the SEMA Show—the SEMA Industry Awards Banquet, to be held on Thursday, November 5. 
Tickets to the SEMA Industry Awards Banquet are available to registered attendees at the SEMA Show and cost $50 per individual or $500 to reserve a table for 10. Visit our “Special Events Reservation” link to order tickets.

Featured Vehicles

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 LVCC, both in exhibitor booths and around the Show grounds. It doesn’t get any better than that for automotive professionals who are also avid enthusiasts.

Motor Trend Proving Ground

 Motor Trend Proving Ground—This year’s Motor Trend Proving Ground, located between the Central and South Halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center, will be hosted by the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving. The proving ground provides more than 51,000 sq. ft. of asphalt to test new products under performance conditions.
With more than 51,000 sq. ft. 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 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. Check the schedule to take advantage of the opportunity for some hands-on performance evaluations—and some good track time!

Off-Road Proving Ground

The SEMA Off-Road Proving Ground, sponsored by Toyota, is once again located in the Silver Lot in front of the LVCC South Hall. It 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 on display includes BAK Industries and Super Winch.

Making Green Cool Zone

Green performance is one of the 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 will showcase the new generation of clean diesels, hybrid powertrains, extended-range and pure electric vehicles.

The Making Green Cool Zone, located in the upper South Hall, 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 LVCC, 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 Mopar has to offer. From musclecars and trucks to the latest Chrysler offerings, Mopar Alley is a treat for enthusiasts of every stripe. Be sure to check it out early in the week because Mopar Alley closes at 2:00 p.m. on Friday, November 6.

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 the 2009 SEMA Show. These publications are distributed free while supplies last outside of the SEMA Show Media Center on the South Hall Skybridge. In addition, international magazines are also distributed free outside of the Center for International Commerce on the South Hall Skybridge. Get the lowdown for no dough!

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 computer-aided design (CAD) and other 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 to discover everything there is to know about membership in the association.

Center for International Commerce

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. 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, e-mail Linda Spencer.

“Car Crazy TV”

For the sixth consecutive year, Meguiar’s president Barry Meguiar will interview the biggest names in the automotive industry during the 2009 SEMA Show. “Car Crazy TV” will broadcast live to more than 100,000 attendees on screens throughout the Show halls and into more than 70,000 hotel rooms, 24 hours a day, throughout the SEMA Show.

Enthusiasts Research

Responding to requests from SEMA members for market research information, the 2009 SEMA Show will include a strong new benefit program for exhibitors and attendees alike. SEMA will draw a select group of automotive enthusiasts to participate in a market research and feedback session, both prior to and during the Show. The research results will be an exclusive benefit to SEMA members who attend the Show.he program will include top opinion leaders and consist of car collectors, club members, bloggers and enthusiasts who are active in automotive forums and social media. By taking part in the program, participants will disclose valuable insights and offer unique perspectives on their SEMA Show experiences. The program will provide feedback on new products, show vehicles and industry trends. Additionally, Show participants will benefit from increased viral messaging about Show activity through various online channels.

Recognizing the importance of the business-to-business structure of the Show, the market research program has been tailored to provide strong value while avoiding interference with the interactions of the Show participants. The research program, which will in part be coordinated with vehicle manufacturer of the Show, Ford Motor Company, will involve small but meaningful samples of automotive enthusiast opinion leaders. The program participants will total less than 1% of Show attendees. Email for more information on the SEMA Show Enthusiast Research Program.

NHRA Breakfast

Six of NHRA’s greatest legends will be featured at the 2009 SEMA Show as the NHRA highlights the “50th Anniversary of the Winternationals” during its annual NHRA Breakfast on Wednesday, November 4, 7:30 a.m.–9:00 a.m., in the Las Vegas Hilton, Ballrooms A–B.

The legendary drivers who will be featured during the NHRA Breakfast include “Big Daddy” Don Garlits, voted the No. 1 drag racer of all time in 2001; three-time Top Fuel world champ Shirley Muldowney; four-time Funny Car world champ Don “The Snake” Prudhomme; Pro Stock dominator Bob Glidden; Pro Stock pioneer Bill “Grumpy” Jenkins; and 14-time Funny Car world champion John Force. Bob Frey, the voice of NHRA, will emcee the NHRA Breakfast.

Following the breakfast, NHRA will conduct a special one-hour autograph session with the legendary drivers in the Grand Lobby that will include a vehicle display of cars that have special ties to the Winternationals, the much-heralded traditional NHRA season-opening event that takes place at the famed Auto Club Raceway at Pomona in Southern California every February. The NHRA and SEMA will provide a limited supply of special 50th Anniversary Kragen O’Reilly NHRA Winternationals posters for those who attend the autograph session.

Tickets are free for all SEMA Show attendees. Visit the “Special Events Reservation” to order tickets.

SEMA Networking Breakfast—Powered by SBN

The annual SEMA Speed Networking Breakfast—Powered by the SEMA Businesswomen’s Network (SBN) will be held on Thursday, November 5, 7:15 a.m.–9:00 a.m., in Ballroom A at the Las Vegas Hilton. This event allows both male and female industry professionals to walk away with a huge variety of industry contacts, including potential new clients, vendors, mentors, outstanding industry leaders and new employee prospects.

The breakfast starts with a brief awards program to recognize an industry professional with the SBN Woman of the Year Award and an aftermarket company or person promoting the professional growth of women in the specialty-equipment industry with the Athena Award. This year, the SBN will introduce a new award—Mentor of the Year.

Tickets are $15 and available online before the Show and at the SEMA Association Center located in the Grand Lobby of the LVCC during the Show. Visit the “Special Events Reservation” to order tickets.  

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