SEMA News—December 2021


Industry Indicators: COVID-19 Resurgence, Supply-Chain Issues Pose Challenges to Economic Recovery

The economic recovery continues along a bumpy path. The number of new hires slowed in the month of September, and the outlook for the labor market remains unclear in the coming months as pandemic-related benefits are phased out. Consumer spending remains strong, even as some of these government transfers wane.


According to the latest “SEMA Industry Indicators” report, supply-chain disruptions and a summer resurgence of COVID-19 continued to affect many sectors of the economy.

Consumer sentiment fell precipitously in early August due in part to the resurgence of COVID-19 in certain parts of the country, and airlines recently reported reduced bookings for the month. Supply-chain disruptions and shortages continue to hamper many sectors of the economy. That is especially true for the auto sector. Through the first six months of the year, motor-vehicle assemblies were down 15% from 2019, while new-vehicle sales over the same period were flat. Meanwhile, prices reached an all-time high.

With the strong growth in income over the last year, consumers appear willing to accept higher prices for the time being, but how long that will last remains to be seen. All of that could change should the trajectory of COVID vary abruptly, but it looks like we are on a bumpy path forward for now.

Want to learn more about the economic factors shaping our industry? Download the new “SEMA Industry Indicators” report today at

Jim LiawPRI Hires Jim Liaw as General Manager

Jim Liaw has joined Performance Racing Industry (PRI) as general manager, leading the staff and operations out of the organization’s office in Aliso Viejo, California. Having cofounded Formula Drift in 2003, Liaw introduced the sport of drifting to America and built what is now the top drifting series in the world.

Reporting to PRI President Dr. Jamie Meyer and working with the PRI management team, Liaw will direct and oversee activities related to the PRI Trade Show, PRI Membership, PRI Magazine, online content and promotions for all segments in the motorsports industry.

“We are thrilled to welcome Jim to the PRI team,” Meyer said. “He has a proven track record of success, and he knows and understands the motorsports industry. He has vision, leadership and passion, and he shares PRI’s goal to protect and grow the racing industry.”

Like many in the automotive industry, Liaw was an auto enthusiast before he was able to drive. After graduating from UCLA, he joined McMullen Argus Publishing (now Motor Trend) as a sales associate for Sport Compact Car magazine and later served as sales manager for one of the first-ever sport-compact drag-racing series, Import Drag Racing Circuit. As a pioneer and entrepreneur, Liaw finds trends, builds brands and cultivates new enthusiasts.

Liaw can be reached at

Registration Now Open for 2022 SEMA Middle East Development Program

Registration is now open for the 2022 SEMA Middle East Business Development Program, which takes place March 22–29, 2022. Participate in the first SEMA Middle East event to take place both in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Attendees will meet with pre-vetted trade buyers from throughout the region and can self-certify for $1,200 in U.S. government grants to defray trip costs.

Middle East

Participants in the 2022 SEMA Middle East Business Development Program will have the opportunity to meet with pre-vetted buyers from throughout the region.

For those accepting the federal grant, trip fees begin at $4,600 and include all meals, hotel accommodations in Dubai and Riyadh, a turnkey booth at Custom Show Emirates, and airfare from the UAE to Saudi Arabia. Flights to and from the United States are not included. Additional funds may be available from your state, and SEMA can assist you in exploring grant opportunities.

Participants will:

  • Exhibit at the leading customizing show in the region—Custom Show Emirates—in a turnkey booth in the Dubai World Trade Center.
  • Attend seminars featuring top distributors.
  • Participate in official U.S. government briefings.
  • Tour specialty-equipment shops in Saudi Arabia and the UAE featuring performance, off-road and styling upgrades.
  • Attend networking receptions in both Dubai and Riyadh.

More information is available at, or contact

Wade KawasakiKawasaki Steps Down as President, CEO of Legendary Companies

Legendary Companies, which includes Coker Tire, Wheel Vintiques, Universal Vintage Tire, Phoenix Race Tires, Specialty Wheel, MOR, Vintage Wheel Works, PS Engineering, Roadster Wire Wheel and Paragon Corvette Reproductions, announced that Wade Kawasaki will step down from his role of President and CEO while remaining a partner in the business.

“After guiding Coker Tire through the acquisition process, I agreed to stay on as CEO for a three-year term to build the management team and add more companies to the portfolio,” Kawasaki said. “As that term draws to a close, I am excited to take some personal time and pursue new interests. It’s been a tremendous honor serving as CEO, and I know the company has a bright future. I’m also pleased to announce that we have asked my close friend and colleague Doug Evans to join the team as an Interim CEO while we begin a search process for the new CEO.”

Coker Tire and Wheel Vintiques were acquired by Irving Place Capital (IPC) in 2018, and Kawasaki helped to guide the newly formed Legendary Companies through a 2019 rebranding while overseeing the acquisitions of additional business entities. Kawasaki, a former Chairman of the SEMA Board of Directors and a 40-year industry veteran, will retain an ownership stake in the company and work with IPC to execute a transition plan.

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