Gaspar “Gas” Ronda, best known for drag racing a series of Mustangs during the early evolution of the Funny Car, passed away at the age of 91 in October. He didn’t start drag racing in Fords; in the 1950s, while living in Northern California and working as a dance instructor, he raced Hudsons, Buicks and Corvettes. (Yes, dance instructor. Ronda had polio as a child, and he discovered dance as a way to strengthen his legs.)
It used to be that you had only a couple of choices when it came to shopping: You could drive to the store, or you could order out of a catalog. Today, catalogs hardly exist, and only 60% of automotive specialty-equipment sales occur inside a store. Online sales continue to grow as a percentage of overall aftermarket parts purchases and will surpass other channels within a relatively short period. Manufacturers need to understand consumer purchase behaviors to fully grasp the importance of a robust e-commerce presence.
The 2017 SEMA Show was a great event in many ways and on many fronts. The most important measure of success is the value of the event to our industry members, and I’ve heard in recent weeks from many who felt that this was their best Show.
After 51 years, the SEMA Show has become many things. Once primarily a marketplace for hot-rod parts, the Show has grown to embrace all things automotive, commingling varied tastes, disciplines and business models—all under one roof. It’s the one place in the world where you’ll find a customized Lamborghini sitting next to an outrageous hot rod, flanked by a 1,000hp Camaro and a custom Harley. With 12 distinctly different segments represented, the SEMA Show creates crossover possibilities and an energy far greater than the sum of its parts.
The SEMA Data Co-op has become “data central” for hundreds of specialty parts brands, representing millions of part numbers, and tens of millions of vehicle applications. This directory is designed to guide data users to brands that have successfully undertaken the challenge to manage their product data, and to continue to expand reference as more brands are added to the SDC repository.
For the fourth consecutive year, the prestigious SEMA Battle of the Builders competition experienced growth, featuring more participants and increased media coverage. The publications below are but a small sample of the many media outlets that informed their readers about the more than 300 builders who entered this year’s contest. The field included not only builders from the United States but also from other countries—some of whom were among the finalists—and aspiring builders 27 years and younger.
California Cleaning Product Labeling Law: Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation into law to require cleaning-product manufacturers to disclose all ingredients and “contaminants of concern” on the product label and the manufacturer’s website.
SEMA recently conducted a survey regarding the exporting activities of its U.S.-based member manufacturers. The 243 SEMA members that completed the survey represent nearly 11% of SEMA-member manufacturers located throughout the United States.
The 2017 SEMA Show kicked-off the morning of October 31, with the New Product Awards. The annual competition recognizes outstanding achievements in the development of products being introduced to the automotive specialty-equipment market at the SEMA Show. Products are judged in 16 award categories, and each category has one winner and two runners-up.
SEMA Hall of Fame Member and Immediate Past Chair Doug Evans talks about his involvement with SEMA.