SEMA News—July 2021


According to the latest “SEMA Industry Indicators” report retail
sales surged nearly 10% during the month of March.

Industry Indicators: Manufacturing Stays Strong While Retail Sales Surge

The overall outlook for the economy is positive. Consumers are spending money now that restrictions are easing, and overall confidence has jumped as consumers are optimistic about the economy, according to the latest “SEMA Industry Indicators” report.

Retail sales surged 9.8% in March. Consumer spending will likely continue in the months ahead, given that stimulus checks were delivered to many households in the back half of March and into April. Auto sales saw a spike in March, hitting levels not seen in more than three years. Retail sales grew 7.7% in the first quarter, the strongest quarterly growth rate since the ’60s.

March 2021 was also a strong month for manufacturing. The industry added 53,000 jobs. However, the motor vehicles and parts sector shed roughly 1,000 jobs, making this the third consecutive month of declines. This is potentially a result of key component shortages for items such as semiconductors, which have caused manufacturers to slow production of some models. But production in the auto parts segment increased during March and, as already noted, sales of new vehicles were extremely strong. Retail inventory levels for both new and used vehicles are tightening.

For more information, download the new April “SEMA Industry Indicators” report today at

The Off-Road Business Association and Tread Lightly! have
launched a new education program aimed at encouraging
responsible UTV use from first-time riders.

ORBA and Tread Lightly! Announce New UTV Education Program

The Off-Road Business Association (ORBA) and its affiliated groups, Tread Lightly! and Mad Media, have teamed to create “UTV Impact,” a community-driven effort to educate and persuade new UTV riders to ride with respect.

The objective of the campaign is aligned with ORBA/One Voice’s mission of protecting access to public and private lands for off-road motorized use. It is coupled with Tread Lightly!’s mission to promote responsible outdoor recreation to minimize the environmental and social impacts of off-road recreation.

With a 500% increase in sales of UTVs (also known as side-by-sides), ORBA CEO Fred Wiley explained, “It is important that ORBA assists in developing a program that will sustain responsible recreation on public and private lands, and UTV Impact is an important component of our work.”

Matt Caldwell, executive director of Tread Lightly!, sees UTV Impact as a vital tool in keeping trails open and accessible.

“The influx of new users to the off-road community has put a great strain on public lands,” he said. “We believe that UTV Impact can be the foundation to help protect our access for the next generations.”

More information is available from Fred Wiley at

SEMA Market Research’s latest report digs into how modern
consumers feel about, work on and engage with fellow
enthusiasts over classic vehicles.

New Research Explores the Market for Classic Cars and Trucks

Classic cars and trucks have been a key part of the automotive specialty-equipment market since it began. For many people who own older vehicles, fixing them up or modifying them into something new is a passion project that can span decades. With an estimated 9.4 million or more pre-’90 vehicles on the road, there are plenty of vehicles being restored, hot-rodded or restomodded by people who intend to keep working on their babies for years to come.

In the new “Classic Cars, Modern Markets” report, SEMA Market Research digs into how modern consumers feel about, work on and engage with fellow enthusiasts about classic vehicles. Businesses can download the report today to help understand this unique customer base and how to reach them.

Additional insights from the report include:

  • 50% of the new generation of owners (under age 45) first got interested in classic vehicles through a friend or relative.
  • 67% of classic vehicle owners have more modern vehicles in addition to their classics.
  • 80% of classic owners are comfortable doing at least some of the work on their vehicles on their own.

Want to learn more about the current state of the classic vehicle market? Download the new “Classic Cars, Modern Markets” report today at

The Reverse Trade Mission allows attendees to meet with global
distributors and resellers.

Grants Available for Companies to Participate in First-Ever Reverse Trade Mission

Meet key global trade buyers of automotive specialty-equipment products here in the United States. Since buyers will travel to multiple states for the Reverse Trade Mission (RTM), attendees will choose the most convenient location from the list of stops below.

The RTM enables attendees to meet one-on-one with global distributors and resellers and participate in networking receptions and special events with top international buyers. The day-and-a half program (per location) will create opportunities for visiting international resellers and for U.S.-based suppliers to establish or enhance relationships and hopefully lead to increased business. Space is limited.

Locations (select one):

  • California: July 19–20
  • Michigan: July 22–23
  • North Carolina: July 26–27

The registration fee is $300, which includes all meals. A special promotion package of $2,700 is available, which includes a half-page ad in the “SEMA Buyer’s Guide,” to be distributed at the RTM, in SEMA News and in the Center for International Commerce at the 2021 SEMA Show.

A $1,200 grant is available from the U.S. federal government for qualified companies with an additional $1,650 from the State of California for qualified California-based companies. Grants are also available for companies based in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, and Texas. Contact Kristin Atwan at for more information.

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