By Steve Campbell
Some of the Attractions at the World’s Greatest Automotive Show
The SEMA Show is the world’s largest automotive trade show, but it’s much more than that. It’s a museum, a looking glass into the future, a university, a carnival, a catalog of innovation, a media frenzy and an incubator for tomorrow’s industry leaders. In short, from Tuesday, October 30–Friday, November 2, it’s the place where every automotive professional should be and where every auto enthusiast wishes he or she could be.
From the moment the doors swing open until the last vehicle drives out on the roads leading out of Las Vegas, the SEMA Show is jam-packed with must-see vehicles, parts and programs. Here’s a partial list; keep your eyes open over the next few weeks for even more!
Okay, so the online floor plan is technically not a part of the physical SEMA Show. But it’s the starting point for everything that follows. Use it to find exhibitors, track down display areas and map the most efficient path to the booths you need to visit. It even shows where the restrooms are, and you know that’s going to be important. Visit www.SEMAShow.com today, and click on the “Floorplan” link to get started.
The Exhibitor Manual
If your company is exhibiting at the SEMA Show, the online Exhibitor Manual is as important as the online floorplan. It holds the key to SEMA Show activities, deadlines, marketing opportunities, services and more. Go to www.SEMAShow.com/esm. Read and learn, save money, amaze your friends and attract buyers.
The hot ticket for SEMA Show registration is also online. It’s the easiest and most cost-effective way for buyers to obtain credentials, and a badge permits the bearer to enter both the Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo (AAPEX) and the SEMA Show. Online registration is only $25 through October 15, while fax or regular-mail registration is $50. Or you can wait to get to Vegas and pay $75 onsite (starting October 16). Online buyer registrants will receive their badges in the mail, while all media must pick up their badges at the Media Center, room S219 on the Skybridge, between the Central and South Halls. Preregistered media receive updates and press releases leading up to the Show. If you do wait to register onsite, you’ll do so at the new location in room N109 at the back of the Grand Lobby in the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC).
Vehicle Technology Center
The SEMA Vehicle Technology Center (VTC) and the Technology Briefing Seminar (TBS) program are designed to introduce SEMA members to the benefits of SEMA-developed vehicle technology solutions and partnerships and help them to leverage tomorrow’s technologies, which is central to business survival and the growth of the automotive specialty-equipment industry. The VTC has been moved to the Grand Lobby of the LVCC for the 2012 SEMA Show and features a wealth of forward-looking forums and panel sessions based around vehicle dynamics, racing and performance, connected-vehicle technologies and SEMA’s partnership with the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research. Visit www.SEMAShow.com/education for a schedule of TBS programs.
New Products Breakfast
SEMA’s annual New Product Awards competition recognizes outstanding achievements in the development of products being introduced to the automotive specialty-equipment market at the SEMA Show. The award winners will be announced on Tuesday, November 1, from 7:30 a.m.–8:45 a.m. at the New Products Awards Breakfast.
Products are judged in 16 award categories, and each category will have one winner and two runners-up. Open (and free) to all registered attendees, the breakfast officially kicks off the SEMA Show.
The SEMA Award honors vehicle models that specialty-equipment manufacturers believe are the best platforms for accessorization and that showcase the year’s coolest products. The SEMA Award recognizes one model in each of four categories: “Hottest Car,” “Hottest Sport Compact Car,” “Hottest Truck,” and “Hottest 4x4-SUV.” It also underscores the cooperative relationship between the automakers and SEMA-member companies.
“As the visionaries and innovators of the industry, our SEMA Show exhibitors determine the winners of the SEMA Award based on the vehicles they showcase in their booths,” said Chris Kersting, SEMA president and CEO. “With each booth vehicle representing one vote, the most prominent models in each category are the winners. The SEMA Award celebrates these outstanding vehicles that emerge each year at the Show.”
The SEMA Award presentations for 2012 will take place at the Vehicle Technology Center in the Grand Lobby of the LVCC immediately following the conclusion of the New Products Breakfast at approximately 8:45 a.m.
Rep Technology Roundtable
On Sunday, October 28, from 3:30 p.m.–6:00 p.m. at the LVH (formerly the Las Vegas Hilton) attendees at the Rep Technology Roundtable (exclusively for reps) will learn how to take advantage of a technological economy and become more profitable. The event will start with a panel discussion moderated by Bryan Shirley, CPMR, and attendees will then take part in intimate roundtable discussions led by industry experts such as SEMA Data Co-op CEO Jon Wyly, eTool Developers President and Founder Luanne Brown, Upshift Marketing Principal Bernard Bolisig and Cie Studios Vice President of Business Development Tyler Tanaka. For more information, contact Zane Clark at 909-978-6696.
Off-Road Success Center
Companies that want to learn more about the off-road segment of the automotive specialty-equipment industry will be treated to a new Off-Road Success Center, presented by OMIX-ADA/Rugged Ridge. This educational display will be located in booth #30147 of the upper South Hall in the LVCC and will provide business owners and decision makers with a purpose-built venue to exchange ideas, learn new concepts for success and network with other like-minded businesspeople.
The Off-Road Success Center will offer educational seminars, one-on-one consultations, demonstrations and free print materials along with a range of vehicles that will include vintage models provided by Jeep Jamboree USA and OMIX-ADA. Each seminar will be led by industry specialists, who will share best practices and tips for maximizing operational, sales and marketing strategies within the off-road industry.
Further information, including confirmed experts as well as dates and times of each seminar, see “Industry News” on p. 12 of this issue.
Auto Dealer Accessory Conference and Show Tour
Formerly known as Dealer Day, the Auto Dealer Accessory Conference and Show Tour has been designed exclusively for franchised and independent automotive dealers. It will be held Wednesday, October 31, from 9:30 a.m.–11:45 a.m. and will feature a focused panel discussion addressing critical areas of accessory integration and how they impact operations in all key dealership departments. Then dealership employees will lead intimate roundtable discussions covering accounting, fixed operations, finance and insurance, new and used sales, accessory sales and more, providing participants with the chance to have their specific questions answered and learn what is working for other dealerships.
Attendees will also be given preferred seating at the Connected Vehicle Keynote (featuring Anthony Levandowski, Google), followed by an insider’s tour of the SEMA Show that will highlight key products and services that can help dealers increase sales and add profit to their operations.
For complete information on the Auto Dealer Accessory Conference, visit www.SEMAShow.com/auto-dealer.
Technical Skills & Training Conference
Automotive restyling dealers, installers and manufacturers will have a chance to receive specialized education and hands-on learning at the Technical Skills & Training Conference (TSTC), which will be held in conjunction with the SEMA Show for the first time and is slated for November 1 from 11:30 a.m.–5:00 p.m. in rooms N101–N103 of the LVCC.
Sponsored by SEMA’s Professional Restylers Organization (PRO) council, the TSTC is free with SEMA Show registration, so it’s a great place to learn how to grow and expand an accessory business with help from industry-leading manufacturers through interactive sessions on proper installation techniques for custom interiors, heated seats, mobile electronics, paint protection, window films, vehicle graphics, sun roofs, vehicle connectivity and more.
The SEMA Education Institute (SEI) offers free and “pay-to-attend” courses that provide unparalleled opportunities to learn firsthand what trends will affect automotive specialty-equipment businesses. More than 50 free educational courses and several “pay-to-attend” events will cover everything from online marketing to customer service, management, industry trends and more. These events are open only to registered 2012 SEMA Show attendees, exhibitors and media. For more information, see “Product Knowledge Direct From the Source” on p. 42, “2012 SEMA Show Education Days Brochure” on p. 67 and “Targeted Educational Programs” on p. 92. For the latest information, visit, www.SEMAShow.com/education.
Built From eBay
Here’s a different spin on the project-car theme: eBay, in association with Source Interlink Media (SIM), has partnered with four garages to build four distinctly different vehicles. As the four are being completed, they are being voted on by visitors to a build-specific website (www.builtfromebay.com), where they will ultimately choose their favorite. When the vehicles are completed, they will be auctioned off on eBay, and the proceeds will go to four affiliated charities. The unique caveat is that each vehicle was purchased on eBay and all of the parts—vintage and new alike—were also acquired on eBay.
The campaign is called Built From eBay. Team captains from the four SIM publications selected the four garages, said Matt Boice, vice president of the Enthusiast Media Group of Source Interlink Media. Hot Rod magazine selected Mackey’s Hot Rods in Huntington Beach, California, to complete a ’68 Chevrolet G20 Van supporting The Semper Fi Fund. Four Wheeler selected Off Road Evolution in Fullerton, California, to build its ’70 Grand Cherokee Commando supporting the California Trail Users Coalition. European Car chose GSR Autosport in Lake Forest, California, to build a ’84 Porsche 911 supporting SEMA Cares. And Lowrider chose Duran’s Quality Painting in Baldwin Park, California, to complete a ’66 Chevrolet El Camino supporting the SEMA Memorial Scholarship Fund.
The Built From eBay display and all its exciting features can be found at the outdoor front Silver Lot, within the DUB Live area.
Auto Apps Conference
The SEMA Automotive App Developers Conference will take place in the Vehicle Technology Center in the Grand Lobby of the LVCC starting at 12:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 31. The conference is designed to attract the attention of technology providers, connect them with specialty-equipment manufacturers and help to generate new business opportunities for the industry. This event, which will highlight the SEMA Show as the focal point for vehicle connectivity, will include presentations from OE engineers, telematics and communications providers and specialty aftermarket suppliers. Attendees will include application developers from the leading technology firms in the United States
The Ideas Alive: Featuring the New Products Showcase is the number-one SEMA Show buyer and media destination. It totals more than 25,000 sq. ft. of innovation and opportunity, and it’s where SEMA Show exhibitors’ best product ideas come alive. This year, the New Products Showcase will be housed in the east end of the upper level of the LVCC’s South Hall. In addition, the First-Time and Featured Exhibitors Section that debuted at last year’s SEMA Show will return in 2012 and will be located alongside the Ideas Alive: Featuring the New Products Showcase. With more than 2,000 manufacturers exhibiting throughout the SEMA Show, the First-Time and Featured Exhibitors section serves as an easy and convenient location for buyers to hone in on hundreds of new and emerging manufacturers who are exhibiting at the Show for the first time.
“Buyers and media often make the New Products Showcase their first stop, visiting the area even before the Show opens on Tuesday morning,” said Peter MacGillivray SEMA vice president of communications and events. “Visitors will note the products that interest them in the Showcase and create a list of exhibitors that they want to visit. This often becomes their plan for the week.”
Legendary vehicle designer Chip Foose will be making appearances at Ideas Alive: Featuring the New Products Showcase. Be sure to watch for further announcements and schedules.
After a hiatus of several years, the “Overhaulin’” television show returns on the Discovery Channel with Chip Foose. The crew will also return to the SEMA Show to film a new episode with Foose and co-hosts Chris Jacobs and Jessie Combs. True to the “Overhaulin’” premise, they will “steal” a car from an unsuspecting victim, then source products from SEMA Show exhibitors as they remake the vehicle over the course of the SEMA Show week, culminating in a surprise reveal. The “Overhaulin’” studio will be located in the alcove at the front of the Trucks, SUVs & Off-Road Section in the LVCC South Hall. Keep an eye out for further developments.
Silent Auction and Hot Rod Heritage Art Exhibit
Two other popular features that return this year are the SEMA Silent Auction and the Hot Rod Heritage Art Exhibit, which will be run by recent SEMA Hall of Fame inductee Bob Larivee Sr. As always, the auction will feature dozens of pieces of memorabilia, art and unique apparel. In fact, some of the artists whose work will be displayed in the Hot Rod Heritage Art Exhibit have donated pieces to the auction, which will benefit the SEMA Cares charity. Both displays will be housed just upstairs from the Grand Lobby in front of the Members’ Lounge outside the
GM at the SEMA Show
General Motors will once again play a substantial role in the SEMA Show. Its multi-venue extravaganza will include a historical display, live interviews with four current race drivers over four days of the Show and a repeat of the Chevy Drive in the open area between the Central and South Halls, where attendees can hitch a ride. All that plus one of the largest exhibition spaces in the LVCC, which will be filled with newly completed project cars and the hottest
West Coast Customs
West Coast Customs (WCC), one of the world’s most influential custom car shops, joins the SEMA Show once more with an array of exquisite cars and trucks. WCC has served as the backdrop of the MTV television show “Pimp My Ride” and TLC’s “Street Customs.” For 2012, founder Ryan Friedlinghaus and his West Coast Customs crew will show off the shop’s capabilities in a new exhibit in the northwest corner of the Restyling & Car Care Accessories section at North Hall. It’s sure to be a state-of-the-art display of automotive ingenuity.
Hot Rodders of Tomorrow
High school teams from across the country will compete for the national championship title by tearing down and rebuilding identical high-performance 350ci Chevrolet small-block engines fitted with top performance parts. Tailored after the efforts that go on between rounds of drag races throughout the country, the Hot Rodders of Tomorrow “Showdown at SEMA” is the culmination of eight preliminary competitions around the nation, each of which will send a regional champion to Las Vegas. The final tale will be told by the team with the fastest time and the least number of penalty points. Look for the final rounds this year on the outside plaza in front of the Central Hall near the Car Crazy Studio.
Car Crazy Studio
And speaking of car crazy, The Car Crazy Studio has become a staple attraction at the SEMA Show, with host Barry Meguiar interviewing industry legends and celebrities on an elevated stage on the outside plaza in front of the LVCC. The interviews are broadcast live on screens throughout the convention center and have featured such NASCAR luminaries as Jack Roush and Robby Gordon and industry captains, such as Pete Chapouris, George Barris and Myles Kovacs. You never know who might turn up, so pay attention!
Ford Out Front
Ford will again feature its current crop of star drivers and racing vehicles in the Ford Out Front exhibition just outside the halls of the LVCC. The Ford Out Front experience will showcase Ford high-performance drivers performing drifting, Gymkhana and freestyle demonstrations in Ford high-performance products. In 2011, Ford brought drivers Vaughn Gittin Jr. and Ken Block to the SEMA Show, and the program is slated to be just as exciting for 2012. Be there for driving demonstrations by drifting masters.
The best way to navigate between the east end of Central and South Halls is through Mopar Alley—a show within the Show featuring some of the hottest cars, trucks and parts available from Mopar, including some of the best examples from the original musclecar era. In 2011, the Challenger was a highlight vehicle. When you’re ready to transition from hall to hall, be sure to take a stroll through this Chrysler memory lane and glimpse into the future with a collection of Mopar, Dodge, Fiat and Chrysler vehicles.
2012 DUB Show Tour
The centerpiece of last year’s DUB display was the Luxury4Play X Platinum Motorsports matte-white Bugatti Veyron. In addition, Forgiato brought out a display rig that showcased all the company’s new wheel offerings along with Lexani/Asanti and its luxury line of wheels and accessories. DUB promises more cars, trucks, artists and entertainers at this year’s event, which is the final stop in the 2012 DUB Show Tour. It will feature custom cars, trucks, SUVs, exotics, lowriders, motorcycles and more—all in DUB style.
Motor Trend Radio Stage
Motor Trend Radio brings its industry-leading brand of broadcast content to the 2012 SEMA Show with all the latest automotive news, product reviews, celebrity guests and more. Automotive expert Alan Taylor hosts the show, flashing his quick wit and in-depth knowledge. Stop by the Motor Trend Radio stage at the east end of the LVCC South Hall to get the latest lowdown on what’s shakin’.
SEMA Businesswomen’s Network (SBN) Mustang Build
The SEMA Mustang Build Powered by Women under the direction of the SEMA Businesswomen’s Network (SBN) and built entirely by SBN members is a joint effort by Ford Motor Co., Source Interlink Media and SEMA that is designed to shine a light on women working in the automotive specialty-equipment industry and encourage more women to pursue automotive careers. Ford donated a ’13 Ford Mustang GT, and the build took place in July and August at the Source Interlink Media headquarters in El Segundo, California, with several of Source Interlink Media’s female employees participating on the build.
Modifications were made to all aspects of the car, including the engine, undercarriage, drivetrain, interior, sound system, exterior and paint, and the finished vehicle will be auctioned off to raise money for the SEMA Memorial Scholarship Fund. To learn more about the SEMA Mustang Build Powered by Women, visit www.SEMA.org/SEMAmustangbuild.
Speed Networking Breakfast—Powered by SBN
Get connected at the SEMA Speed Networking Breakfast—Powered by SBN, and enjoy a hot meal, too! The Speed Networking breakfast allows attendees to meet dozens of men and women (all industry professionals), providing the chance to meet more business contacts at one meal than most people make in half a year. The breakfast begins at 7:15 a.m. on Thursday, November 1, with the networking to quickly follow. For more information, visit www.SEMA.org/sbn and click on the Speed Networking Breakfast link.
WD-40 Co., in conjunction with Street Scene Equipment and Mike Spagnola, is building an immaculate ’53 Ford F-100 designed by Chip Foose. The pickup will be showcased at the SEMA Show and will then be auctioned off at the Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction in Scottsdale, Arizona, in January 2013. WD-40 has raised more than $400,000 for SEMA Cares charities Childhelp and Victory Junciton with its last three project-vehicle builds, and the F-100 will add significantly to that total. Keep an eye out for the truck in a prominent position at the SEMA Show.
SEMA Cruise at Show Close
The SEMA Show is undoubtedly a highlight of the year for the industry, but the highlight for the local populace is the SEMA Cruise, a feature that was introduced last year. At the conclusion of the Show, as the booths are dismantled and the products are packaged for shipment home, the display cars are driven out of the convention center. While this parade of rolling art has always been highly anticipated, it became an official part of the Show in 2011.
When the SEMA Show officially ends at 4:00 p.m. on Friday, the SEMA Cruise begins. With the Show’s carpets rolled up, you’ll want to stick around to see this one last automotive blast.
Featuring awards, giveaways, entertainment and even seating for the crowds who throng to view the hundreds of vehicles, the parade will once again conclude a Show full of must-see features like the many highlighted above.