SEMA News—August 2013

SEMA Garage-Industry Innovations Center: Weapons of Mass Design

By Mike Spagnola


Mike Spagnola, SEMA Vice President of OEM and Product Development Programs.
Mike Spagnola, SEMA Vice President of OEM and Product Development Programs.

One of the greatest tools in the SEMA toolbox for member manufacturers is the new SEMA Garage-Industry Innovations Center. About a year ago, the SEMA Board of Directors met to discuss ways to help the association’s manufacturing members address various product development challenges. The SEMA Garage was born as a result of those discussions, and I was hired to lead this effort.

Located in Diamond Bar, California, adjacent to SEMA headquarters, this 15,000-sq.-ft. facility houses a variety of tools and programs designed to help SEMA manufacturers more efficiently develop and market new products. The facility is comprised of four separate cells, each of which play a critical role in helping members get products to market in a quick and economical manner.

Cell one is a complete emissions-certification lab and chassis dyno, made available to SEMA members via our partnership with the Automobile Club of Southern California. Cell two is a fully loaded garage that includes a lift and a full array of tools capable of just about any mechanical work you can imagine. Cell three is a media center, complete with a photo cove that can accommodate a fullsize car or truck for photography. Cell four is a large training room and welcome center.

The Automobile Club of Southern California has run the approved emissions lab for the past 10 years and has served to help many manufacturers test products for regulatory compliance. This purpose-built lab uses highly technical and sophisticated equipment that measures emissions output to a level consistent with California Air Resources Board (CARB) requirements for Executive Order (EO) certification. SEMA has teamed with the Automobile Club of Southern California to provide SEMA members with a full range of services at special membership rates. Any SEMA member who develops and produces performance items can now have priority access to this facility to develop and test products. SEMA is also providing EO advocacy services to inform and guide SEMA members as they prepare and move through the EO certification process. If you’ve ever been confused or frustrated by the EO process, SEMA now offers an expert to assist you.

Those who have previously attended SEMA measuring sessions will notice a significantly enhanced set of assets for developing new products at the SEMA Garage. The garage area will house a lift, a full set of mechanic’s tools, welders, workbenches and a full array of specialty tools.

  • SEMA members will be able to measure, tear down and work on the newest vehicles coming to the marketplace. Using their own measurements and CAD files, members can use our 3D printer to build test products and install them on the vehicle.
  • The SEMA Garage Media Center, now under construction, will house a complete photo cove, in addition to an individual product photoshoot area, ideal for close-up images of newly developed products. Lighting equipment will also be available.
  • For members who want to train dealers or consumers on the new products, a full classroom facility is available. The classroom can hold about 80 people and is perfect for training, product seminars and media events. Members can do installation training in the garage as well as dyno runs to show off the newly developed products. Video photography can also be accomplished in the garage, cove, classroom or dyno room.
  • Members can also request CAD data via SEMA’s Technology Transfer program, and get stored data on the newest vehicles from our enhanced data bank. (For more information on the Technology Transfer program, contact Gary Pis at 909-978-6732 or

The SEMA Garage is the perfect industry-owned facility for manufacturers who want to take advantage of the newest product development technologies, built to allow members to continue to be first to market with innovative, quality products. Reservations for the studio and cove and a full menu of available test procedures and costs can be obtained by contacting Mike Spagnola at

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