SEMA Member News—March/April 2014
Focusing Attention on the Benefits
For decades, the Truck and Off-Road Alliance (TORA) and its forerunners have been sources of information, connections and advocacy for aftermarket professionals in the light-truck and off-road segments. TORA leadership recently identified a new approach and focus to better serve the membership and industry as a whole. With this new clarity of structure and activity, TORA is poised to be of even greater value to the aftermarket in the coming years.
The origins of TORA began with an organization called the Truck Cap Industry Association. The scope of businesses and interests within TORA has since expanded well beyond truck caps, and it now extends beyond light trucks. Businesses devoted to serving the needs of Jeep, SUV and off-roading enthusiasts all participate in TORA, and the council will be making a concerted effort in the future to include and serve the needs of this expanding market.
Building a community among the diverse groups of enthusiasts and busy businesspeople in the truck and off-road industry can be challenging, but TORA has a number of opportunities through which members may engage with each other throughout the year:
- SEMA Show booth activities and industry reception
- Social media participation, including member and industry features and discussions on Facebook and LinkedIn
- Carlisle Truck Nationals New Product Showcase and vehicle build
- General membership meetings and other regional events and mixers
TORA is a key resource that businesses can use to stay informed about the latest technology, industry news and issues advocacy. SEMA offers a wide variety of vehicle technology and technical data to association members, and members of TORA have an even more direct and streamlined way to connect with those resources. Members often get early and exclusive access during vehicle measuring sessions at the SEMA Garage, and TORA members play a leading role in the relationship between SEMA and the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research.
TORA also keeps up-to-date data on truck-bed dimensions, a keyless-entry connection guide, a CHMSL wiring-connection guide and a primer on color-matching called “Why Paint Colors Vary.” This easy access to fundamental data gives TORA members an advantage in the marketplace.
The council exists to benefit members, so collecting information and knowledge is key to determining council projects and goals. Council leadership encourages all members to participate in online discussions and face-to-face meetings so that they can get this information directly and focus their efforts.
Government and OE Relations
Other than consumer purchasing power, the two outside forces that have the largest impact on council members’ businesses are the original-equipment manufacturers and local, state and federal laws and regulations. Even for small-business owners, belonging to TORA gives a much stronger voice when it comes to OE relations and advocacy efforts with elected officials.
Some laws and regulations can be unfair and hurt industry businesses. Others create new programs to safeguard and expand opportunities available to TORA and the consumers they serve. On both fronts, SEMA exists to help members. To support this important strategic initiative, SEMA maintains an active presence in Washington, D.C., and state capitals to oppose harmful legislation that could impact member companies’ futures while also proactively pursuing pro-industry legislative initiatives. Get more involved in SEMA government initiatives through the SEMA Political Action Committee and the SEMA Action Network.
A good relationship with the OEMs is equally important to aftermarket success. Belonging to TORA gives members a communications portal to SEMA’s OEM-relations staff, ensuring that the issues members care about are addressed. Through SEMA, TORA members have access to resources that can help them and resolve conflicts as well as engage OEMs in collaborative partnerships.
To learn more about any of these benefits, contact Senior Manager of Councils Clayton Drescher via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.