Tech on Display at the SEMA Show
Five Questions With SEMA Vice President of Events Tom Gattuso
By Mike Imlay
During the summer, America’s Big Three automakers—Ford, GM and Stellantis—announced their shared goal to achieve U.S. electric vehicle sales volumes of 40% to 50% by 2030. Although industry analysts don’t predict the disappearance of the internal-combustion engine anytime soon, the announcement was yet another indicator that the vehicle landscape is undergoing historic changes.
Add in advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS), the race toward vehicle autonomy, greater vehicle connectivity, and 21st-century product development, manufacturing and repair techniques, and clearly this is not the aftermarket of the ’50s and ’60s. Understanding and staying ahead of emerging tech is more crucial than ever, and there’s no better place to begin future-proofing your business than at the annual SEMA Show.
In fact, the latest vehicle trends will be on full display at this year’s Show, to be held November 2–5. To learn more about how businesses can access all the Show has to offer in that arena, SEMA News sat down for a rapid-fire, five-question interview with SEMA Vice President of Events Tom Gattuso. What follows has been edited for clarity.
SEMA News: Why is the SEMA Show the ideal place to spot emerging technologies and trends?
Tom Gattuso: As a trade association, SEMA is in the unique position of being involved in all aspects of the aftermarket and performance industries. Once a year, we put an event together that mirrors what’s happening across the industry. At the SEMA Show, you’ll see a reflection of what builders are currently doing, what OEM vehicle makers are currently doing, what the collision-repair industry is doing, not to mention our industry’s many other sectors. Included in that are the many education opportunities in new-vehicle and tool technologies.
All of those segments come together at the Show to offer attendees deep insights into where technology is headed in the industry, how they can participate in the latest trends, and how they can make those trends work for their businesses moving forward.
SN: Will the 2021 Show include any special features focusing specifically on emerging technologies?
TG: We have a constant eye on emerging trends and are always looking at ways to incorporate them into the things we do. We’ll have some designated features dealing with vehicle electrification at this year’s Show, and we’ll also be more focused on ADAS than ever before. You’ll see that manifested not only through displays on the Show floor but also through our exhibitors and education sessions as well as a lot of the content that comes out of the Show.
If you look at how some of the technologies such as electrification are evolving right now, they’re mainly driven by original-equipment manufacturers, with our industry adapting or developing product accordingly. There aren’t a lot of electric-vehicle platforms in the current market, but we’ll see more over the next several years. We’re also seeing builders equipping vehicles with electric motors, and we’ll have examples of that at the Show. It’s a growing trend, and we’re focused on introducing the industry to the possibilities ahead.
SN: You mentioned ADAS, which is a hot-button trend for the aftermarket. What can Show attendees look forward to in that regard?
TG: From an education standpoint, the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) and the Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair (I-CAR) will have some programming built around ADAS. Manufacturers in both the collision industry and the specialty aftermarket are also developing ADAS-related products that you’ll see on the Show floor—and especially in the New Products Showcase. While ADAS technologies are still too new for their own dedicated Show section, they do represent a growing segment that will be highly visible throughout our event.
SN: Let’s say I’m an attendee who’s particularly interested in emerging technologies. Do you have any tips to help me zero in on brands and products reflecting the latest trends?
TG: I would start with our SEMA Show website (www.SEMAShow.com) and look through the exhibitors in your specific market segment. You can also check in regularly with the Show’s online Media Center (www.SEMAShow.com/press) to find press releases for new tech products and any feature vehicles showcasing them. That will give you an idea of the companies you’ll want to visit at the Show and provide a good head start.
When you’re at the Show, I would recommend spending some time at the New Products Showcase, which will have an expanded footprint for 2021. That will create a pathway that can lead you to the exhibitors who are featuring the technology that suits your business.
SN: Those are all helpful tips. Do you have any parting comments you’d like to add on this topic?
TG: Taking in the view from 10,000 ft., the 2021 SEMA Show will mark two full years since the industry last gathered. That means we can anticipate seeing more technological advancements at this coming event than we’ve ever seen in the past. We recommend that attendees really take the time to do some pre-Show research. Once at the Show, they’ll especially want to invest time in walking the Show floor.
So much has been happening over the last two years that you’re sure to find something new around every turn.
Tech-Related Education at the 2021 SEMA Show
In addition to leading-edge exhibitors, features and displays, this year’s SEMA Show will offer a variety of seminars addressing emerging technologies and the future of the specialty-equipment industry. The following are some noteworthy opportunities presented through SEMA Education, I-CAR and the SCRS. While session listings were current as of press time, visit www.SEMAShow.com/education for education-track details, up-to-date information and registration.
SEMA Education Offerings
Future-Proofing Classic and Collector Cars
- Tuesday, November 2, 3:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m. (PDT)
This session will provide a look inside the conversion of classic and collector cars to electric power. Will the electromod become as common as the restomod and provide a new way to keep classics on the road in a petroleum-free world? This panel will feature some of the top pioneers of this growing segment.
Why the New UV Is EV
- Wednesday, November 3, 2:00 p.m.–3:00 p.m. (PDT)
For a while, hybrids and electric vehicles were found mostly in the sedan and small-wagon segments. Now, trucks and SUVs are what buyers want, but do they want them in EV form? We’ll discuss how EVs are infiltrating the off-road and AWD segments and creating new opportunities for the aftermarket.
Future Trends: What’s Next for the Automotive and Specialty-Equipment
- Wednesday, November 3, 3:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m. (PDT)
Where is the aftermarket headed? How is tech changing our market? What’s the next big thing for our industry to watch? Join us as we discuss how key automotive and tech trends (electrification, ADAS and the shift to light truck) and consumer trends (online shopping and changing tastes) are combining to affect the specialty-equipment market.
EV and the Accessorization Game, Powered by the Professional Restylers
- Thursday, November 4, 9:00 a.m.–10:00 a.m. (PDT)
This session is an in-depth look at the future of modifying and accessorizing vehicles that are electric powered. The introduction of EVs that are attractive to enthusiast buyers will no doubt spur demand for aftermarket manufacturers to offer accessories and upgrades to help buyers personalize their purchases. The expert panel will discuss the challenges and best practices of developing aftermarket parts and packages for these new electric-powered cars and trucks.
Industry Insiders Dish on the Future of the Specialty-Equipment Industry (AFT5)
- Thursday, November 4, 10:15 a.m.–11:15 a.m. (PDT)
Consumer behavior is changing the automotive industry. In this session, industry insiders will provide insights into the latest automotive and consumer trends affecting their companies (and yours) now and into the future.
Top Aftermarket Journalists Predict the Future
- Wednesday, November 3, 11:15 a.m.–12:15 p.m. (PDT)
Join several of the industry’s top journalists, who will discuss (and debate) how the aftermarket has changed and is changing for the better. This includes how young enthusiasts, EVs and autonomous vehicles will drive many of the industry’s trends over the next 10 years.
Mobile Electronics Certified Professional Panel (Tentative)
- Monday, November 1, 10:00 a.m.–11:00 a.m. (PDT)
Seminar description to be announced. (Check www.SEMAShow.com/education for the latest details.)
Seamless Visual Integration of Modern Electronics in Vehicles
- Tuesday, November 2, 1:00 p.m.–2:00 p.m. (PDT)
- Location: N257
Car and truck enthusiasts enjoy an unprecedented range of choices for modern electronic infotainment and creature comforts, even as retrofitted in musclecars, hot rods and other customization examples. This informative session will take attendees through many design ideas and concepts that can differentiate installation work and appeal to high-end clientele.
I-CAR Education Offerings
Initialization and Calibration of Electronic Systems
- Tuesday, November 2, 9:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. (PDT)
Initialization and calibration of electrical systems is intended to identify the type of information that scans and initializations provide and when initializations and calibrations are needed. A recommended course to take prior to the SEMA course is “Understanding Vehicle Communication Networks.”
SCRS Education Offerings
2035: Looking Ahead at What the Collision Industry Might Look Like
- Monday, November 1, 3:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m. (PDT)
As the automobile quickly moves toward becoming batteries, computers and iOT sensors on wheels, all collision-industry segments will be forced to change the way they manufacture, insure, appraise, repair, recycle and learn. This presentation will focus on 20 trends and technologies that are disrupting the industry and attempt to provide ideas for operating a successful business between now and 2035.
Scanning and Calibrations: Make Them a Profit Center of Your Business
- Monday, November 1, 3:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m. (PDT)
The focus of this presentation will be on whether scanning and calibration should be a business cost or a separate revenue-generating profit center. How do we know what to invest? How to implement? Or, for that matter, how do you even get started?
Digitalization and the Future of Color Matching: What Does a Shop Focused on Operational Excellence Need to Know?
- Wednesday, November 3, 3:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m. (PDT)
Join us for a roundtable guided discussion around the digital advances in color matching and how they can help a shop achieve a quality color match faster. Participants will range from painters and shop managers to technical experts, trainers, operational excellence consultants and may even include OEM representative participation.
Future Tech: Technology and Vehicle Repair Trends
- Wednesday, November 3, 3:00–5:00 p.m. (PDT)
The automotive space is rapidly changing around us. What kind of technology and repair process changes can we expect? This will be an interactive session where attendees will see how vehicles will continue to evolve along with the consumers who operate them.
SCRS OEM Summit—Session I—Electric Vehicle
- Thursday, November 4, 9:00 a.m.–10:30 a.m. (PDT)
SCRS OEM Summit—Session II—Vehicle Research and Trends
- Thursday, November 4, 11:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m. (PDT)
SCRS OEM SUMMIT—Session III—ADAS and Safety
- Thursday, November 4, 1:00 p.m.–2:30 p.m. (PDT)
The OEM Collision Repair Technology Summit is designed to put SEMA Show attendees in a room with innovators in automotive structural design and technology. The summit’s three sessions feature distinctly different topics that host discussions between companies and individuals with rich histories of producing sophisticated advancements in the automotive and collision-repair fields. The event content will highlight developments in modern vehicles, with a focus on emerging trends that influence vehicle repairability and collision-industry preparation.
Tech-Related SEMA Show Exhibitors
Acumen Robot Intelligence Inc.
Advanced Marketing Distribution
AFC Finishing Systems
Airgas West Inc.
AirPro Diagnostics LLC
A.J. Dralle Inc.
Alliance Distribution Partners
American Bass Audio
American Honda Parts, Service & Technical
American Innovative Manufacturing
AMH Canada Ltd.
Anest Iwata-Medea Inc.
Apollo Sprayers International Inc.
Arslan Automotive Canada Ltd.
Auto Techcelerators LLC
AutoZone Parts Inc.
Bao Sanding & Tools Corp.
BHG Import Export Inc.
Blair Equipment Co.
Blowtherm USA LLC
BME/Boss Audio Systems
Bossauto Innova S.A.
Car ADAS Solutions
Car Bench International S.p.A.
Car Mate USA Inc.
Carcoon Storage Systems International
Carworx Distribution Inc.
CCC Intelligent Solutions Inc.
Changzhou Guangmeng Tools
& Hardwares Co. Ltd.
Collision Repair Magazine
Crystal Tack Cloth
Cumberland Products Inc.
Custom Paints Ltd.
CWB Electronics Inc.
DB Research LLP
Deerfos America Inc.
Delta Kits Inc.
Dent Fix Corp.
DeVilbiss Automotive Refinishing
Diffusions Nu-Book Inc.
Disco Automotive Hardware
DJS Fabrications Inc.
Dominion Sure Seal Ltd.
Dongguan Golden Sun Abrasives Co. Ltd.
Dongguan King Abrasives Co. Ltd.
Donglai Coating Technology Co. Ltd.
Eagle Abrasives Inc.
Booth ## 34089
Endeavor Business Media
Epsilon Electronics Power Acoustik Electronics/Farenheit Tec
Equip Automotive Systems Inc.
Essity North America
Fillon Technologies North America
Fineline Products Inc.
Finishing Solutions LLC
Ford Customer Service Division
Fuji Industrial Spray Equipment Ltd.
Garmat USA Inc.
Gema USA Inc.
Gemini Coatings Inc.
Glass Mechanix Business Solutions
Global Film Source
Global Finishing Solutions
Goliath Carts LLC
Guangzhou Sun Holy Wind Air Cleaning Products Co. Ltd.
GU Auto Tech Inc.
Guangzhou Aidefoe Electronics Co. Ltd.
H&S Autoshot Manufacturing Co.
HBC Systems A/S
Hedson Technologies North America Inc.
Herkules Equipment Corp.
Houston Digital Corp.
hyStik Adhesive Tape Inc.
Induction Innovations Inc.
Infinity 3D Laser Measuring
Innovative Tools & Technologies
International Epoxies & Sealers
Killer Tools & Equipment Corp.
Kolor System Co., Ltd.
Langeman Manufacturing Ltd.
Lenco Holdings LLC
Level Finish LLC
Linear Logic LLC
LinksWell Automotive Inc.
Lippert Insurance Solutions
Martech Services Co.
Martin Tool & Forge
Matrix Electronic Measuring Inc.
MCY Technology Ltd.
Memphis Car Audio
Mercury Tools LLC
Metra Electronics Corp.
MG Distributor Inc.
Miracle System/Equipment Gateway
Mirka Abrasives Inc.
Mobile Environmental Solutions LLC
Monument Tools Inc.
Moorechip Technologies Co. Ltd.
Nagra USA LLC
Network 1 Solutions LLC
Nova Verta USA
PanaVise Products Inc.
Parr Wash Inc.
Peremptory Inc. dba HDC
Peter Kwasny Inc.
PowerBass USA Inc.
Prima srl Inc.
Professional Car Audio
Pro Spot International Inc.
Promax America LLC
Prona Tools Inc.
Protech Automotive Solutions
PRV Audio Brazil
Race Sport Product Group
REDTAIL Telematics Corp.
Reliable Automotive Equipment Inc.
RGI Spray Booth Co.
Robaina Direct LLC
RTi-Reading Technologies Inc.
Safety Regulation Strategies Inc.
Santint USA Inc.
SATA Spray Equipment
Scosche Industries Inc.
Seymour of Sycamore Inc.
Shenzhen Car-Ku Technology Co. Ltd.
sia Abrasives Inc. USA
Sloboganska Technological Co. Ltd.
Society of Collision Repair Specialists
Sondpex Corp. of America
Spanesi Americas Inc.
Spray Booth Services
Start2Finish Technologies Inc.
Steck Manufacturing Co.
Taizhou Tool-Bar Machinery Co. Ltd.
3M Automotive Division
Trade Associates Inc.
Transtar Autobody Technologies Inc.
Troton SP. Z O.O.
Ultronix Products Ltd.
United Metals Recycling
USI of North America Inc.
Vaber Industriale SPA
Vision Automobile Electronics Industrial Co. Ltd.
Vision Tech America Inc.
Voxx International Corp.
Wet Sounds Inc.
W.M. Barr & Company