SEMA News—October 2011

Confidence Stays Firm for the 2011 SEMA Show

     The Opinion Leaders Program continues to grow each year and exceeds our expectations
The Opinion Leaders Program will include more than 800 enthusiasts providing first-hand feedback about the vehicles, products and trends at the 2011 SEMA Show.
After two successful years, the Opinion Leaders Program will once again expand at the 2011 SEMA Show. Through the research project, some of the nation’s most active and influential automotive enthusiasts are called upon to help industry professionals identify future trends by attending the Show and providing first-hand feedback on the products and vehicles that debut.

The 2010 program included 459 enthusiasts—who were selected through a comprehensive application process—to attend the second day of the SEMA Show. This year, the program is expected to attract more than 800 enthusiast participants. In addition to completing a pre-Show survey, participants are tasked with using social media to share their feedback on product, vehicle and trend highlights from the Show.

“The Opinion Leaders Program continues to grow each year and exceeds our expectations,” said Thomas Myroniak, SEMA vice president of marketing and member services. “Not only do we get an exceptional group of participants, but also we are able to provide exhibitors and attendees immediate and in-depth feedback based on these influencers’ preferences, attitudes and outlook toward our industry and its products.”

In addition, on-site focus groups are conducted to provide deeper insight into enthusiasts’ perspectives and attitudes about the specialty-equipment industry. This input, combined with the social-media feedback and pre-Show survey results, is captured in a comprehensive market research report and provided to exhibitors prior to being released to the industry-at-large.

For additional information, contact Megan McKernan at

     As of the beginning of September, SEMA Show management announced that there are more than 2,000 confirmed exhibitors, which is up 14% over this time last year
As of the beginning of September, more than 2,000 confirmed exhibitors are preparing for the 2011 SEMA Show, a level of participation that the Show has not seen since 2008.

Influential Enthusiasts to Help Companies Spot Future Trends, Boost Online Reputation

The auto-parts industry shows no signs of letting up on the throttle in spite of turbulence on Wall Street, at least not yet. While the economy as a whole has been volatile, positive data continues for the SEMA Show, which is seeing growth in exhibitors, and attendance continues to power ahead.

As of the beginning of September, SEMA Show management announced that there are more than 2,000 confirmed exhibitors, which is up 14% over this time last year, with new exhibitors signing up everyday. In fact, the Show has not achieved that level of exhibitor participation since 2008.

In addition to the positive trend among exhibitors, buyer registration is up 42% and media registration is up a whopping 75%.

Another indicator of the Show’s vitality, housing nights sold, is tracking at a rate 97% higher than last year. That statistic indicates that more attendees will be coming and that they plan to stay longer.

To learn more about the Show’s value, view the floorplan or check an index of exhibiting companies, visit the new SEMA Show website at


2011 Automotive Accessory Market Study Available Free to SEMA Members

      SEMA Market Research is offering Foresight’s 2011 Automotive Accessory Market Study
The 2011 Automotive Accessory Market Study, available as a free download to SEMA members, provides a detailed look at the accessory interest and buying habits of new-vehicle owners.
Through a partnership with Foresight Marketing Research, SEMA Market Research is offering Foresight’s 2011 Automotive Accessory Market Study to members as a free download. This new report offers insights into the accessory interest and buying habits of new-vehicle owners and answers the following questions:
  • Which are the most popular accessories?
  • On which vehicle segments do people install accessories?
  • How do accessories affect dealer selection and sell new vehicles?
  • How do buyers of new vehicles purchase accessories (at the time of the vehicle purchase, or later)?
  • Who is best at price, installation, quality, etc. (new-car dealer, aftermarket store, Internet companies, etc.)?
  • How much money do accessory buyers spend?

If you make or sell accessories for new vehicles, you’ll want to check this report to see which segments are buying and what they are looking for.

To access this report and other studies available through SEMA, visit For more information, contact Gavin Knapp at

Engine Auction to Benefit SEMA Scholarship Fund

     dyno-tested 302 Ford engine—based on a Dart block and cylinder heads—up for auction on eBay concurrent with the upcoming SEMA Show
The 2011 Automotive Accessory Market Study, available as a free download to SEMA members, provides a detailed look at the accessory interest and buying habits of new-vehicle owners.
With the participation of SEMA-member performance parts manufacturers and legendary engine builder Ed Pink, the SEMA Scholarship Committee will have a complete dyno-tested 302 Ford engine—based on a Dart block and cylinder heads—up for auction on eBay concurrent with the upcoming SEMA Show. Proceeds will benefit the SEMA Memorial Scholarship Fund (SMSF). Simultaneously, a customized Dodge Charger and Avenger will also be auctioned to benefit the SMSF.

The engine is targeted to produce in excess of 400 hp, but will be designed for long-term street durability. It is applicable to many niche markets, including street rods, Cobra kit cars, custom classic trucks, Mustang restomods and other street-performance applications.

In announcing the promotion, SEMA Scholarship Committee member and Project Coordinator Bill Holland said, “While ‘The Old Master’ is probably best known for his exploits with fuel-burning SOHC Ford and Chrysler Hemi engines, Ed Pink Racing Engines (EPRE) has expanded beyond its drag-racing roots and has built many highly successful engines for IndyCar, Midget, Sprint Car and Endurance Road Racing applications. Ed, EPRE General Manager Frank Honsowetz and owner Tom Malloy have a cadre of highly qualified, experienced technicians who will assist in the building and testing of this engine at the company’s facility in Van
Nuys, California.”

For updates on the project and more information about the SMSF, visit

Legendary engine builder Ed Pink and technicians from Ed Pink Racing Engines will build a 302 Ford engine that will be auctioned on eBay to benefit the SEMA Memorial Scholarship Fund.

Fast Facts

SCCA Pro Racing’s Topeka office hired Scott Clatterbuck as business manager and Staci Langham as series administrator. Clatterbuck is responsible for the business side of SCCA Pro Racing, including the budgets for each of the road-racing series managed or sanctioned by the organization. Langham will provide customer service to teams, drivers and series officials, answering questions about licensing procedures, event registration and other needs. Prior to coming to SCCA Pro Racing, Langham served as office manager for the National Association of Trailer Manufacturers.
Shurhold Industries Inc. added Pro-Motion Distributing to its network of distributors for Shurhold’s automotive chemicals and hand-held tools. Pro-Motion Distributing is located in the City of Industry, California, and services a global market of more than 4,000 independently owned and operated automotive retailers. The company owns and operates offices in both California and Tennessee, which allows it to ship product both faster and at lower freight costs. Shurhold Industries, Palm City, FL; 772/287-1313.

Source Interlink Media announced that Tire Rack is the official tire and wheel supplier to both Motor Trend and Automobile magazines. As part of the arrangement, Tire Rack will be the official “go-to” company on tires and wheels for the two brands, providing tire industry expertise and product support as well as access to Tire Rack’s test facility. Tire Rack will also assist each of the brands during testing for their annual “of the Year” awards, including Motor Trend’s Car, Truck and Sport/Utility of the Year and Automobile magazine’s All-Stars and Automobile of the Year. Most recently, Tire Rack provided technical assistance for a major performance test that will appear in the November issue of Motor Trend. Source Interlink Media stated that the partnership with Tire Rack will not affect the unbiased reviews for which the magazines are known. Source Interlink Media, El Segundo, CA; 310/531-9900. The Tire Rack Wholesale, South Bend, IN; 800/445-0179.

Kelley Blue Book (KBB) hired Michele Everett as the new advertising sales manager for its website. According to the company, Everett was hired to support KBB’s new advertising initiative, which helps aftermarket companies directly connect with the 40% of’s visitors who consider themselves do-it-yourselfers. Everett will represent to sell automotive aftermarket industry opportunities, build agency relationships and create both national and regional advertising programs on behalf of the company.

Mitchell 1 announced that Frank Adkins of Greenwood, Delaware, was named the 2011 Educator of the Year during the North American Council of Automotive Teachers Conference held recently at Red River College in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Mitchell 1 recognizes one of the nation’s top teachers for excellence in automotive repair instruction each year. Adkins was presented with a check for $500 and a recognition certificate. He will also receive a one-year, complimentary subscription to Mitchell 1’s popular for the school where he teaches. Mitchell 1, Poway, CA; 858/391-5000.

California/Nevada/Arizona Automotive Wholesalers Association will install new officers during its annual meeting in Las Vegas, October 30. The following individuals will serve as officers for the 2012 year: chairman of the board, Steve Sharp, WORLDPAC; vice chairman of the board, Ed Jimenez, Riebe’s Auto Parts; treasurer, Ron Cannon, Charleston Auto Parts; secretary, Ron Aparicio, Walker Products; and immediate past chairman of the board, Mary Davis, NGK Spark Plugs (U.S.A.) Inc. NGK Spark Plugs (U.S.A.) Inc., Wixom, MI; 248/926-6900.

MGP Caliper Covers continues added distribution through Atech Motorsports, Motorstate Distribution and Grand West Enterprises. MGP Caliper Covers, officially licensed by Ford Motor Co. and General Motors, has applications for more than 500 vehicles, with additional applications being added each week. MGP Caliper Covers, Chula Vista, CA; 877/995-0003; Atech Motorsports, Tallmadge, OH; 800/517-1040.

ESAB announced that Mary R. Dittman, MBA, is the company’s new representative for public relations and publicity. Dittman is a marketing strategy professional with 20 years of experience in marketing, public relations and promotional strategies. She is a member of the faculty of the School of Business at Francis Marion University, where she was awarded the Excellence in Teaching Award. The company requests that editorial consideration and media inquiries be directed to Mary R. Dittman. ESAB Welding & Cutting Products, Florence, SC; 800/ESAB-123.

Ohio Technical College (OTC) students have teamed up with American Suzuki Motor Corp. to customize a ’10 Suzuki Grand Vitara with a nautical-inspired theme, providing a tie-in between Suzuki’s automotive and marine divisions. The custom SUV will debut in the OTC booth #38149 at the 2011 SEMA Show, November 1–4, 2011, at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas. Stylin’ Trucks and ARB provided the accessories. OTC students will cut the top off the Grand Vitara and secure two Suzuki outboard boat motors on the back of the vehicle along with other fabricated modifications to make it resemble a boat. Ohio Technical College, Cleveland, OH; 800/322-7000. American Suzuki, Brea, CA; 714/996-7040.

R&R Marketing Consultants Inc. in South San Francisco, California, announced that Gunnar Smith and Josh Forster were promoted to specialty account representatives. According to the company, Smith and Forster both started with R&R as service representatives and have grown in their abilities and proven their commitment to excellence. The company also stated that it believes that developing the skill set of its staff and creating internal promotion opportunities are key components to its long-term success. R&R Marketing Consultants Inc., San Francisco, CA; 650/588-3404.

Carquest Auto Parts and KYB Shocks & Struts announced that Randy McCoy of Randy’s Tire in Lugoff, South Carolina, was the grand prize winner of a custom ’72 Chevelle SS454 in the Restore Your Ride Sweepstakes. McCoy was presented the keys to his new vehicle by NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Mark Martin at a presentation in July at the Carquest Auto Parts store in Lugoff. The sweepstakes was exclusively for professional customers of Carquest Auto Parts. Carquest Corp., Raleigh, NC; 919/573-2500. 
Motovicity Distribution announced that it was selected as a U.S. Master distributor for HKS products. Motovicity reports that the company has stepped up to maintain distribution channels in the United States for the HKS product line after years of working closely with HKS. Motovicity will stock all HKS products for easy access through its extensive dealer network. Motovicity Distribution, Madison Heights, MI; 248/307-1570.

The winners of the Bridgestone Americas Safety Scholars Contest were Amber Cullen of Akron, Ohio, who took home the $10,000 grand prize for her video “The Phone Bandit”; Robert Mai of Newport Beach, California, who came in second place; and Matthew Robertson of Everett, Washington, who earned third place. Mai and Robertson each received $5,000. The three winning videos beat almost 1,500 other entries from 16- to 21-year-olds across the United States and Canada (excluding Quebec) to become one of the 10 finalists. They then secured the most votes from the public to win the grand prize. Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations, Nashville, TN; 615/937-1000.

Alpine Electronics of America Inc. announced that it is working with MITO Corp. to supply select source units for RV manufacturers. Under the partnership, MITO Corp. will be a distributor for select Alpine CD receivers and audio/video/navigation systems for the RV industry in the United States. The Alpine products will be offered as standard equipment (or optional equipment, depending on the model) in the RV brands that are served by MITO Corp. Alpine, Torrance, CA. MITO Corp., Rancho Santa Margarita, CA; 574/295-2441.

Christopher J. Della Bella was named vice president of sales and marketing for Pro-Tech Automotive Products LLC. With nearly 30 years’ experience in all areas of auto aftermarket parts distribution, including sales management and marketing and product development, Della Bella joins Pro-Tech from Bridge/Napa Auto Parts, where he was wholesale operations manager.

Katie Whiting was named product manager of aerosols for Valspar. According to the company, she will help expand brand recognition for Plastikote automotive aerosols and the Valspar brand. Prior to joining Valspar, Whiting was the senior marketing manager at Juice Tyme, where she created and implemented yearly strategic marketing plans and executed all corporate marketing initiatives, including local marketing efforts for all regional markets.
Piston Driven Manufacturing launched GhosTracks USA Pit Apparel, a new line of shirts that combine the roots of drag-racing’s history with modern designs. The apparel features logos and images of legendary drag-racing tracks that are rooted in the history of the sport. The complete line of styles, sizes and colors is available on the website. The site also features unique content that provides insight into the history of the various race tracks featured on the apparel.

On July 2, the TDI-Panamerican Endurance Challenge took a ’11 Volkswagen Touareg TDI Clean Diesel SUV on the Pan American Highway—the longest highway in the world—for a non-stop, world-record-setting adventure. As a proud sponsor, 3M Automotive featured two products on the Touareg: paint protection film and wheel weights. The Toureg traveled nearly 16,000 miles in under 12 days—spanning 14 countries from Argentina to Alaska—beating the world record by three days. 3M Automotive, St. Paul, MN; 888/3M HELPS.

CarDomain announced that it has enhanced its website with the addition of Brand Pages, which enables aftermarket manufacturers to link social networking content originating from company accounts on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. According to CarDomain, Brand Pages are similar to Facebook Fan Pages and encourage ongoing dialog about all things automotive. The company reports that businesses can also include tabs for new product releases and updates in addition to linking to social networking content. CarDomain, Los Angeles, CA.

The Carroll Shelby Foundation announced that Shelby enthusiast William Munn of Maritez, California, won a coveted ’11 GT350 as part of the 2011 Win-A-Shelby Raffle. The raffle was held during the 2nd Annual Barrett-Jackson Orange County Auction at the OC Fair & Events Center in Costa Mesa, California. For a ticket price of $25, or $100 for five tickets, participants placed their name in the drawing to win the Shelby car. Proceeds from the raffle benefited the Carroll Shelby Foundation, which was established by automotive icon Carroll Shelby to provide financial support for children battling life-threatening illnesses and to promote continuing education.

RK Motors Charlotte opened a new, state-of-the-art classic car service facility located at the company’s 76,000-sq.-ft. campus in Charlotte, North Carolina. The company reported that the facility services all of its showroom vehicles as well as collector cars for customers in the Charlotte area and around the country and that the shop can handle everything from routine maintenance of vintage collectibles to the custom build of exotics. RK Motors Charlotte, Charlotte, NC; 704/596-5211.

Mid America Motorworks Inc. hired Michael Furman as its call center director. Prior to joining Mid America Motorworks, Furman was the director of call center operations at Rosetta Stone. According to Mid America Motorworks, Furman has an extensive background in the call center environment, bringing knowledge of managing, training, developing and motivating call center teams to the company. Mid America Motorworks, Effingham, IL; 800/500-1500.

McCullough Public Relations Inc. was selected as the public relations firm of record for Strattec Security Systems, a manufacturer of automotive locks and keys headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. McCullough will be responsible for all public relations activities for Strattec and its brand of Bolt locks, including press release writing, feature story coordination, media relations, product placement, on-site trade show representation and organizing company media events. McCullough Public Relations Inc., Uniontown, OH; 330/244-9980.

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