The message is clear: Automotive customization is thriving, and American-based businesses are at the forefront of product technology and innovation for the industry. As highlighted in the recent “SEMA Annual Market Study,” the automotive specialty-equipment market now represents $33 billion in annual sales—a 7% increase over the previous year.
This month’s “Required Reading” highlights several SEMA-member companies that have achieved success and are examples of the leading innovation that exists in the industry. These companies typify many SEMA-member companies, manufacturing products created by people with a passion for the industry and the desire to create superior products.
A leading American business publication, Forbes magazine recently highlighted WeatherTech, a Chicago-based manufacturer of car floor mats. The company has marketed its products as not only the best in the industry, but also solely and completely made in America. The article noted that the guiding principle for David MacNeil, CEO of WeatherTech, is the importance of U.S. manufacturing using U.S. materials and U.S. workers.
Next we turn our attention to American Luxury Coach, based in Florence, South Carolina. SCNow.com noted that this company—which has been the number-one GM upfitter for the past several years—unveiled a very special truck in a Sherwin-Williams matte-black finish at this year’s SEMA Show. Company CEO Joe Jebarily presides over a family-run truck and sport-utility customizing business with premium products made to factory specifications.
Adam Genei of Brighton, Michigan, is at his heart an entrepreneur. As mentioned in a feature from the Idaho Statesman newspaper, Genei enthused that he gets to come to work every day and do what he loves. The story further indicated that Genei recently began manufacturing steel wheels, which have become popular due to the economy. However, he wanted to make sure that he was manufacturing in the United States, so he began investigating ways to manufacture the steel itself so that he could accomplish just that.
Des Moines Business Record
A local Des Moines, Iowa, business publication, The Des Moines Business Record, recently ran a feature on 2014 SEMA Hall of Fame inductee Nile Cornelison. Cornelison founded his company, Direct Communications Inc., in 1982 as an electronic cataloger for the performance parts market. Cornelison was the first to see the need for a dealer-locator service, completely changing how the industry conducts business and facilitates parts ordering. The article further noted that Cornelison helped create jobs in the Des Moines area.