SEMA News—June 2011

Could This Be Your First Electric SUV?

   Tesla/Toyota RAV4 prototypes at the company’s Sustainable Mobility Seminar in La Jolla, California
The RAV4 EV is the product of a collaboration between Toyota and Tesla Motors. This was the first time the companies had allowed media to test drive the car since the project was announced in July 2010.
Toyota recently offered SEMA News an opportunity to drive one of its Tesla/Toyota RAV4 prototypes at the company’s Sustainable Mobility Seminar in La Jolla, California, along with several other advanced-powertrain cars that will be arriving in the next three years.

The Tesla/Toyota RAV4’s lithium-ion battery packs are mounted under the vehicle, providing 37 kilowatt-hours of usable power, enough to create a range of 80–120 miles under normal driving conditions. With the charging system now in place, the battery can be fully recharged in about 28 hours using a 110V household socket or about 12 hours if plugged into a standard 220V outlet. A quicker charging system is among the advances envisioned by Toyota’s product planners. Tesla supplies the charging gear, including specialized plugs, cables and a charge-management system.

Driving the RAV4 EV prototype, we noticed sprightly acceleration, roughly equivalent to the V6 model, and handling was consistent with the standard suspension. According to specs released by Toyota, the electric RAV4 prototype will do 0–60 in 9.3 seconds or less and top out at just over 100 mph. Deceleration can often be accomplished without touching the brakes, as an aggressive recharge system kicks in the moment the throttle is lifted. (The EV RAV4 recharges the batteries on the coast cycle by lifting the throttle, not by pressure on the brake pedal, as with a hybrid.)

It’s unclear what opportunities the arrival of new electric vehicles might create for the specialty-equipment market. Spurred by federal funding, quite a few companies are already working to develop charging stations for both public use and home charging. Among the dozens of companies involved are San Francisco-based ECOtality and SemaConnect; retail giant Best Buy has been reportedly positioning itself as a source of charging equipment for consumers. Other obvious needs for electric vehicle owners would include efficient HVAC systems that do not draw excessive power from the batteries.

Take It to Vegas—SEMA Show 2011

  Exhibitor contract submissions are up 23%, and net square feet requested is up 5%—a strong indicator that the 2011 SEMA Show is a top priority for manufacturers 
Exhibitor contract submissions are up 23%, and net square feet requested is up 5%—a strong indicator that the 2011 SEMA Show is a top priority for manufacturers. Here are a few reasons why companies are investing in the Show:
  • Finding new buyers from among the 50,000+ who attend the SEMA Show.
  • Showcasing new and existing products at the New Products/Featured Products Showcase.
  • Discounted booth packages through Freeman.
  • Exposure to 2,500 domestic and international media.

For more information about exhibiting, SEMA has created exhibitor prospectuses for each market segment in the specialty-equipment industry. Visit and then click on the “Learn About Exhibiting” link to view the exhibitor prospectus for your specific market.

To secure booth space at the 2011 SEMA Show, visit and click on the “Buy a Booth” link, or contact ConvExx Show Management by phone at 702/450-7662, ext. 120 or via e-mail at

Want to attend the 2011 SEMA Show? Attendee and media registration for the 2011 Show is officially open. Get started by going to and clicking on the “Register for the Show” link. Buyers registering online before the early registration deadline pay just $25.

The annual trade-only event takes place Tuesday–Friday, November 1–4, 2011, in Las Vegas.


Save the Date to Celebrate: SEMA Installation Banquet & Gala Fundraiser

  SEMA Installation Banquet & Gala Fundraiser, the SEMA Pinewood Drag Races raises money for the Childhelp and Victory Junction Gang Camp charities. 
  Held in conjunction with the SEMA Installation Banquet & Gala Fundraiser, the SEMA Pinewood Drag Races raises money for the Childhelp and Victory Junction Gang Camp charities.
   SEMA Installation Banquet & Gala Fundraiser, the SEMA Pinewood Drag Races raises money for the Childhelp and Victory Junction Gang Camp charities.
The 2011 SEMA Installation Banquet & Gala Fundraiser will be held on Friday, July 29, at the Renaissance Long Beach Hotel, in Long Beach, California, 6:00 p.m.–10:00 p.m.

The event features the introduction of the incoming Board members and provides attendees and the association with the opportunity to thank outgoing Board members for their contributions and service. The newest SEMA Hall of Fame inductees are also formally introduced during the event.

The week of business sessions and fundraising activities leading up to the SEMA Installation Banquet & Gala Fundraiser include the Pinewood Drag Races on July 29—which raises money for the children’s charities Childhelp and Victory Junction Gang Camp—and the Street Performance Council Business Technology Symposium on Wednesday, July 27, 10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.

For more information on the 2011 SEMA Installation Banquet & Gala Fundraiser, contact Susan Alfonso at 909/978-6687 or

Fast Facts

Isaac Ronquillo has joined the Truxxx lift and leveling kit sales team at Truxxx Manufacturing. He will work closely with Truxxx National Sales Manager Scott Gross to grow business internationally and throughout the United States. Ronquillo is a select committee member of SEMA’s Light-Truck Accessory Alliance (TORA) and volunteer for its Young Executive Network (YEN). Truxxx Manufacturing, Tucson, AZ; 888/660-5892 .

David F. Byers was named chief executive officer of Carstar Auto Body Repair Experts. Byers assumed the chief executive officer role from Dick Cross, who is transitioning to a role on the Carstar board of directors. According to Carstar, Byers brings extensive franchise operations, finance and marketing expertise to the company. Byers will spend the next 60 days working closely with Cross and meeting the members of the Carstar team. Warren D. Feldberg, chairman of Champlain Capital Management, which owns Carstar, will assume the role of non-executive chairman of the board. Byers will report to Feldberg.

Driven Media Communications, parent company of Driven Public Relations, has signed an ownership agreement with the Ontario Convention Center and On the Edge Productions to co-produce the Inland Empire Auto Show. This year’s show is scheduled for August 19–21, 2011, at the Ontario Convention Center in Ontario, California. The Inland Empire Auto Show website will be redeveloped as part of Driven’s new role, and a social media marketing campaign will work to drive more interest in the show. Driven Public Relations, Temecula, CA; 951/719-1040.

Roush Yates Engines announced that it added Gene Jones to its Roush Yates Performance Products division. Jones has more than 14 years of racing experience, and he most recently was the sales manager of CV Products. According to a release, Jones expanded short-track trackside support programs while at CV Products and will bring his extensive parts knowledge to Roush Yates. Roush Yates Engines, Mooresville, NC; 704/799-6216.

Pep Boys celebrated the grand opening of its first 3M Car Care Center in March at its Los Angeles Supercenter. The festivities included a car show featuring a variety of show vehicles and car-care demonstrations from both 3M and Meguiar’s. Visitors were also able to have their picture taken with company mascots Manny, Moe and Jack. The Laker Girls and former Los Angeles Laker Mychal Thompson were on hand to sign autographs and take pictures with fans. According to Pep Boys, additional 3M Car Care Centers will be opening across the country throughout the year. Pep Boys, Philadelphia, PA; 800/PEP-BOYS

Andrew Walker 
Atlas Copco Compressors named Andrew Walker its general manager for U.S. operations. He succeeded Paul Hense, who left for a new position within the Atlas Copco Airpower Division. Walker joined Atlas Copco in 1986 and held various positions in aftermarket and equipment sales and management, both in Ireland and Great Britain, before moving to Belgium. In 2001, he was named aftermarket marketing manager for the industrial air division and was appointed vice president of equipment marketing for the industrial air division in 2005. He returned to his native Ireland in 2007 to take the role of general manager of the customer center there. Atlas Copco Compressors, West Springfield, MA; 866/546-3588.

Amsoil Inc. has launched a new website at According to the company, the new site highlights the company’s partnerships in the top levels of motorsports, including motorcycle, off-road truck and snowmobile racing, and will include team profiles, event schedules and up-to-the-minute results and news. Amsoil Inc., Superior, WI; 715/399-6569.

ASA Tire Systems appointed Darrell Daniels to vice president of sales and marketing. Daniels will oversee the company’s sales team and all marketing activities. Most recently, Daniels spent nearly 10 years at AutoPart International, where he was responsible for a $28 million sales budget for its wholesale division. ASA Tire Systems, Merrimack, NH; 603/889-8700.

Rick Anderson
Holley Performance Products announced that Rick Anderson has joined its team as Midwest technical sales representative. Anderson comes to Holley from Anderson Ford Motorsport with more than two decades of expertise in the performance industry. His experience includes design work with piggyback computers, cold-air intakes, camshafts and digital mass air meters. He is also a technical writer for magazines, such as Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords, 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords, Modified Mustangs & Fords and Race Pages. Holley Performance Products, Bowling Green, KY; 270/782-2900.

Ram Truck and Mopar announced joint sponsorship plans for The Off-Road Championship series in 2011. The sponsorship includes five Pro-class drivers driving Ram trucks during the 14-race series that gets underway Memorial Day weekend at Red Bud MX in Buchanan, Michigan. Ram Truck and Mopar will share sponsorship of the Traxxas Racing team fielded by Mike and Mark Jenkins along with the Menzies Motorsports team owned by Steve Menzies.

Ken Maynard 
Design Engineering Inc. (DEI) named Ken Maynard product manager for SPA Turbo USA. According to the company, Maynard is a seasoned race enthusiast, business owner and repair technician. He was hired in late 2010 to oversee the development and promotion of DEI’s SPA Turbo USA product line. Prior to joining DEI, Maynard worked as director of engineering for MISCO Refractometer in Beachwood, Ohio, and was the former owner of Pressure Treated Technologies in Cleveland. Design Engineering Inc., Avon Lake, Ohio.

Mike Copeland has joined Lingenfelter Performance Engineering (LPE) as operations manager. In his new role, Copeland will lead the Michigan-based operations of LPE and work with the existing leadership team at LPE’s facility in Decatur, Indiana. Copeland previously held numerous positions within GM, the latest as project manager for the GM Performance Division, where his responsibilities included the engineering and building of GM performance and show-related vehicles. Lingenfelter Performance Engineering, Decatur, IN; 260/724-2552.

Distinctive Industries named Dennis Roberts its Eastern North American regional sales manager. A long-time enthusiast and classic-car collector and restorer, Roberts has been involved in the industry for 24 years. Beginning in 1987 as a resource expert for Year One, he assembled a four-man team to travel the Southeast, attending swap meets and scouring salvage yards to satisfy requests from Year One customers. During his tenure, Roberts played a key role in product-line expansion, implementation of corporate processes and procedures and catalog improvements, which contributed to the company’s growth. Distinctive Industries, Commerce, CA; 323/888-6454.

Bert Zech 
Eastern Catalytic appointed Bert Zech as the company’s new CFO. In his new position as CFO, Zech is responsible for all financial activities and the health of the company, including accounting, treasury, risk management and systems integration. Zech was most recently with Conair Corp. as its divisional vice president of finance prior to joining Eastern Catalytic. Before his work at Conair, he was the vice president of finance at Scunci International for more than 10 years. Eastern Catalytic, Langhorne, PA; 215/702-3600.

Corsa Performance was selected as the winner of the 2011 Reader’s Choice Award for best Mustang aftermarket product. Now in its fourth year, the Reader’s Choice Awards honor the best products, features and services across more than a dozen categories, ranging from technology to hobbies to parenting and more, as selected by its readers. Corsa Performance, Berea, OH; 440/891-0999.

Mahle Clevite Inc. expanded the inventory at its customer care center in Bell, California. The California customer care center now stocks more than 9,000 SKUs of filters, gaskets and engine parts for both light-vehicle and heavy-duty applications. The nearly 22,000-sq.-ft. facility is fully staffed and open five days a week from 8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. (PDT). Mahle Clevite Inc., Ann Arbor, MI.

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