SEMA eNews Vol. 14, No. 7, February 17, 2011

What Has SEMA Done for You Lately?

  •   opinion leader cover
    The 2010 SEMA Show Opinion Leader Report is now available to download. It contains a detailed analysis of data collected at the recent SEMA Show from a special group of social media leaders with a passion for our industry.

    Wheels and tires. Despite being a high-ticket item, enthusiasts attending the 2010 SEMA Show were almost unanimous—in fact, 88% chose to make a purchase in this category for their vehicle. As participants in the Opinion Leader program, these enthusiasts gave detailed explanations of what they purchase, where they shop and what they consider before opening their wallets for new accessories.

    Rounding out the top five categories of accessories purchased were air and fuel systems (air intakes, fuel intake filters), car care products, exhaust systems and suspensions and chassis accessories. In many instances, the enthusiasts were quite candid about what they look for in accessories and why. One motorsports enthusiast explained his process as follows.

    I tend to go by word of mouth. If a company is ‘making waves’ with a part, that’s the one I tend to look at first. Name brands kind of get stuck in a mindset and do things the same way they’ve been done for 20 years. New companies come along and they come at it a completely different way, and it ends up working better. So whoever is ‘making waves,’ that’s the first place I go.

    The Opinion Leader Program participants were granted one-day access to the recent Show where they completed a detailed survey, as well as shared their impressions from the Show using various social media sites and their car clubs' affiliations. For SEMA members, this feedback represents a tremendous opportunity because these same enthusiasts use social media to share their passion and purchase decisions with other potential customers. More than 65% of enthusiasts selected Facebook as a frequent site to use. Similarly, 19% of respondents use Twitter to communicate in their social networks. For one classic car enthusiast, the Internet is a must-have tool to make purchase decisions.

    Once I figure out what I need, I’ll look through the magazines and go online. I talk to people I know that may either have the part or may have experience with the part, and go to online forums and talk to people. I also do a fair amount of personal contact around the region and then around the country.

    Fifty-six Opinion Leaders participated in one of six focus groups: Truck/SUV; Street Performance and Sport Compacts; Street Rod and Hot Rod, Classic Car and Restoration; Motorsports; and Powersports. In total, more than 400 consumer Opinion Leaders were allowed to attend the 2010 SEMA Show on Friday, November 5.

    Opinion Leaders were encouraged to look through the New Products Showcase, as well as the other Show sections, and post Twitter and Facebook messages about the interesting things they saw while at the Show. They were encouraged to take those observations back to their friends, car clubs and message-board groups to expand the word-of-mouth exposure for SEMA Show exhibitors.

    Opinion Leader applications provided information, such as vehicles owned and accessorized; frequently visited websites; and demographics for auto enthusiasts across the country.

    An analysis of the focus groups along with data collected from the applications can be found in the 2010 SEMA Show Opinion Leader Report. This report is now available for download here. It is free of charge for all SEMA members. For questions regarding the report or the Opinion Leader Program, contact Megan McKernan at

Breaking News

  •   wolcott
      Steve Wolcott of ProMedia LLC received the Robert E. Petersen Media Award at last month's MPMC Media Trade Conference.

    The Motorsports Parts Manufacturers Council (MPMC) presented its Robert E. Petersen Media Award to Steve Wolcott of ProMedia LLC in conjunction with the MPMC Media Trade Conference in January. The award is presented to a member of the print, electronic or broadcast media who has made a substantial contribution to the industry within the past year and maintains an ongoing record of service and support to the motorsports industry.

    Kyle Fickler, vice president of sales and marketing for Weld Racing and current MPMC chairman, says that the MPMC's selection of Wolcott for the award was a an obvious one, due to his support of the motorsports industry and the overall breadth of his contribution.

    "He does an incredible job of connecting the motorsports manufacturer to the racer through project builds and tech features in his ProMedia publications, Fastest Street Car and Race Pages, and the related websites for the NMRA and NMCA sanctioning bodies.

    It is through these outlets and Wolcott's approach to covering the motorsports industry that he provides manufacturers an additional opportunity to interact with their customers where they want to see them the most—at the track—and then he tells that story as well.

    "It’s that connection that is so relevant to the motorsports parts manufacturer, and it shows that it is possible to report race results while delivering substantial tech content and giving manufacturers a platform to engage the 'outlaw' street car and late-model performance enthusiast."

    Wolcott was on hand to receive the award, and he expressed his gratitude for the honor and recognized the importance of participating in an event that helps support the people and companies involved in motorsports.

    "I was truly honored to receive this special award in the name of the person who first gave me my start in the performance industry," said Wolcott. "NMRA, NMCA, Race Pages and Fastest Street Car have participated with MPMC's Media Trade Conference for the past decade, and we recognize how important it is for our magazines and series to support SEMA, its members and promote our great industry. Over the past 17 years, I have developed incredible personal relationships with many wonderful men and women in the performance aftermarket, and my team works hard to support motorsports and the companies that manufacture the parts our racers use."

    More information on the MPMC is available at To learn more about the MPMC Media Trade Conference, contact Jim Skelly at

  • SEMA urged the U.S. Congress to support a provision to prevent the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from using designated funds to increase the amount of allowable ethanol content in gasoline to 15% (E15). SEMA contends the legislation is necessary to protect automotive enthusiasts and consumers from misfueling and other unnecessary harm.

    The provision, offered as an amendment to a bill funding the federal government for the remainder of fiscal year 2011, will suspend the EPA’s efforts to quickly permit E15 in the marketplace. SEMA argues that more time is needed for the completion of unbiased and independent testing on the impact of E15 on vehicles and engines. SEMA will continue to oppose E15 until there are conclusive scientific findings that demonstrate that it will not harm automobiles of any age as a result of corrosion or other chemical incompatibilities.

    SEMA represents thousands of companies that market products for these vehicles and, through its SEMA Action Network, millions of enthusiasts who buy and operate these automobiles.

    For more information, contact Stuart Gosswein at

  • Students preparing for careers in the automotive industry may be eligible to receive financial awards ranging from $1,000–$4,000 through the 2011 SEMA Memorial Scholarship Fund (SMSF). The scholarship application, which is due April 1, 2011, and requires college transcripts and letters of recommendation, is now available at

    “Paying for a high-quality education is a challenge for many, particularly in today’s tough economy,” said Jamie Eriksen, SEMA education director. “SEMA is pleased to play a part in helping students prepare for careers in an innovative and exciting industry.”

    Unlike financial aid and student loans, the SEMA Memorial Scholarship is a one-time award that does not have to be paid back. Awards are granted to eligible applicants based on academic achievements, work experience, community involvement, essay content and recommendations. Students may re-apply each year, provided that they still meet the eligibility criteria. A loan forgiveness award is also available to recent graduates who are working for SEMA-member companies and paying off existing student loans. Details and applications for both the scholarship and the loan-forgiveness awards are available at

    Winners will be notified in the summer of 2011. Scholarship payments are sent directly to the student’s college, university, trade or vocational school to help offset the cost of tuition. Loan-forgiveness payments are sent directly to the financial institutions.

    For complete details, visit or contact Juliet Marshall at or 909/978-6655.

  •   scooter brothers
      Scooter Brothers (left) with Speedway Illustrated senior writer Bones Bourcier. Photo Credit: Lukens Photography.

    Paul “Scooter” Brothers, co-owner of the Comp Performance Group, received the “Outstanding Contribution to Racing” award presented by Dick Berggren’s Speedway Illustrated magazine as part of the annual RPM Promoters Workshops in Daytona Beach, Florida.

    The honor paid tribute to the years of service Brothers has devoted to the racing industry with the various companies under the Comp umbrella, particularly Comp Cams, a brand he helped shepherd to prominence in many forms of motorsports. Key to his selection were the close ties between Brothers and the 150-plus sanctioning bodies and individual speedways his firm works with across the racing spectrum, many of which were represented at the RPM gathering.

    “Racers, promoters and fans all benefit from dynamic, enthusiastic and robust producers of aftermarket race parts,” said Speedway Illustrated publisher Karl Fredrickson. “Through their efforts and the competition that results, racers enjoy higher-quality components at lower costs. Plus, the involved nature of the aftermarket companies means that regional series and individual tracks can make specific component requests to better fit the racers in their area.”

    A drag racer in his youth, Brothers joked that he was “poisoned” by the racing bug early in life. A stint with Racing Head Service (RHS) led to his involvement with Comp Cams in the ’80s, and since then, his name and face—as well as the Comp logo—have become familiar to drivers, mechanics, race organizers and his fellow captains of the motorsports industry.

    “Recently, the efforts of Scooter Brothers and the entire team at Comp Performance Group have been dedicated to the concept of maintaining a healthy race industry first,” said Fredrickson. “It is our privilege at Dick Berggren’s Speedway Illustrated to recognize Scooter and the entire team at Comp Performance Group.”

    The award was presented by Speedway Illustrated senior writer Bones Bourcier, who praised Brothers as one of the unseen but much-appreciated faces behind the decals that adorn America’s race cars.

    Brothers, a native of Memphis, Tennessee, is no stranger to being honored by his motorsports peers. Among his past laurels was a 2005 induction into the SEMA Hall of Fame—the highest honor bestowed by SEMA.

  • SEMA manufacturing members are invited and encouraged to grab the specs they need for the 2012 Scion iQ during a SEMA Measuring Session on March 15.

    The iQ is the automaker's premium micro-subcompact and features a 1.3L four-cylinder with continuously variable transmission.

    During the session, manufacturers can crawl in and around the new micro-subcompact to take the measurements needed to develop products. Cameras are permitted for this session.

    To participate, RSVP now. The deadline to sign up for the session in March 11. More information is available from Bill Wolf or Kelly Clancy.

  •   wheels
      WTC's Learn & Show afforded the opportunity for wheel and tire manufacturers to display their products.

    The inaugural Wheel & Tire Council (WTC) Learn & Show, held February 9, 2011, at SEMA’s
    Diamond Bar offices, offered three educational sessions and provided
    opportunities for industry leaders and peers to network and display
    their products. These sessions identified industry-specific challenges, sales
    strategies and profit-building techniques and also highlighted installer training.

    Additionally, the one-day event consisted of an open meeting that allowed attendees the opportunity to participate, voice their concerns and help drive council initiatives.

    Led by Russ Fuller of Revolution Supply Co. and Ed Jones of Bartec USA, the first session, entitled “TPMS – Myths and Facts,” discussed tire-pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) use, pitfalls and ways in which to profit.

    “Our first showcase was a great success,” said Fuller. “WTC is committed to delivering value to all SEMA members and the end customer—the retail tire store. This conference delivered valuable education and information to all attendees. WTC looks forward to delivering more of the same throughout the year and at next year’s conference and showcase.”

    The Tire Industry Association (TIA) sponsored the second session, entitled “Training Resources for Retail Tire Technicians,” in which Sean MacKinnon, TIA's director of automotive training development, discussed all aspects of automotive tire service. He also introduced TIA's Certified Automotive Tire Service (ATS) training program, which covered topics ranging from personal protective equipment and general shop safety practices to TPMS diagnostics.

    “I found the WTC Learn & Show to be an excellent experience,” said MacKinnon.
    “The willingness of all attendees to exchange information in order to build a more positive industry was amazing to see. I am looking forward to being a part of many more and am thrilled that I was able to be a part of the inaugural SEMA WTC Learn & Show.”

    In the third session, entitled “Hear What the Pros Think!” attendees listened to industry leaders as they provided their unique perspective on the industry and the potential trends that will shape the future. Presenters included Myles Kovacs, DUB magazine founder and president; Rich Botello, Explorer Competition; and Brock Weld, BMF Wheels.

    “I thought the WTC Learn & Show conference was a valuable resource for any retailer trying to make money in this economic environment,” said Weld. “To have industry leaders share their thoughts collectively in an informal setting is both uncommon and valuable for anyone in the wheel and tire industry.”

    The educational sessions ran concurrently with the Product Showcase, which featured exhibits highlighting new products, business services and equipment. There were also some cool cars on display.

    “It's a true honor to be selected to participate in the first annual SEMA WTC show panel; sitting in the same room with industry giants is always an exciting time,” said Kovacs.
    “SEMA events always remind me just how powerful of an industry we have, and we all need to band together for the betterment of our entire industry.”

    Exhibitors included:

    American Tire Distributors
    Bartec USA
    Konig American
    Mickey Thompson Performance Tires & Wheels
    Nitto Tire USA
    Prestige Autotech Corp.
    Revolution Supply Co.
    Tire Industry Association
    Ultra Wheel
    Vision Wheel
    Wheel Consultants
    Wheel Pros

    truck car
    A custom Ford F-150 fitted with Mickey Thompson Performance Tires & Wheels was on display. A custom Mazda RX-8 Formula Drift car sporting Nitto tires also was on display.
    WTC WTC2
    A Product Showcase highlighted new products, business services and equipment. The event offered opportunities for industry leaders and peers to network and display their products.
    class panel
    The inaugural WTC Learn & Show featured three educational sessions. Industry panelists included (L-R): Ron Bergenholtz, Bergenholtz Racing; Myles Kovacs, DUB magazine; Rich Botello, Explorer Competition; Brock Weld, BMF Wheels; and Joe Schaefer, Konig Wheels.


Business Tools

  • SEMA News - February 2011

    Preparation and Partnership Are the Keys to Success

    This series of SEMA News stories is based on the idea of using reliable and repeatable methods to ensure business success. In coming issues, we will delve into a range of topics aimed at developing Best Practices through knowledge, motivation and skills.

      SEMA News-February 2011-Barret Jackson Auctions
    Perhaps the most significant benefit of consigning a collector or exotic vehicle to an auction is the extremely passionate pool of buyers drawn by such events.

    In the November 2010 issue of SEMA News, we discussed how SEMA-member companies might use auctions to find the perfect vehicle to feature in promotions and advertising. Such vehicles can provide value well beyond their material worth by helping customers realize long-held dreams. In some cases, however, the effectiveness of even the optimal vehicle eventually diminishes, whether because of changing styles, a new marketing direction or other factors. The company may then wish to utilize an auction to divest itself of that property with either a minimal loss or—even better—a net gain because of appreciation. Perhaps the most significant benefit of consigning a collector or exotic vehicle to an auction is the extremely passionate pool of buyers drawn by such events.

    “You’re putting your vehicle in a target-rich environment for people who have been prescreened and qualified to buy it,” said Steve Davis, president of the Barrett-Jackson Auction Co. “At an auction such as Barrett-Jackson, we do everything we can to market and promote your car so that virtually every person on the planet who is looking for your type of vehicle is aware that it’s being sold. The auction process also gives you the opportunity to interact with potential buyers, answer any questions they may have and point out features about the vehicle that they may not have even been aware of.”

    Selecting an auction house requires due diligence, just as with any other commercial relationship. Look for stability, reputation and ethical standards. Barrett-Jackson is perhaps the best known vehicle auctioneer in the world. It has been conducting auctions for nearly 40 years and has developed proven techniques for attracting vehicle buyers. In addition to traditional advertising in large markets, the company has become a well-known attraction on the Speed Channel. But it’s most powerful tool may be its website.

    “Within the auction-house world, no one comes close to Barrett-Jackson with regard to traffic on its website,” said Gary Bennett, the company’s VP of consignments. “That is undoubtedly the most powerful weapon in our arsenal.”

    The site draws about 700 million hits a year, according to the company, and is in the top 10% most-trafficked sites in the two to three weeks leading up to each of its four auctions. It is constantly being updated as vehicles are accepted for sale, and that’s a prime reason why an auction like the one in Scottsdale, Arizona, on January 17–23 was predicted to pull a ratio of about four bidders to every car offered.

    Getting started with one of the Barrett-Jackson auctions is as simple as submitting a preliminary consignment agreement. It is essentially an application that includes complete information about the vehicle, including year, make and model; interior and exterior color; engine size and type; modifications; vehicle condition and more. The agreement is available through the website but may also be obtained via regular mail or fax. Scanned images of the vehicle’s title (front and back) as well as any other pertinent documents and photos of the vehicle are required for an online application.

    When the agreement has been submitted with the appropriate documentation and images, Barrett-Jackson’s staff screens the vehicle and, if it is given preliminary acceptance, it is assigned a lot number. The lot number indicates which day and approximately what time the vehicle will be called to the auction block.

      SEMA News-February 2011-Barret Jackson Auctions
    Sometimes the ultimate buyer will be the guy about three deep behind the one you’re speaking with. Be approachable and knowledgeable.

    “There is a great deal of thought on our side as to where we put the car and how it complements the cars around it during the auction,” Bennett said, “but the seller is in complete control of that process. He can opt in or opt out when he is assigned a lot number. There is a tremendous amount of flexibility in the process until he actually enters into a contract, where he accepts the number.”

    Higher-end vehicles are scheduled for sale during premium hours—within the televised portion of a Barrett-Jackson auction, for instance—and are charged a premium fee for that placement. Scheduling vehicles in that type of priority system also serves buyers whose budgets may dictate concentrating on lower-priced vehicles and who can thus schedule their attendance for the times when vehicles in a selected price range will reach the auction block.

    For an auction, such as Scottsdale, the premium-placement fee might range from $600–$1,500, and Barrett-Jackson charges a flat commission of 8% when the vehicle sells. The fees for other auction companies vary, as does the amount of time after the auction before the seller is paid. Barrett-Jackson guarantees payment no later than 21 banking days from the sale, but fee and payments schedules are another criterion to consider when selecting an auction company.

    Vehicle owners are not required to attend the auction where their property will be sold, but it is in their best interests to be there, auction officials said. Barrett-Jackson also recommended that sellers create a “story board” that can be displayed with the vehicle and is large enough to be read from at least 8 feet away. The board should contain basic information about the vehicle and should be augmented with a handout card that can be taken away by potential buyers, giving them a tangible reminder of the vehicle that may spark further conversation or research as the vehicle approaches its time on the block.

    “The story board and handout should tell enough about the car so that a potential buyer can ask reasonably intelligent follow-up questions of the seller,” Davis said. “That’s when the conversation really starts. They ask how long you’ve had the vehicle, where you got it, the ownership history—things you don’t have the time nor space to answer with a story board or a handout card. It’s important to be approachable during that time, to be as friendly, courteous and knowledgeable as possible. We do everything we can to achieve the ultimate value for your vehicle, but you should also be prepared to carve out some hours to get the best price. And remember as you’re talking to people that others are listening. Sometimes the ultimate buyer will be about three deep behind the guy you’re speaking with.”

    Obviously, the car should be as meticulously maintained and detailed as possible, inside and out, and the seller should make the vehicle as accessible as he is. The hood and trunk should be open for inspection, though it’s fine to request no touching. If the seller must leave the vehicle, he should place a sign on the windshield saying when he will return. As Davis puts it: Cars are sold on the field, not on the auction block.”

    “We work for you, but it’s a partnership,” he said. “We hope that you will put in an effort equal to ours. We want to get as much as we can for each car—but not out of greed. If we feel that a car is of greater value than the current bid, we’re going to try to pass along that information. It’s not only fair to the seller, but it also ensures that the buyer ultimately gets the value he’s bidding on. At the end of the day, it’s all about realizing the maximum value for everyone involved.”

  • SEMA News—February 2011

    With New Tools, It’s Easy

    By Joe Dysart

      SEMA News—February 2011-With New Tools, It’s Easy
    Sophisticated new suites, such as Interactive Marketing Hub, offer marketers dashboards that they can use to create, manage and monitor such integrated programs across all digital media.

    Marketers looking to get a handle on social media as a promotional tool have found an easy solution: Integrate the medium into existing e-mail marketing programs. The pioneers of this method say that a little creative contact with current and potential customers on social networks, such as Facebook, Myspace and Twitter, can add new muscle to tried-and-true e-mail.

    For example, some new tools available with StrongMail’s new Social Studio service enable companies to match e-mail addresses in their databases with “top influencers”—people who have a lot of active friends online—and then reach out to those influencers with rewards, offers and word-of-mouth promotional programs. A number of marketers have already used Social Studio to invite such influencers to alert their Facebook friends about discounts and promotions and then give rewards to those influencers who generate the most conversions in terms of referred sales or other desired actions.

    “The real value of social media marketing is to move beyond merely listening and to start driving actual revenue,” said Paul Bates, U.K. managing director at StrongMail.

    Indeed, the power these programs have to ferret out social activity on the web by simply inputting an e-mail address can be a bit unsettling. For example, Flowtown, a niche service that focuses primarily on mining and manipulating evidence of social networking, invites all comers to its website to input any e-mail and instantly pull up all the web activity associated with that e-mail. I took the bait and, not surprisingly, found a few revelations on my social network activity with e-mail addresses I currently use for such purposes. Flowtown also unearthed a website community I joined—and forgot about—long ago with an old e-mail address I haven’t used in years.


    Granted, marketers need to tiptoe lightly between being seen as reaching out to socially active customers and becoming willing participants in privacy invasion. But it’s clear that the ability to literally monitor every public move made by a person on the Internet can already be discovered, sliced, diced—and turned into a marketing opportunity. In fact, some of the more sophisticated programs now offer marketers dashboards that they can use to create, manage and monitor such integrated programs across all digital media, including e-mail, social, mobile and web.

    ExactTarget’s Interactive Marketing Hub, for example, offers a CoTweet Social module that enables marketers to manage multiple Twitter and Facebook accounts, track conversations and schedule posts while monitoring all the activity with analytics and reports. Another module within the package, Sites, gives marketers the ability to create, design and deploy static, interactive or socially enabled landing pages to support specific marketing campaigns. And still other modules offer enhanced interactivity and monitoring via e-mail and mobile phones. Similar programs with all-in-one solutions include Interact Campaign from Responsys and the aforementioned Social Studio from StrongMail, both long-established e-mail marketing companies.

    This fusion of e-mail marketing and social media seems inevitable. The study “View From the Social Inbox” released earlier this year by Merkle found that active social networkers are also likely to be avid e-mail users. All told, the study found that 42% of social networkers check their e-mail four or more times a day, as compared to just 27% of those who don’t socialize online.

    As the fusion gels, here are some tactics you’ll find marketers already using to combine the two, either by using pre-configured programs or by putting together applications of their own:

    1. Hold Twitter-Driven Contests: The immediacy of this medium perfectly lends itself to time-sensitive contests. Hold an answer-the-question contest once a week and reward the first person with the right answer with company product, company bucks or the like, and watch the tweets come in.
    2. Get the Most From Testimonials: Customer accolades look good on company websites but even better on customer Facebook pages. The most aggressive marketers in this area start by e-mailing a customer for a testimonial on a product or service shortly after the item is purchased. Customers who respond with glowing reviews—and often a related digital photo—get the testimonial posted to the company website. In addition, the authors are e-mailed again with a request to re-post the testimonial on their Facebook accounts or in Twitter tweets to all of their friends. Willing participants often receive a small reward for their service.
    3. Embed Social Network Testimonials in E-mails: Sometimes, spontaneous testimonials pop up on Facebook and Twitter without any prodding whatsoever. Such promotional gifts can be easily cut and pasted into the next marketing e-mail—with a grateful nod, of course, to the author.
    4. Reach Out to Top Influencers in New Ways: With the ability to monitor social networking activity like never before, marketers are becoming very creative about reaching out and partnering. Many of the e-mail/social media suites and services, for example, allow them to input an entire customer e-mail list and instantly identify the e-mail addresses on that list owned by people who have hundreds, thousands or even tens of thousands of friends on Facebook and similar social networks. Marketers can then reach out to these people via e-mail and partner with them on word-of-mouth promotions. Many of the new programs can also track the referrals that these influencers generate and verify which influencers are ultimately creating the greatest number of conversions in terms of sales or some other desired action. Subsequently, la crème de la crème can be rewarded most heavily and primed for a series of unfolding word-of-mouth promotions.
    5. Fish Where the Fish Are: Running an e-mail database through some of these more sophisticated programs can also yield an interesting picture of where your customers “hang out.” You may find, for example, that the greatest percentage of your customers use Twitter more than Facebook. Consequently, you’ll be able to put your digital marketing dollars where they’ll reach the greatest percentage of
      your customers.
    6. Give People a Reason to “Like” You on Facebook: Only a few months old, the “Like” button on Facebook has become one of the most coveted clicks on the marketing world. When someone “likes” your company on Facebook, your product or service becomes quantifiably more important and more desirable. Many Facebookers click the “Like” button in the hopes that they’ll get a freebie from the company. Don’t disappoint. If at all possible, offer a coupon or some other tangible reward for the endorsement.
    7. Optimize Your E-mail for Social Media: This is really step one in any synthesis campaign and should be a part of every e-mail marketing campaign, no questions asked. Such optimization is as easy as adding links to the key social networks in your e-mails, including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. There’s also a ShareThis button you can add to your e-mail that instantly offers clickable access to dozens of social networking sites.
    Joe Dysart is an Internet speaker and business consultant based in Manhattan, New York.
  • Are you hunting for a new job? The “Positions Available” section in the
    SEMA Member Classifieds lists more than 50 job openings around the
    country. Here are some of the latest classifieds posted to the website.

    • Pro Comp, Smittybilt and G2 Axle & Gear is seeking a sales/tech/customer service representative
    for its Compton, California, office. The successful candidate will be responsible for answering heavy incoming sales/tech/customer service calls; completing warranty, tech and call logs; and traveling to all necessary trade shows as a sales representative. Requirements include knowledge of light-truck suspension, tires, wheels, axle and gear components. A minimum of two years of sales support experience is a plus.

    • Anzo USA is seeking a product manager for its Chino, California, office. This position will be responsible for managing inventory levels relating to mass-merchant plan-o-gram items, along with the development of new products and licensed products. The successful candidate should have a minimum of three years of experience, a proven track record of maintaining at least five
    turns per year on in-house inventory and more than five years of experience working
    with an Asian supply chain.

    • Mid America Motorworks, located in Effingham, Illinois, is hiring a web programmer/developer. The successful candidate will be responsible for building, developing and improving multiple web sites; working with the web team, marketing and merchandisers to build and grow a world-class automotive e-commerce site; and developing new web applications as identified by management through packaged and customized applications. Requirements include four to six years of experience working in a fast-paced environment for a medium- to large-sized company.

    • Keystone Automotive Operations (KAO) is hiring an inside sales representative to drive sales growth and profitability in a defined territory, sell the KAO portfolio of products and related services, identify target customers and manage the product mix to increase profitability and market share. The ideal candidate must have experience in establishing customer relationships, be proficient in Microsoft Office, have an automotive background and possess a four-year college degree or equivalent work experience.

New Products and Technology

  • SEMA News—February 2011

    By Linda Spencer

    International Journalists Identify New Products Showcase Winners

      SEMA News-February 2011-Global Media Award Winners-2011 SEMA Show
    SEMA Vice President of Communications and Events Peter MacGillivray (third from the left) poses with representatives from Compton, California-based Pro Comp/Smittybilt at the 2010 SEMA Show International Happy Hour. Company President Sean Angues (pictured holding one of five Global Media Awards the company won at this year’s Show), commented that “the Jeep has been a great platform for us and, more importantly, the entire off-road category has been a great foundation for us to serve the international community.”

    The seventh annual Global Media Awards program found 150 companies being recognized by an international panel of automotive journalists at the 2010 SEMA Show. Twenty-four of the top automotive journalists hailing from 15 important world markets for specialty products rolled up their sleeves, and each selected 10 products from the New Products Showcase that they thought would most appeal to consumers in their home markets. We talked to some of the winners about being selected, their overseas sales plans and how important these established and emerging markets are for their bottom lines.

    “I was ecstatic!” said Jim Stangle, automotive sales channel leader for Malco Marketing Services. The first-time exhibitor won two Global Media Awards by journalists from Norway and Russia. “Our metal-cutting TurboShear Drill Attachment is an amazing product, and our booth traffic at the SEMA Show was everything we could hope for, but Malco Products is still new to the automotive aftermarket. As a first-time SEMA exhibitor, for our product to be singled out from among the thousands of new products at the Show and recognized with two Global Media Awards was just amazing. Our growth strategy for the past dozen years has included an emphasis on export sales. We have been pursuing markets in Norway and the other Scandinavian countries for a long time now. Export sales to Russia are a more recent development. And, of course, we want to develop all of our target markets in these countries. We will certainly incorporate SEMA’s Global Media Award recognition of the Malco TurboShear into promotional campaigns directed to both domestic and international automotive markets. New-product development is the lifeblood of our company, and we plan to be generating more product solutions for auto body repair and restoration professionals in 2011.”

      SEMA News-February 2011-Global Media Awards-Chris Figdore from GMA winner Speed Dawg Racing & Hot Rod Gear for their Von Hot Rod Signature Shift Knob
    From left: Chris Figdore from GMA winner Speed Dawg Racing & Hot Rod Gear for their Von Hot Rod Signature Shift Knob; the Brazilian journalist who selected their product, Miguel Ricardo Puerta of the Brazil-based magazines Carstereo/Hot Rods/Super Speed Magazines, and Von Hot Rod who created the pinstripe artwork for the shift knob. Noted Figdore on his response to receiving the award: “I was stunned and thrilled at the same time. As a second-year exhibitor, it took some time for me to comprehend just how significant this award really is. The SEMA Global Media logo is now displayed on our website homepage and anywhere that the Von Hot Rod Signature Shift Knob is displayed both physically and electronically.” He added that they received a number of inquiries regarding international distribution at the Show and after talking with the journalist who selected their product, they will “definitely look for opportunities to establish a presence in the region.”

    “The Comp Group currently manufactures products mostly for the domestic U.S. market,” said Scooter Brothers of the Comp Performance Group. “However, U.S. vehicles are finding their way into emerging markets and are thus creating exciting possibilities for us. The Middle East, Australia, New Zealand and some of South America are already good markets. The emergence of ‘world platforms’ by the OEs makes it much easier to enter these markets. The fact that Comp Group and its products were recognized by this international group is quite humbling, and we greatly appreciate the honor.”

    Local Motors won three Global Media Awards this year from journalists in Honduras, Mexico and Spain. Ariel Ferreira commented on the experience of his company being selected by overseas journalists and how they intend to capitalize on the win.

    “The SEMA Show is a rush of excitement and potential, and these awards add to it. We have long planned expansion overseas, and these awards have reminded us that we have three major potential markets for consideration.”

    The following are the selections of some of the international judges and why they believe the products fit their home countries.

    Australia/New Zealand:


    Trent Nokolic, Overlander 4WD Magazine

    • EGR Inc., Fender Flare Point-of-Purchase Display—“I thought this was a really eye-catching display. Often in the off-road market, there’s a tendency for merchandise to look boring. This is a great example of why it shouldn’t.”
    • Invis-A-Rack LLC, Invis-A-Rack“The utility and truck market in Australia is massive for both work and play. This product is a quality, innovative solution to otherwise ugly-looking rack systems. If the guys can get it to Australia, it will definitely be popular.”
    • Pro Comp/Smittybilt, No Seize No Loss Caps“This product is perfect for the serious off-roader who needs to set their tire pressure and have it stay there. Perfect for remote off-road travel, too.”
    • Braille Battery, Intensity 480R 10-lb. Group 48 Lithium Carbon-Fiber OEM Performance Replacement Battery“Brilliant lightweight battery. An example of why batteries don’t need to be ugly, heavy and annoying. This product has a multitude of benefits, namely the smaller and lighter features that mean you can mount it almost anywhere for any application.”
    • Pro Comp/Smittybilt, Pick It Up Bag“Another innovative product that I think would work well in the Australian market.”
    • Willpak Industries Inc., Touchless Car Cover“Off-roaders care about their trucks too, and I think this product is excellent for instances where you need to cover your vehicle up in the best and safest possible way.”
    • Cooper Tire & Rubber Co., Discoverer S/T Maxx“Cooper tires are among the most respected in the off-road market in Australia, and this new product is set to continue that tradition. Excellent construction and tread pattern will mean that it performs extremely well off-road.”
    • Bubba Rope, Bubba Rope“This product is an innovative solution to a common off-road problem. Would be a hit in Australia for sure.”
    • Rancho/Dynomax, Multi Shock Carton“Rancho’s products are always of the highest quality, and this shock looks to be the same. Another product that would be well-received in Australia.”
    • Warn Industries, 9.5-cti Electric Winch“Warn winches are among the first choices for any off-roader in Australia due to their strength, quality and longevity. This product is another sturdy release from Warn that looks to be as good as you’d expect.”

    New Zealand

    Alastair Ritchie, Street Machine

    • AAC, The Filler Detective“New Zealand is not large enough to support a standalone auto manufacturing industry, so it relies on a constant stream of imported second-hand vehicles catering to people who cannot purchase new products. A product like this could help people to detect damaged vehicles at all levels from overseas and local dealers through to the end user.”
    • Anderson Art Works, Illuma-FX“New Zealand has a strong tuner culture, and a product as unique and easy to apply as this would add a simple, new detail element for tuners within the import, muscle, off-road and custom motorcycle arenas.”

    • Snow Performance, Stage-3 Camaro ’09-plus
      “Ford and Holden Australia sell vast numbers to the V8 and turbo six-cylinder Falcon and Commodore products on both sides of the Tasman Sea. This product not only is applicable to the Camaro, but can also be fitted to any modern injected vehicle, including the local Falcon and Commodore products. This application would dovetail well into these performance-based tuner markets, especially over the
      summer months.”
    • Snow Performance, SI-Pro“This add-on system to the Snow Performance water-methanol injection tells the vehicle’s aftermarket ECU when the injection is present. This allows for the system to be tuned to suit the injection parameters.”
    • BorgWarner Turbo Systems, Series EFR“Turbo systems are very popular power adders in the tuner market in New Zealand, and finally the second-largest OEM turbo manufacturer in the world has released an aftermarket line combining outstanding efficiency and dual ceramic ball-bearing technology with an ultralight compressor wheel. The result is an exciting, new record-breaking product.”
    • ChaseCam, Diva HD“This new product is an all-in-one hands-free, multi-lens HD video camera system, complete with playback screen, data recorder and GPS logging all packaged in a rugged unit. This application would cater to the well-funded road and rally racer looking to log data for performance and media-based applications.”
    • BD Diesel Performance, Big Daddy Race Turbo/Diverter Valve“New Zealand has a number of large turbocharger applications across the tuner market from drag and road racing to performance 4WD. This product has established
      a unique yet simple way to overcome the renowned turbo lag from large single-turbo applications.”
    • Willpak Industries Inc., Touchless Car Cover“The New Zealand climate is rather unpredictable, with variable humidity in the summer, creating issues for people storing vehicles with regular form-fitting car covers. This product is essentially a compact, collapsible tent for a car. It doesn’t actually touch the paint, so it allows a car to remain mold- and dust-free all year around.”
    • Hella Inc., Rallye 4000 LED“New Zealand’s racing and off-road fraternities have been using the ever impressive Hella Rally 4000 HID product for many years, so for Hella to release a new LED version, it would be for a good reason. Less heat, less power consumption and no requirement for bulb replacement are all features to ensure this new product will reset the bar once again.”
    • Turbosmart USA, Comp-Gate40“New Zealand’s active turbocharging market has a very broad range of applications, from small-capacity engines to motorcycles and even jet-ski watercraft. Turbosmart has produced a unique, bolt-less external wastegate design that is well suited to the above space-restricted applications. “

    The Americas: Brazil

    Eduardo Bernasconi, Fullpower

    • Turbosmart USA, Comp-Gate40“A revolutionary external wastegate with a bolt-less actuator housing, making it ideal for tight, space-restricted engine bays. In our market, the most respected wastegate is Tial. I think we have enough room to get Turbosmart ones, especially for our huge compact car market.”
    • Tesla Electronics Inc., G-Tech/Pro Fanatic Precision Series“Brazilians are G-Tech fans. We don’t have the new one. And we must have it fast. I don’t know if there is a representative in Brazil, but I’d suggest that.”
    • Rancho/Dynomax, VT Table Top Display“Now that Brazilians will need to get their cars working and running great because of an official inspection, it will be a tool to help enthusiasts know about the exhaust system.”
    • Spectre Performance, LS Musclecar Intake“Chevrolet is launching the Camaro officially in Brazil. Before that, it was sold by independent dealers. So it is a good opportunity to bring the cold-air intake.”
    • American Force Wheels, 24x8.25 Direct Bolt-On Chase Dually Wheel“We don’t have such a product in Brazil. Big-truck owners have no choice in custom wheels. It won’t be a high-volume product, but it will sell.”

    • Marshall Instruments, ‘60s Muscle Gauge Set
      “The market for old cars is growing here. And a special part, such as this one, is not in production around Brazil.”
    • Auto Meter Products, Prestige Beige“The old-car market is getting bigger in our country. Builders and owners need these products; we don’t have anything like it.”
    • Brembo North America Inc., GT-R Brake System“Brakes are always an issue in Brazil. We still don’t have a brand that produces high volume in a high-performance system. People who want it must wait to get it done and use what we already have. Brembo is well known and already tried to get here, but nobody can buy something direct from them.”
    • Lawson Industries Inc., QwikCat Spun Converter Box“The Brazilian market simply doesn’t have a high-flow catalytic converter. With the new inspection, it will be a great part to install and keep low emissions.”
    • Prosport Gauges Inc., Evo Series Gauges“The most popular gauge line is from Auto Meter. This is a different and beautiful one that could get some sales down here.”

    Miguel Ricardo Puerta, Crazy Turkey Editora

    • Sondpex Electronics, Sondpex 7“In Brazil, it is the ‘in thing.’ Customizing shops are selling these products like hot cakes. Brazilians enjoy the technology involved in one product where you can access different entertainment.”
    • NextBase-USA, Click 7 Duo Deluxe 7-in. Portable DVD Players for Cars“The idea of adding on or removing so fast and easily captured my attention. Children can be distracted during that long drive. Once you’ve arrived, you can remove and store it for the next use.”
    • Auto Meter Products, Prestige Beige“Chosen because of its beauty and, of course, Brazil’s hot rodders would enjoy this product.”
    • Velocity Wheels, U2-55“I believe these wheels fit in Brazil’s style of wheels.”
    • Shutt Auto, Si Shift Knob“Because of its style of shifting and its beauty. I find it very useful because Brazilians shift gears quite often.”
    • AAC Car Cover Inc., 3D Covers“This idea is great because its originality and interesting themes would integrate very easily in Brazil’s market. Brazil is a fun and tropical country, and you can protect and cover your vehicle in a fun way.”
    • Air Runner, Prius TC-5 Air Suspension“Given the facility and comfort at a finger’s touch, the driver has five options in height for best comfort and vehicle’s good looks. Customizers will love it.”

    • Rosen Entertainment Systems, AV7700 Seatback Entertainment System
      “Keeping in mind children’s constant complaining during long trips, this product will entertain them for hours playing games or watching DVDs.”
    • Speed Dawg Racing, Von Hot Rod Signature Shift Knob“Excellent style and design for hot rods.”
    • IForged Performance Alloys/Forgestar Wheels, Forgestar CF5“Brazil’s market will eat up this style of wheels very easily.”


    Dave Pankew, Performance Auto & Sound Magazine

    • SPC Performance/Light Racing, Subaru Impreza Rear Arm and Toe Link“As the trend to get low with crazy offsets continues, SPC is one of those companies that makes all of those niche products missing in the market and provides an alternative to rarely in-stock Japanese products.”
    • Hypertech Inc., Max Energy Sport Power Programmer“Hypertech’s Max Energy Programmer is a quick and easy way to extract the most out of your late-model car. What we like about the Max Energy is that Hypertech aims to make more power and drivability across the rpm range as well as make modifications work to their highest potential.”
    • KW Automotive North America, ST Suspensions BMW E90 3 Series Coilover“Having installed, tuned and driven this coilover on the race track, I can say this coilover is light years ahead of stock and is one of the top performers on the market. The BMW 335i was like a completely different car running KWs yet still was livable on the street.”
    • NRG Innovations, Gen 3 Quick Release“NRG basically owns this market with high-quality and low-cost quick releases. The latest model looks great, and I might even replace my version 2.5 with it!”
    • Whiteline Automotive, KBR21-22 Subaru Impreza WRX/STI (GC-GD) Heavy-Duty Sway Bar Mount Support“When it comes to complete vehicle suspension upgrades, Whiteline has more products than any other company offers. Just add coilovers, and tear it up.”

    • ACT, Advanced Clutch Technology, T1RR-H01
      “If you have been in the sport-compact game for a while, you have probably owned an ACT clutch at some point. ACT is raising the bar with their new multi-plates for high-horsepower applications.”
    • SPEC Clutches & Flywheels, Super Carbon Clutch and Flywheel Assembly“You don’t always have to order from Japan when it comes to multi-plate clutches, because SPEC multi-plates are made in the U.S.A. Since I run one in my Skyline GT-R that makes more than 600 hp at the crank, I know it can handle the beatings.”
    • GoPro, 3D Camera System“GoPro has stormed the motorsports camera market and continues to expand. Now with 3D technology, they have shown the market how HD video will be captured in the future.”
    • Tenzo Racing Sports/DeModa Concepts, Tenzo Nueve“We have always liked the Tenzo R style of wheels. They are affordable upgrades to enhance the look of your ride, and the Nueve is another hit.”
    • Enkei Wheels, Enkei92“Yes! Finally Enkei is getting with the trends and realizing that everything old is new again. The Enkei92 was on a classic Fairlady Z that drew a lot of attention.”


    Angel Alcala, Supercar

    • Turbosmart USA, Comp-Gate40“With its super-compact design and intelligent flow system, this is a very attractive and innovative product. The use of turbo has given excellent results and is the answer to the driver’s needs for use on the streets as well as trails, along with intelligent fuel savings.”
    • QA1 Motorsports, Wireless Remote Adjust System“This product was very practical and functional to me, with so many position options offering the possibility for the driver to adapt the operation of the vehicle however he or she wants. It has many combinations to satisfy every driver and use. In fact, this product is very much needed in the Latin American market. Here in Mexico, people visit many different types of roads in a single trip.”
    • Rancho/Dynomax, VT Table Top Display“This valve system is indispensable for every racing purpose. It simply takes advantage of the maximum properties of the motor. The display seemed practical, illustrative and attractive.”
    • Procomp Electronics, TK-10301 Turnkey EFI Small-Block Ford Kit-Stage 1“In Mexico City, there are many restrictions about the on-road daily use of old cars, but if you present a more efficient car, you can receive special permission from the government and a special classic-car plate. With this special license plate, the car can be driven without restrictions. I think this product is convenient and efficient.”
    • Bilstein Shock Absorbers, 60mm Mono Tube HD Shock Absorber-Freightliner Trucks“This product seems extremely strong, practical and resistant, and this brand in particular has also been characterized by high performance, durability and aesthetics. This product could be very well received in the Mexican market; pickups are very popular throughout the country and are used for very tough work.”
    • AFCO/Dynatech, ’11 Mustang Long-Tube Header System“This product was made for performance lovers. It can greatly increase the power of the Mustang V8 motor, allowing a greater advantage to the fabulous motor with great durability. I like the design resolution also. It will be welcome in the Mexican market and on all the versions of the Mustang.”
    • ProCharger, Intercooled Stage II System for 6.1 Dodge Hemi Challenger“The Charger is a widely used model in Mexico by the federal police and security companies. I believe that they will sell a lot in this market. The addition of power and ease of installation seemed very convenient and attractive to me.”
    • Local Motors, Rally Fighter“It seems like a beautiful, very attractive and stimulating design, beyond the accessibility in price and apparent construction. I loved it.”
    • Edge Products, Insight CS Kit“Innovative and very practical, it has all the possibilities of reading in the palm of your hand with immediate and exact access. It is an indispensable tool for every vehicle and driver. This type of product is very well received in the Mexican market.”
    • GoPoint Technology, GL2“In every pocket is an iPod or iPad, so to adapt this type of software as a tool is so easy, practical and portable; I believe it is a success. Technologically connectable. It seemed very innovative.”

    Daniel Garcia Solis, V8 Musclecars

    • B&M Racing and Performance Products, Hurst HardDrive Stick“This product is interesting to me, as in Mexico there are many restorers that make innovative changes to musclecars. It’s a modern Hurst gear lever and provides the car with a classic yet new touch.”
    • Metal Rescue T Rust Remover Bath, Metal Rescue Rust Remover Bath“A great product, in my opinion. You can remove rust from any metal part without hard work. Many old parts can get a new look with this product. I loved it, and I bet it’s got a good market in Mexico.”

    • MagnaFlow Exhaust Products, Glass Pack Display
      “I’ve always liked Magnaflow products; they are good quality and always at the forefront of new ideas. Many use this brand, and I think every new Magnaflow product should be publicized.”
    • Coker Tire, Excelsior Stahl Sport“People who are restoring old trucks are always looking for sources to get new parts. They will surely find this type of addition very attractive, as it certainly provides a better look for their truck.”
    • QuietRide Solutions, GM G-Body Firewall Insulator“This insulation is needed in our country. There are other brands available, but they are very expensive. A product with these characteristics could benefit competition in our market, and it is simply a ‘must’ if you are looking for
      noise reduction.”
    • Ascend Industries Inc., Diamond Step Bar with LED Lights“Placing LED lights in this part of the truck is indeed a very original idea. It’s definitely helpful at night and in preventing damage to the truck. I don’t know of a similar product on the Mexican market.”
    • Marshall Instruments, ‘60s Muscle Gauge Set“This type of indicator is very popular among restorers of hot-rod and street-rod cars. I think there is a demand for this kind of product in Mexico among people who take their vehicles to car shows.Adding modern indicators would no doubt provide a distinctive look to their restored vehicles.”
    • Drake Automotive Group, ’65–’67 Classic Ford Mustang Lighted Corral Pony—(PN C5ZZ-8213-LED)—“This may be a very innovative product among Ford Mustang fans in Mexico, enhancing the appearance of the pony. I like the idea of highlighting the pony feature on the Mustang grille. Many Mustang aficionados will use it on their cars.”
    • Got2bwireless, Got2bwireless“I was delighted to see this electronic piece. Nowadays, the use of cell phones while driving is restricted in Mexico, so people are texting, which is even more dangerous than talking on the phone. With this device, text messaging is possible via voice activation. I find it an excellent product for the Mexican market.”
    • Slime, Power Spair“A product that will never become obsolete in your car and one that can get you out of a road emergency. It can be used for various types of tires, so I think it would have a good market to explore in Mexico.”


    Henry Pierini, AutoZulia

    • Orange Electronic Co. Ltd., TPMS+GPS Integration“Tires are one of the most important components on a vehicle, because they are in direct contact with the road. Keeping the correct tire air-pressure levels provides an assurance of higher durability and improved car safety when braking on wet or slippery roads and on long trips. Economy and security are important in Latin America. That is why this system, which allows you to monitor tires, is so convenient. It extends tire life by making sure that they are properly inflated and improves fuel economy as well. Similarly, the built-in GPS is a perfect complement to guide you on the road. Two systems that fit any category of car and that add an electronic component are usually found in high-performance cars.
    • Edge Products, Insight CTS Kit“I think this product is great, as monitoring engine performance is something all of us tuning fans are grateful for. Having full engine data, such as levels, performance in kilometers acceleration times, is excellent. Furthermore, having add-on products, such as a rear camera, is not only a great help for parking maneuvers, but also a state-of-the-art feature.”
    • Ascend Industries Inc., Diamond Step Bar With LED Lights“When customizing a car, aesthetics come first. These stops, or ‘eestribos’ as we call them in Venezuela, provide a classy finish that improves the appearance of any truck they are on. The lighting feature is the ultimate detail of this decorative part. When it comes to cars, Latin Americans want to highlight and differentiate themselves, so I’m convinced that this product can make the difference.”

    • Couplemate, SUV Step
      “This adds another use to the trailer hitch. This harmonious, superbly designed product is used to easily get up on the truck bed or even onto the roof of an SUV to secure luggage. This type of product is very popular in Venezuela. It is simple but functional and helps to make better use of your truck while adding an important stylish element.”
    • Creepex, Body Guard“When you think about improving a garage, you rarely consider a low-profile creeper, such as the ones used by mechanics. It’s a great thing that there is a products like this, that is designed to provide a comfortable support to someone working under the car—a product that is ergonomic, minimizes back problems and serves as a neck support to work more comfortably. Many people in Venezuela do maintenance on their cars in their own homes. For them, this product will be very convenient.”
    • ChempChamp, Stainless Spraygun Cleaner“I find this tool-cleaning station excellent. It also has a treatment system for recycling solvents and products used for cleaning tools. I think this is not only a sanitary and functional product, but also one that helps you save money in the car repair shop.”
    • Go Industries Inc., Quad-Guard“This bumper reinforcement provides a more rugged look and unique style to trucks. What I like best is that it is so easy to install. In addition, it has an elegant but strong finish, adding a rugged yet tasteful appearance to the truck.”
    • Kinetik, KHC1800“Customizing cars is very common these days. And one of the most important aspects is the installation of a good audio system that complements the rest of the vehicle. As this system draws a lot of energy, it is important to have a product like this—a powerful but compact and lightweight battery that provides the necessary power without compromising other electric systems in the car.”
    • Got2bwireless, Got2bwireless“This accessory extends all communication options that most cars have. I think it is a great addition—a complete solution if you want to use hands-free equipment to control the stereo and to access the world and the most important social networks over the Internet from your car. It is great for checking voicemail and sending text messages safely without taking your eyes off the road.”

    Europe: France

    Gerry Blyenberg, ProRider

    • B&M Racing and Performance Products, Hurst HardDrive Stick“Just a very sexy part with ‘60s/‘70s spirit.”
    • Auto Meter Products, Prestige Black“Really nice quality part that we can use on every different car scene.”
    • Meguiar’s Inc., Ultimate Liquid and Paste Waxes“I tested that new liquid in Europe. It’s amazing. We can use it anywhere.”
    • Holley Performance Products, Aluminum HP Series Race Carburetor“Really beautiful and performing carb (can be used for racing and for show cars).”
    • Billet Specialties Inc., Billet Deck Lid Hinge/Draft Billet Steering Wheel/ Impact Road Wheel“As a designer and a hot-rod fan, I can’t live without Billet Specialties. They have been in the tuning scene for a couple of years in Europe.”
    • March Performance Products, Protrack Air Cleaner“How to put clean air with class in your engine! Really nice ‘new-stalgia’ air cleaner.”
    • Lokar Performance Products, Billet-Aluminum Direct Fit Brake and Clutch Pedal Arms“Beautiful product. A safe piece of art.”
    • Marquez Design, ’66–’67 Nova Taillight“I’m a Nova guy. It’s a really cool product.”


    Frank Mundus, Chrom & Flammen

    • ETL-Secure Logic, Secure Logic eZVault“The eZVault really helps to store smaller valuable items such as sunglasses, radio front plates and mobile sat navs, when you briefly leave the car. With the eZVault, you don’t have to put all those bits in the trunk when you go to the shops, for example. Especially for convertible owners, that’s a big convenience plus.”
    • Energy Suspension, 350Z/G35 Hyperflex Polyurethane Master Bushing Set“Poly bushings can really help to sharpen a car’s handling, so a comprehensive bushing kit is always a very welcome upgrade option. As the 350Z is relatively popular (for a sports car) in Germany and Europe, I would guess there are quite a few people who will like this product. I just wish there was a set for my type of car available too!”
    • BrakeQuip, Stainless Brake Hose“Stainless brake hoses are always a great addition to a car’s brake system. The pressure builds up faster, and the pressure point gets more defined. A relatively small investment with astonishing results. The big plus of the BrakeQuip lines is that they are DOT-approved, which should help get them approved by the German TÜV also. This is a very important point, as safety-critical parts cannot be legally changed without TÜV approval.”

    • Paramount Restyling, Challenger Billet Grille
      “The new musclecars, such as Mustangs, Camaros and Challengers, have a small but loyal following. The sporty coupes are the most popular types of American cars in Europe, along with the Corvette. Many of these models’ owners are very interested in giving their cars an even more personal appearance, and most of them are willing to purchase high-quality appearance mods, even if those products come at a considerable price premium. The billet grille for the Challenger gives the front of the car a custom-made look and makes it look even more classy as the finely machined metal replaces the simpler plastic of the original grille.”
    • Retro USA Inc., Styling Kit–’08–’10 Challenger“As already explained, the modern musclecars are relatively popular in Europe too, and most of the owners are seeking to further individualize their cars. The retro styling kits are a nice and quite easy way to make the new musclecars resemble their famous ancestors even more. The Challenger kit suits the car exceptionally well, and the set for the Mustang isn’t bad either.”
    • Prothane Products, Six Shooter Drive Line Coupler“Products that can reduce noise/vibration/harshness are often a great improvement over the OEM parts. Especially for powerful cars that may feature additional power enhancements, those more precisely balanced and longer-lasting parts are a worthwhile alternative to an OEM rubber part. Tuners and racers will be interested in this product.”
    • Trufiber, ’10–Up Mustang Carbon-Fiber Engine Cover“Carbon-fiber parts are always popular, as they give a high-tech racing look. Aside from that, the structure of the material is just nice to look at. This part is even cooler than the new Mustang 5.0’s OEM engine cover, which isn’t half bad to begin with. This product should be no problem to install, so making a Mustang’s engine bay look different from all the other Mustangs at the meeting is easy.”
    • Drake Automotive Group, ’08–Up Dodge Challenger Fuel Door, Satin—(PN MO-21001-S)—“A nice little touch for the Challenger. The original fuel door is sweet, but this billet part just has that more solid appearance and helps distinguish one’s Challenger from others. That extra bit of motorsport-like styling always helps too.”
    • Meguiar’s Inc., Deep Crystal Coating“The Meguiar’s brand is very popular in Germany, especially with tuners and customizers. A protectant that lasts longer than traditional wax would probably be received very well for use on daily-driver cars. The good standing of the Meguiar’s brand name in Europe will help to make this product popular quickly. This is a huge advantage for the brand, as competitors who offer similar coatings, such as Zaino, are not very widely known in Europe.”
    • Tesla Electronics Inc., G-Tech/Pro Fanatic Precision Series“For many people who tune their cars or get tuning work done at a shop, electronic performance meters are a quick and easy way to check if the work on their cars has yielded the anticipated results. In addition to those tasks, the new G-Tech Pro performance meter can help hobby racers and track-day attendees to evaluate their driving. As there are many people all over western Europe who come to Germany to drive on the Nürburgring during the summer months, it is quite obvious there will be a demand for the new G-Tech measuring tool. The G-Tech series is pretty well known in Germany and is, along with the more expensive Drift Box, the best known performance meter in Germany and Europe.”


    Pål André Skogen, Vi Menn Bil

      Auto Meter won six Global Media Awards—the highest number of any company—at this year’s Show. Noted Norwegian journalist Pål André Skogen of Vi Menn Bil, who had selected the product pictured above—Auto Meter’s Prestige Black—explained why he did so. “We have a big classic car scene, and these instruments seem to fit nicely in restored cars that want some modern technology.” Further illustrating the appeal of Auto Meter’s products, journalists from France, Spain, Brazil and Canada also chose the firm’s products as being particularly suited for their markets.

      Auto Meter Products, Prestige Black

      “We have a big classic car scene, and these instruments seem to fit nicely in restored cars that want some modern technology.”
    • Tesla Electronics Inc., G-Tech/Pro Fanatic Precision Series“This is a great way for ordinary people to measure their cars’ accurately, and it is still relatively affordable. It’s also great for more professional users who need exact numbers on their tuned cars.”
    • Cobra Electronics, iRadar Detection System“We have very high speeding fines in Norway (20 mph above the limit on the freeway will give you a $1,000+ fine). This is a great way to conceal the box itself, which the police are not happy about, and still monitor it via your phone.”
    • GoPro, 3D Camera System“Three-D imaging has been inaccessible for most people. One of its best purposes, in my opinion, is action sports. This piece of equipment makes it easy to make 3D footage out of virtually any race, driving session or action sports event.”
    • Chicago Brand, Open-End Ratchet Wrench“All DIYers have been struggling to get that one bolt that’s wedged between something. As we have a lot of these people in Norway, I am certain that this is a product that would do well here.”
    • Rampage Products, GripTrack“The only word to describe why this would be good in Norway is snow. We have a lot of it, and a product that is easy to carry can get anyone out of a bad situation that could have been dramatic. A -25ºC temperature and loads of wind can be dangerous, and it’s important to get out quick.”
    • Parts Unlimited Inc. (P.U.I.), Platinum Edition Door Panels“Again, we have a great classic car community. These seem like a very good replacement for those times that it’s hard to get hold of original parts.”
    • BD Diesel Performance, Big Daddy Race Turbo/Diverter Valve“About 80% or 90% of the new cars sold here are diesel powered. This product will help those who have tuned their diesel cars heavily but do not want a twin-turbo setup.”
    • Quick Draw Store, Tire Detail Kit“This is easy to use, cheap and very practical. Salt is used through the winters to keep ice off the roads, and this also makes the tires gray quick. Most tire-detailing products will stain the rims, but this will prevent that from happening.”
    • Snow Performance, MPG-MAX VW TDI“VWs with TDI engines are very common, but diesel tuning products are not readily available. The most common tuning is power boxes.”

    Espen Skogen, Bil Revyen

    • AAC, The Filler Detective“The Filler Detective is a fantastic product. Anyone dealing with classic or used cars in one way or another would find many uses for—at auctions, restoring cars, when buying a used car, the possibilities are endless. Great usability and a rugged design makes it easy to use, and the price isn’t bad either!”
    • Anderson Art Works, Illuma-FX“This was a no-brainer for me. The Illuma-FX is a perfect example of a product that gives the entire custom-car scene new opportunities. Everyone is always on the lookout for new and innovative ways to customize their rides, and Illuma-FX is something new and fresh that I am sure many throughout the scene will embrace. I am absolutely sure we will see many creative uses of this product throughout the scene in the future.”
    • Coastal Marketing Inc., Full Contact Wrench“There are many different wrenches and designs on the market, but I think the full contact wrench from Coastal Marketing is one of the more innovative I have seen in a while. Great design, and it works well!”
    • Ingersoll Rand, Hammerhead“Another example of a well-known tool—in this case, the impact wrench—which is redesigned and suddenly finds a lot of new uses. The low profile and smart design of the Hammerhead made it an easy decision for me.”

    • Malco Products Inc., TurboShearHD
      “It was the compact design of the TurboShearHD that made me choose this for a product award this year. Metal-cutting equipment is often bulky; not so with the TurboShearHD.”
    • Wobblin Wheel, Wobblin Wheel“Wow, what a fresh, new design! The Wobblin Wheel just made me stop dead in my tracks—and I have to say that doesn’t happen often when it comes to wheel designs. Definitely not a wheel for everyone, but on the right car, this will look amazing.”
    • BD Diesel Performance, Big Daddy Race Turbo/Diverter Valve“Great design to minimize turbo lag and spool up times on big turbos, which makes it possible to get the best from two worlds!”
    • Trailer-Lift, Trailer-Lift“In Norway, both rally-related events and track days are popular, and people are bringing all kinds of jacks and different means to get wheels changed and repairs done as quickly as possible. With the Trailer-Lift, all their problems are eliminated. They can get things done in a fraction of the time, and it even makes it possible for several friends to go together and share one Trailer-Lift.”
    • Rampage Products, GripTrack“Even though the GripTrack is designed to get you out of mud and wet grass, I am sure everyone can see the market potential in a country with several feet of snow for five or six months out of the year.”
    • Extreme Outback Products, No Seize No Loss Cap“Even though this product comes from the 4WD guys at Extreme Outback, it’s something everyone can use. The seal prevents deflation—even in the event of a core failure with the valve—while the strap keeps the cap in place when you inflate. I couldn’t count how many caps I’ve lost over the years. I have to say, I wish I had thought of this myself!”

    United Kingdom

    Tony Tobias, Racecar Engineering

    • Comp Performance, Comp Cams ’11 Ford DOHC 5.0L Coyote 4V V8 Integral Balance Camshafts“This is an exceptionally well-engineered product, designed and made available for an important sector of the high-performance market.”
    • MSD Ignition, Digital 6AL“MSD is the world’s leading manufacturer of high-performance ignition systems. This is a compact and high-spec digital system at an affordable price.
    • JE Pistons, SRP Professional Pistons for Chevy LS Engines“This JE piston offers a low-cost option to improve performance without sacrificing dependability. Manufactured to the usual JE high-spec standards, nothing is compromised.”
    • Race Ramps/Brute Ind., Hook-Nosed Rack Ramps (RR-RACK-HN14-5)—The best new product at the SEMA Show. A must for every racer, it will be the best-selling product of 2011.”
    • Comp Performance Group, Comp Cams Ultra Pro Magnum XD Rocker Arms“Beautifully engineered rockers at a realistic price.”
    • Braille Battery, Micro-Lite ML7S 2-Pound Lithium Performance Starting Battery“Possibly the finest lightweight battery in the world. Engineered to aerospace specifications. Racing teams demanding the best will find it with this
      superb battery.”
    • Mahle Motorsports, Ford 5.0L Modular PowerPak“A new product from Mahle, a company whose reputation for quality and innovation are unsurpassed.”
    • ARP Inc., Ultra-Torque Fastener Assembly Lubricant“ARP knows the fastener business inside out. This new product addresses all the problems associated with assembly situations.”
    • JE Pistons, Asymmetrical Forged Piston Design“The new design from JE optimizes new forging processes using CAD/CAM design and manufacturing processes. The new piston is already receiving outstanding reviews.”
    • Comp Performance, Quarter Master 7.25i Mitsubishi Evo 8-Leg Race Clutch Kit“The Mitsubishi Evo eats clutches, but not this one. Will handle all the power and then some.”
  • Kia Soul

    Spy shooter Brenda Priddy and her stealthy network recently caught a significantly updated Kia Soul testing near the Arctic Circle. This face-lifted compact was part of a large group of other Hyundai/Kia prototypes when these images were snagged.

    While the big design trend a few years ago was fender vents, according to Priddy, lately many OEMs seem to be mimicking Audi's LED daytime running lights. Judging by the image above, Kia will not be an exception to the rule. However, Priddy reported that Kia may not have wanted us to see that particular feature as they were soon turned off after the first photos of the lights were taken.

    Judging from the extensive camouflage, Priddy says the Soul will get significantly redesigned front and rear fascias. New headlights and taillights are almost certainly in store as well. The styling on the door panels may also be modestly freshened.

    Watch for more details to emerge in the coming months.

    Kia Soul 2012

    Photo Credit: Brenda Priddy & Company

Law & Order

  • The California Supreme Court ruled that merchants can no longer ask their customers for ZIP codes during credit-card purchases since the request violates the state’s consumer-protection law. The 1990 law prohibits businesses from requesting and recording the cardholder's "personal identification information." The court ruled that the prohibition includes a ZIP code.

    The court distinguished between merchants that send the ZIP code to its own company database and merchants, such as gas stations that verify a customer’s identity by sending the ZIP code directly to a bank or credit card company. The latter practice is still legal; however, the former is not because the court contends that companies can use the information to market its own product or sell to other businesses. Retailers can still request ZIP codes when selling and shipping products online or for in-store cash purchases.

    For more information, contact Stuart Gosswein at

  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has established a new safety standard intended to prevent occupants from being ejected through side windows during a vehicle rollover or side-impact crash. Vehicle manufacturers will have flexibility in determining how to meet the standard’s performance requirements. Anticipated automaker alternatives include using advanced window glazing, making side airbags larger and more robust or tethering side airbags to the base of the vehicle’s pillars.

    The new safety standard, Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 226, will be phased-in over a four-year period beginning in 2013. Manufacturers of altered vehicles and vehicles produced in multiple stages are given more time to comply. The rule applies to all vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000 lbs. or less.

    The safety standard was required under a 2005 law intended to reduce deaths and injuries associated with rollover and side-impact crashes. The same law spurred other NHTSA safety rules, including installation of electronic stability control systems and side air bags and strengthening of the roof crush standard. While the rule only applies to new-vehicle manufacturers, it is nevertheless illegal to market a product that does not conform to an applicable FMVSS or would take a vehicle out-of-compliance with a safety standard (“make inoperative”).

    For more information, contact Stuart Gosswein at

  • As Congress continues the lengthy debate to repeal the costly 1099 reporting requirement included in last year’s health care law, SEMA is again pushing for immediate action. SEMA President and CEO Christopher Kersting sent a letter to the House Ways and Means Committee requesting immediate consideration of proposed repeal legislation. The Committee has since approved a repeal bill (HR 4) and a funding mechanism (HR 748), sending the important bill to the House floor for a vote. The Senate has already approved a repeal measure.  

    Unless the law is repealed, businesses will be required to issue 1099 forms to all vendors from whom they buy more than $600 worth of goods or services in any year, beginning in 2012. The provision has garnered widespread opposition on Capitol Hill, and President Obama called for its repeal during his State of the Union address. The only obstacle to eliminating the provision has been finding an offset to recoup lost revenues. The requirement was intended to prompt vendors receiving 1099 forms to declare and pay taxes on the income. SEMA contends that it will fail to collect much under-reported income, but it will succeed in punishing small-business taxpayers that already comply with U.S. tax law.

    SEMA is working independently and with four other industry coalitions to repeal the 1099 provision. For more information, please visit or contact Dan Sadowski, congressional affairs manager, at

  • SEMA-model legislation that would create a vehicle-registration classification for street rods and custom vehicles, including kits and replicas, and provide for special license plates for these vehicles, has been introduced in the New Mexico State Legislature. The bill defines a street rod as an altered vehicle manufactured before 1949 and a custom as an altered vehicle at least 25 years old and manufactured after 1948. The bill has been referred to the New Mexico Senate Corporations and Transportation Committee for consideration.

    Among other things, the measure allows for the use of non-original materials, creates a titling and registration criterion that assigns these vehicles the same model-year designation as the production vehicle they most closely resemble, only holds street rods, customs and replicas to the equipment standards specified by law during the model year listed on the title of the vehicle and provides for a one-time registration and plate fee of $100. 

    For more information, click here. For details, contact Steve McDonald at

  • SEMA-model legislation that would create a vehicle-registration classification for street rods and custom vehicles and provide for special license plates for these vehicles has been reintroduced in the Texas State Legislature. The bill defines a street rod as an altered vehicle manufactured before 1949 and a custom as an altered vehicle at least 25 years old and manufactured after 1948.  

    The bill has been referred to the Texas House Transportation Committee for consideration. The measure allows for the use of non-original materials and creates a titling and registration criterion that assigns these vehicles the same model-year designation as the production vehicle they most closely resemble. In addition, the bill only holds street rods, customs and replicas to the equipment standards specified by law during the model year listed on the title of the vehicle. 

    For more information, click here. For details, contact Steve McDonald at

  • The Wisconsin Department of Transportation has officially withdrawn its proposal (Chapter Trans 123) to prohibit the registration of imported vehicles manufactured after 1967 that do not meet Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS). SEMA and the SEMA Action Network opposed the proposal. U.S. law specifically exempts imported vehicles that are 25 years old and older from these safety standards. Trans 123 offered no such reasonable exemption. The regulation would only have permitted the continued registration of subject vehicles that are already legally registered in Wisconsin, but only until they are transferred to a new owner.

    Among other things, the proposal failed to recognize the fact that collector vehicles are overwhelmingly well maintained and infrequently driven, was inconsistent with federal law and would prohibit the registration of vehicles coming in from other states that have already been proven safe on U.S. roads.

    For details, contact Steve McDonald at

Global Update

  • Australia is one of the easiest places in the world to do business. Need a distributor or manufacturer? Join the United States Pavilion. The 2011 edition of the biennial Australian Auto Aftermarket Expo will be held in Melbourne May 12–14.

    For more information, contact Christine Ellis, the Pavilion organizer, at 734/453-3500 or by e-mail at

  •   china
      SEMA members participating in the first SEMA CIAPE China Business Development Conference examine a customized Jeep at the CIAPE show.

    Vehicle sales in China are growing across the board, but the luxury and SUV segments are increasing at the fastest rate, propelled by rising incomes and a wave of second-car buyers with a desire for something more upscale. That’s just one trend that bodes well for SEMA members eyeing the China market for future sales.

    First, the big picture. China’s passenger-car market was the world’s largest in 2010. It grew by 33.17% compared to the previous year to 13.76 million units, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM). J.D. Power and Associates forecasts China’s passenger-car market will hit 20.9 million units by 2015. That includes cars, SUVs and MPVs.

    “The luxury-car and SUV segments are gaining share in recent years, especially from 2008,” Jenny Gu, a senior analyst with J.D. Power in Shanghai, told SEMA. “One major reason is that the percentage of second-time buyers is increasing, and their first choice is an SUV or a luxury car.”

    In 2010, SUVs accounted for 14% of the passenger-vehicle market; that will grow to 16% by 2015. Luxury cars accounted for 3.8% of the market in 2010; that will grow to 4.7% by 2015.

    Based on new-vehicle registration data,
    SUV imports accounted for 51.7% of all imports in 2010, says Fourin’s China Automotive Intelligence Report No. 24, December 2010.

    Why SUVs?

    “These models offer great performance on rough roads and higher safety than ordinary passenger cars,” says the report.

    More than half the buyers of imported cars in China were young, rich men. Some 66.8% of the buyers were male; 88.3% used cash; more than 90% were private owners; and men in their 30s and below accounted for 55% of the total, making China’s luxury-car purchase group the world’s youngest, said Fourin. The largest portion of the imported cars—some 34.6%—cost more than 500,000 RMB, ($75,900 USD).

    Rising incomes in China’s tier-one and tier-two cities make them especially hot markets for luxury cars, said Gu. Residents in smaller cities are also developing an appetite for luxury cars, however, and manufacturers, such as Mercedes-Benz and BMW, are adding dealerships there.

    Of China’s luxury-car consumers, J.D. Power’s Gu said: “When demand becomes more diverse, some customers pursue trendy or niche markets. They like to be special, especially for those young elite or those who come back from foreign countries. They prefer import models. One reason is the design is the global trend. Also, there is a sense that the quality is better than locally produced models.”

    SEMA is sponsoring a members-only trip to Beijing, China, September 7–10, 2011. Participants will have the chance to network and meet one-on-one with distributors and retailers of specialty products from throughout China.

    For more information, visit or contact Linda Spencer at

People, Places, & Racing News

  • SEMA News—February 2011

    SPC Sets Example for Effective Political Action

      SEMA News-February 2011-From the Hill-SEMA PAC
    SPC Select Committee members were recognized for winning the Council Challenge at the 2010 SEMA Show (from left) James Yim, Chris Vopat, MK Sathya, Famous Rhodes, Brian Reese, Mike Lovro, Tyler Tanaka, Regis Finn, Gigi Ho, Chris Dye, Ed Burgy, Tracie Nuñez, George Ciordas and Malen Reger.

    After an exciting competition late last year, the Street Performance Council (SPC) Select Committee earned the distinction of winning the 2010 SEMA Political Action Committee (PAC) Council Challenge. The contest ran between August and October, and the winner was the council Select Committee that was both 100% “PAC approved” and contributed the highest dollar amount.

    The process of becoming PAC approved means filling out an authorization form required by federal law. The form allows SEMA to share information about the PAC. By filling out a form that may be accessed from the newly formatted SEMA PAC website members are only authorizing SEMA to communicate information regarding the PAC. Members are under no obligation to contribute.

    To recognize the victory, SPC received $1,000 to be used toward a council activity of its choice, an acknowledgement banner displayed in the Central Hall at the 2010 SEMA Show and reserved seating and a special announcement at the SEMA Show Industry Awards Banquet. At the SPC Reception, Select Committee members were personally commended for their leadership and teamwork as PAC Chairman Doug Evans presented SPC Chairwoman Tracie Nuñez with a plaque commemorating the group’s Council Challenge success.

    “I am honored to accept this award on SPC’s behalf in recognition of our commitment to SEMA PAC,” said Nuñez. “I hope this encourages fellow council leaders and all SEMA members to become involved in this important industry resource.”



    Street Performance Council Select Committee Members
    • Tracie Nuñez, Advanced Clutch Technology (Chairwoman)
    • Tyler Tanaka, Cie Studios (Chair-Elect)
    • Ed Burgy
    • George Ciordas, KW Automotive North America
    • Baadal Deliwala, Titan Motorsports Inc.
    • Chris Dye, Club RSX
    • Regis Finn, B&M Racing and Performance Products
    • Gigi Ho, Digital Performance Inc.
    • Mike Lovro, Auto Meter Products
    • Oliver Rathlein, Eibach Springs Inc.
    • Albert Reda, Vibrant Performance
    • Brian Reese, Competition Cams
    • Malen Reger, FND Clothing
    • Famous Rhodes, eBay Inc.
    • MK Sathya, Keystone Automotive Operations
    • Chris Vopat, ProMedia LLC
    • James Yim, Falken Tire
    • Chris Thomson, Airaid Premium Filter Co. (SEMA Board of Directors Liaison)

    Said Evans: “We are proud of all the SEMA councils that participated in this contest, which yielded significant member awareness of our efforts in Washington and additional financial contributions to our industry’s PAC. With the momentum created by the Council Challenge, SEMA PAC can continue to build and strengthen relationships with lawmakers supportive of our industry and small-business issues. With its exceptional effort, the SPC Select Committee exemplified the involvement and dedication necessary for us to thrive in this current economic and legislative environment.”

    SEMA PAC allows SEMA members to pool their resources for a common political purpose. Many issues important to SEMA members are being debated in Washington—from regulatory reform to intellectual property protection and health care. Resolving these issues with a positive outcome for the industry hinges on member support. To learn more about SEMA PAC or to become involved today, please visit or contact Congressional Affairs Manager Dan Sadowski at

    SEMA PAC—Your Industry. Your Voice. Your Future.



    ONE WEEK TO GO! NHRA FULL THROTTLE DRAG RACING SERIES READY TO BEGIN 2011 WITH KRAGEN O’REILLY AUTO PARTS NHRA WINTERNATIONALS: After nearly three months off, the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series is just one week away from the 2011 season and the Kragen O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals at historic Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, California. The opening race of the season also marks the start of a season-long celebration as the NHRA celebrates its 60th anniversary year, and the festivities begin in Pomona. Some of your favorite drivers will be descending on Auto Club Raceway at Pomona next weekend, including Top Fuel world champion Larry Dixon and seven-time world champion Tony Schumacher. Funny Car 15-time world champion John Force will be back, hunting for his 16th world title, with teammates Robert Hight and Mike Neff hot on his heels. Fans will also have the opportunity to participate in the 60th celebration and see some of their favorite legendary drivers in person. NHRA Legend Don “The Snake” Prudhomme will be on hand all weekend meeting and greeting fans and signing autographs, and he’ll have some of his most famous and memorable cars on display in the pits in the special “Snake Pit” area.

    “It’s an honor to be honored at the track,” said Prudhomme. “It’s something that was a hobby with junkyard parts when I started out. So it’s quite amazing to me, and I’m thrilled to play a part in the 60th anniversary.” Don’t miss out on your opportunity to be a part of history as NHRA kicks off its 60th anniversary in one week. Tickets are still available for the Kragen O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals, by clicking here.

    nhra2 nhra3 nhra4

    NHRA ANNOUNCES SPECIAL FREE HARD CARD PROGRAM AS PART OF THE 60TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION: The NHRA has announced that all past national event-winning drivers in the current professional categories, as well as Top Eliminator dating back to 1955 and Pro Stock Truck from 1998 to 2001, will be eligible for a free permanent hard car credential for the 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Season. The categories eligible include Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock, Pro Stock Motorcycle, Pro Stock Truck and Top Eliminator.

    “In celebration of our 60th anniversary, it is only fitting that we welcome with open arms our past drivers who have been such a part of our history and have made the NHRA what it is today,” said NHRA President Tom Compton.

    The special hard car credential program is designed to honor the stars of the sport and encourage them to come out and partake in the 60th anniversary celebration throughout the 2011 season. The NHRA will be marking the 60th anniversary of the formation of NHRA with a year-long celebration that will pay homage to the evolution of the hot rod, the impact of the sport’s legendary racers and the lifeblood provided by the many millions of loyal and passionate NHRA fans. For more information, visit

    TRI-CITIES FORD DEALERS ANNOUNCE SPONSORSHIP OF THUNDER VALLEY NATIONALS: Bristol Dragway officials and NHRA announced last week the Tri-Cities Area Ford Dealers as a new partner in Thunder Valley. The agreement, which is for the next four years, includes title sponsorship of Bristol flagship event, the June 17–19 Ford NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals presented by Your Tri-Cities Area Ford Dealers. The group has already been in partnership with Bristol Motor Speedway for the past two years. Ford Motor Company is a staunch supporter of NHRA Drag Racing. Ford led the charge to help make the sport safer through several safety initiatives, including the Ford Blue Box data-collection system on all Top Fuel and Funny Cars. Ford also worked with longtime John Force Racing and NHRA to develop a new Funny Car Chassis to help protect drivers and is also the official vehicle of NHRA.


    KRAGEN O’REILLY AUTO PARTS NHRA WINTERNATIONALS, AUTO CLUB RACEWAY AT POMONA, February 24–27: The 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series and 60th anniversary season of NHRA kicks off at historic Auto Club Raceway at Pomona at the 51st running of this event. Defending event winners include Larry Dixon (Top Fuel); John Force (Funny Car); and Mike Edwards (Pro Stock). For tickets, call 800/844-NHRA or go online at For media credentials, please contact Director of Public Relations Michael Padian at

    TIRE KINGDOM NHRA GATORNATIONALS, GAINESVILLE RACEWAY, March 10–13: The second stop in the 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series and first race for the Pro Stock Motorcycle class, this showdown in the swamplands of Florida will bring added excitement as the NHRA celebrates its 60th anniversary. Defending event winners include Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel); Tim Wilkerson (Funny Car); Jason Line (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle). For tickets, call 800/844-NHRA or go online at For media credentials, please contact Senior Communications Manager Scott Smith at

    SUMMITRACING.COM NHRA NATIONALS, THE STRIP AT LAS VEGAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY, April 13: The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series makes the first of two stops in Sin City and its third stop of the 2011 season. Defending event winners include Larry Dixon (Top Fuel); John Force (Funny Car); and Mike Edwards (Pro Stock). For tickets, call 800/644-4444 or go online at For media credentials, please contact Media Relations Manager Zak Elcock at



    Veteran NHRA driver Del Worsham on earning his Top Fuel License during pre-season testing in Florida last week: “It was unreal; Top Fuel cars have changed a lot since I last drove them. It accelerates very hard. The sensation of speed is so great in a Top Fuel car, and I didn’t remember that. You can just really feel the power and how fast you’re going. Dragsters are faster than Funny Cars by nature, but sitting so low, you can see things going by, which gives you a reference of how fast you’re actually going; Funny Cars don’t give you that at all.”



    1971, BIG DADDY BEGINS REAR-ENGINE REVOLUTION: Nearly a year after an exploding transmission in his front-engine Top Fuel dragster severed half of his right foot, Don Garlits debuted and won the season-opening Winternationals in a new rear-engine dragster that paved the way for today’s contemporary Top Fuelers.



    1983: That’s the last year that a driver won both the Kragen O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals and Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals in the same year, with the events being the first and second races of the season. The NHRA changed the schedule in 1989, and after 22 years, the two races are back to the one and two spots on the schedule. Frank Hawley won both races in Funny Car in 1983.



    …that zMAX Dragway has been added to the 2011 NHRA Southeast Division Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series schedule to host a round of competition? The event will be held August 26–28 in conjunction with the popular North Carolina track’s Food Lion AutoFair event, billed as the world’s largest automotive extravaganza. For more information, visit

  • Adam Satzman Joins Eastern Catalytic

    Eastern Catalytic
    named Adam Satzman the company's catalog/data
    manager. Satzman will assist in company-related decisions regarding
    corporate acquisition of software- and IT-related products, and he will
    become acting spokesperson for AAIA-related publications and technical
    service advisor. Prior to joining Eastern Catalytic, Satzman was the
    catalog specialist and technical advisor for GMB North America.

    Lokar Named Official Shifter of Goodguys

    Lokar Performance Products
    was named the Preferred Shifter of the Goodguys Rod & Custom Association. Founded in 1988 in Knoxville, Tennessee, Lokar has long been a signature marketing partner of Goodguys. This year, the company's trailer will be seen at select Goodguys events, and the company also announced its return to participate in the Choice Product Giveaway Program.

    CWR Electronics to Join the Relay for Life
    The team from CWR Electronics will participate in the Relay for Life 2011—an event that raises money to fight cancer. This marks the second year in a row the company will participate in the event; the team was the top fundraising team in 2010, bringing a total of $20,811.54. To find out how you can help the CWR team, e-mail

    Know someone who has moved on or up? Have a company announcement to make? Let us know. Send press releases and information for Movers & Shakers to

  •   ATC
      On February 8, a fire started in one of four buildings at ATC Truck Covers in Garnett, Kansas. No one was injured, and the company hopes to be back to full production in a new facility within 90 days.

    On February 8, ATC Truck Covers—a fiberglass truck cap and tonneau
    cover manufacturer in Garnett, Kansas—had a fire start in one of its
    four buildings around 1:00 a.m. ATC builds fiberglass truck caps,
    tonneau covers, sliding-bed systems and other fiberglass products.

    “We’re incredibly thankful that no one was injured,” said ATC Truck Covers President and former TCAA (now LTAA) Chairman Bobby Combs. “From what we can tell at this point in time, the safety features of our chemical storage area appear to have worked as designed, preventing any chemicals from being released into the environment.”

    ATC has assessed the damage to its 70,000-sq.-ft. main production building, and it appears to be a total loss. However, the company's goal is to minimize any interruption of service to its customers. ATC has made arrangements to move its production to one of the three other buildings it has on the same property. Production will be limited while the company searches for another facility at or near its Garnett location.

    ATC has a long history in the SEMA community and the automotive aftermarket and is committed to rebuilding. In as little as 90 days time, ATC hopes to return to full production with a better facility, equipment and systems that will allow the company to produce an even higher-quality product. It also plans to introduce new products to the automotive aftermarket.

    The company would like to thank the community, employees, customers, vendors and its competitors for the support it has received during this period.

  • HIGH SPEEDS: NASCAR officials have lowered the tolerance level of the pressure-relief valve on the radiator, hopefully forcing drivers to pull out of the draft to cool down their engines and eliminate the excessive speeds seen during the Budweiser Shootout.

    Thanks to an endowment left by midget racing historian Crocky Wright, the USAC Mopar National Midget Series Night Before the 500 at Lucas Oil Raceway in Clermont, Indiana, will pay the winner $20,000 this year.

    RENOVATE: Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Arizona, will be resurfaced and reconfigured later this year. As part of the project, the dogleg on the backstretch will be made even more pronounced.

    GET FUELED: Beginning in 2012, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will switch from carbureted engines to fuel-injected powerplants. The series will test the technology throughout 2011 before implementing the program next year.

    Twin Ring Motegi in Motegi, Japan, won’t return to the IZOD IndyCar Series schedule in 2012.

    Kurt Busch used a push from Jamie McMurray to capture the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Budweiser Shootout at Daytona International Speedway Saturday night.

    Memphis International Raceway, previously known as Memphis Motorsports Park, has officially joined the International Hotrod Association family.

    Lucas Oil will sponsor the POWRi National Midget Series beginning this season.

    Bobby Gerhart drove to his seventh ARCA Racing Series victory at Daytona International Speedway Saturday night, holding off Chris Buescher for the triumph.

    Dale Earnhardt Jr. will start from the pole for next Sunday’s Daytona 500 after his 186.089 mph lap at the 2.5-mile superspeedway.

    RIP: Veteran Indianapolis Motor Speedway announcer Tom Carnegie, who worked at the speedway from 1946 until his retirement in 2007, died Friday. He was 91.

    SUBSCRIBE: National Speed Sport News has been published weekly since 1934. To subscribe to National Speed Sport News, click here for more information.

  • PRO Logo  
    Visit PRO's website.  

    Restylers: Help Shape the Industry’s Future

    On March 29, 2011, the Professional Restylers Organization (PRO) will host its Long-Range Planning meeting (LRP) at Wyotech Blairsville in Blairsville, Pennsylvania. The LRP serves as a critical council function and helps to determine the group’s agenda over the next 12 to 24 months. As PRO looks to the future to assesses how it can best represent the restyling segment of the specialty-equipment industry, it becomes increasingly evident that participation will be a fundamental building block.

    The industry is evolving and whether it be technology, sales, technical training or networking, the challenges and opportunities your business faces on a daily basis is not unique. As a collective body, we become more in tune and better suited to move forward and prosper. This starts with your input and will continue through PRO’s effort.

    The LRP will take place the day following PRO’s second-annual Technical Skills & Training Conference. This must-attend event delivers tremendous value for attendees by offering premier hands-on training and networking opportunities. This year’s conference will also feature a dedicated session on "Sales Training." The panel discussion will feature industry insight from Jon Titman of Automotive Essentials and a dealership representative. The panel will be moderated by PRO Chairman Karl Stearns and focus on best practices for maximizing sales and building dealer relationships.

    Get Involved. To participate in the PRO LRP and TSTC event, visit

    Twelve PRO-Member Manufacturers to Present Training Workshops at TSTC 2011

    The second annual Technical Skills & Training Conference, sponsored by SEMA’s Professional Restylers Organization (PRO), will feature a dozen PRO-member accessory manufacturers presenting hands-on training in a wide range of product categories. The conference, open to PRO members as well as nonmembers, is slated for Monday, March 28, at Wyotech Blairsville in Blairsville, Pennsylvania. During the all-day event, manufacturers will deliver practical information and training aimed at sharpening installation and business skills. Product categories run the gamut from sunroofs, leather interiors, towing equipment and spray-on bedliners to paint protection film, wraps, graphics, mobile electronics and stainless steel accessories.

    The manufacturer roster includes Artlux, Cequent Performance Products, Classic Design Concepts, Eagle Enterprises, Innovative Creations, Katzkin Leather, Restylers’ Choice, Roadwire, Rosen Entertainment, Signature Automotive Products, 3M and Webasto Product North America. Each week, for the next six weeks, two participating manufactuers will be highlighted briefly in SEMA eNews, beginning with Artlux and Signature Automotive.

    As a manufacturer of spray-on bedliners, Artlux offers restylers and accessory specialists the opportunity to diversify their business and differentiate themselves from their competitors by creating a “business within a business” that will help generate a new revenue stream and bring them one step closer to being a one-stop shop. During its training session, “Spray-on Bedliners 101,” Artlux experts will share their experience and knowledge of the business by demonstrating different types of equipment, explaining solvent-based and solid chemicals, sharing the best techniques for prepping and spraying, as well as presenting the profitability of adding spray-on liners to a shop’s current product mix.

    Signature Automotive Products, formerly Inalfa Sunroofs, is a manufacturer and distributor of aftermarket roof systems. The Signature line of inbuilt sunroofs includes four models that feature different glass and overall dimensions for applications ranging from sporty compacts to flat-roofed SUVs and trucks. The sunroofs incorporate the Mark Optimum OE mechanism developed by Tier One supplier Inalfa Roof Systems. Other recent enhancements include upgrades to the side rails, interior mounting frame, water channels, electronics and the external trim ring and, for the Signature 845 sunroof, curved side rails and other components designed specifically for ease of installation in sloped-roof vehicles. Signature’s trainers and technical experts will provide step-by-step training in the installation of its sunroofs, including cutting the vehicle roof, installation of the sunroof module, electronic hook-up and headliner wrapping.

    For more information on the Technical Skills & Training Conference, including the attendee registration form, go to

    PRO Releases Preliminary List of Speakers

    On March 28, 2011, the Professional Restylers Organization (PRO) will host the second annual Technical Skills & Training Conference at Wyotech Blairsville in Blairsville, Pennsylvania. Every restyling, auto trim and accessories business needs tools to get the job done right—not just tools of the trade, but also resources to sharpen installation and business skills. That’s why PRO has teamed up with WyoTech Blairsville to deliver:

    • Installation Workshops
    • Hands-on Training
    • Product Knowledge
    • Sales-Training Seminar
    • Networking

    Leading the way will be:

    1. Artlux, TOFF Sprayed-on Bedliners: Artlux is a vertically integrated chemical company that conducts research and development, manufactures and distributes TOFF all over the world. By owning every part of the process, Artlux prides itself in making high-quality protective coating systems while maintaining a green standard.
    2. Classic Design Concepts: Since 1990, Classic Design Concepts has been an innovator in the design and manufacturing of quality systematic restyling components. Using OE-certified materials and manufacturing procedures that meet or exceed OE standards, CDC’s classic restyling designs offer factory fit and finish, with one-of-a-kind appeal.
    3. Cequent Performance Products: Cequent, a TriMas company, is an operating group that is a leading designer, manufacturer and marketer of a broad range of accessories for light trucks, sport/utility vehicles, recreation vehicles, passenger cars and trailers of all types.
    4. Eagle Enterprises: Founded in 1993, Eagle Enterprises Inc. is the “classic business success story.” The company's core business has centered around the design and manufacturing of graphics in various market sectors and represents a diverse product line ranging from decals to roll stripes and numerous other products.
    5. Innovative Creations Inc.: For the past 20 years, Innovative Creations Inc. (ICI) has been manufacturing high-quality automotive accessories. When you purchase an ICI product, not only are you getting the best product money can buy, but you're also getting the service and support you need and expect from a leader in the automotive industry.
    6. Katzkin Leather: The quality of Katzkin interiors rivals the look, feel and durability of even the finest interiors offered by auto manufacturers. Superior craftsmanship, world-class engineering and extraordinary design capabilities have made Katzkin a world leader in automotive interiors. Exercise your freedom of choice.
    7. Restylers Choice: Offers an industry-leading distributor of pinstripes, vinyl graphics, spoilers, chrome accessories, clear bras, rear-window graphics and vehicle wraps geared to the professional restyler. The company is also a growing manufacturer with several brands of rear-window graphics, spoilers, vinyl graphics kits and chrome accessories.
    8. Roadwire: Roadwire innovated the aftermarket leather interior industry and has become one of the world’s leading providers of OEM leather interiors and OEM-styled and custom aftermarket leather-trimmed interiors. Continuously recognized as innovators in design and craftsmanship, Roadwire is a proud member of SEMA and PRO.
    9. Signature Automotive Products LLC: Signature is widely recognized as an expert in sunroofs and open-air systems delivered and installed globally. Capitalizing on the synergy of its OEM heritage as an innovative leader in sunroof design, engineering and service, Signature Automotive strives every day to provide the best products and services to its aftermarket customers.
    10. Webasto: Webasto has been family-owned since its foundation in 1901. The company has been supplying the automotive industry for more than 75 years. Today, it is split into the divisions Convertible, Roof & Body and Global Comfort Solutions for heating and air-conditioning systems.

    Register Today!

    Have you ever wondered how to get more involved in the SEMA Professional Restylers Organization (PRO) Council?

    What exactly do the council leaders do throughout their term? Very
    simply, the Select Committee is elected by members of the council to
    serve a two-year term. They participate in monthly conference calls and
    meetings that are held at various trade events throughout the year.
    Each Select Committee member volunteers for at least 20 hours
    throughout the year, and some volunteer even more. Some share their
    experience and vision, others provide creative solutions to challenges
    our member companies are facing and others get their hands dirty and
    get it done. Each Select Committee member is supported by their company
    in their PRO efforts, and for that we say, “thank you,” to those

    The leaders of the PRO gathered earlier this year in Lima, Ohio, for
    its annual Long-Range Planning meeting. This meeting focused on
    bringing value to the PRO-member companies. The past 18 months have
    been extremely challenging for all of our companies, and the council is
    dedicated to utilizing SEMA’s resources to further benefit each PRO

    Guiding the group’s effort was the council’s mission statement to “address
    the challenges facing the restyling segment of the automotive
    aftermarket and to develop effective strategies for dealing with
    industry-specific issues.”
    A handful of exciting objectives are
    being developed for the council over this year and next. If you are
    passionate and have an interest in being involved, there are plenty of
    opportunities to volunteer for a task force with a limited investment
    of time that provides a great way to network and share your ideas.
    Please reach out to the task force chair if you want to participate or
    have comments.

    Education Task Force
    Brian Champa (Check Corporation) and Bill North (Webasto Product North America) co-chair this task force and can be reached at or
    The education task force is charged with developing successful programs
    for members to enhance their businesses. The Technical Skills &
    Training Conference (TSTC) recently launched, and the group is tasked
    with expanding the number of events each year to ensure that training
    and education become primary drivers for our industry.

    NovemberFest Task Force
    Mike Stanifer (Innovative Creations Inc.) chairs this group and can be reached at The SEMA Show
    in Las Vegas provides the backdrop for critical networking functions.
    This group focuses on making PRO’s awards reception the place to be and
    offering a fun forum to bring passionate members with common interests

    Membership Task Force
    Joey Johnston (Tops & Trends) chairs this group and can be reached at
    The success of any council or initiative is dependent upon its members.
    This task force focuses on growth, promotion and retention. It is
    important that we mentor new members on council activities, events,
    meetings and benefits.

    ProPledge Task Force
    David Stringer (Insignia Group) chairs this group and can be reached at
    The purpose of this group is to promote industry standards and to
    improve the perception of aftermarket installations throughout the
    restyling industry. ProPledge offers dealers a warranty program and is
    committed to delivering quality products and services.

    There are so many other things the council leadership does throughout
    the year. You are the expert at what your business needs, and this
    council wants to deliver. Feel free to get in touch with us or come to
    one of our PRO events. Our hope is that if you haven’t been a part of
    PRO yet, you will be in 2010 and beyond.

    Are you on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter? PRO Is!

    Be sure to follow PRO on all of your favorite social networking sites. To find these sites, go to and use the links in the top right-hand corner.

    PRO Column in SEMA Member News

    Read PRO's column featured in the January/February issue of SEMA Member News.

    For information about PRO, contact Zane Clark or call 909/978-6696.

    ARMO Logo  
    Visit ARMO's website.  

    Upcoming ARMO Events—Save Those Dates!

    ARMO Long-Range Planning Meeting

    Wednesday, March 16, 2011, 10:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m.

    Indiana Convention Center, Indianapolis

    Mark your calendar for the annual ARMO Long-Range Planning (LRP) meeting, Wednesday March 16, 2011, in Indianapolis. This year’s LRP is being held in conjunction with the Hotrod & Restoration Show. Since so many ARMO members already attend this event, we are hoping to see a strong turnout for the LRP. The Convention Center location makes it convenient to most downtown hotels, and lunch will be provided. A meeting notice will be mailed and e-mailed to ARMO members shortly. Please R.S.V.P. to Gina Ledesma at

    ARMO Education Seminars at the Hotrod and Restoration Show

    Saturday, March 19, 2011. Session 1: 8:00 a.m.–9:00 a.m.; Session 2: 9:15 a.m.–10:15 a.m.

    Indiana Convention Center, Indianapolis

    ARMO will once again host two seminars on Saturday, March 19, 2011, at the Hotrod and Restoration Show. Session 1 is “The Art of Selling” presented by Dick Dixon. Session 2 is a panel discussion on “Internet Marketing on a Budget.” The panelists are Erick Saltrick of Steele Rubber Products, Tyler Tanaka of Cie Studios and Robert Basha of Auction 123. ARMO Chairperson Laura Bergan of American Collector Car Insurance will moderate the discussion, which focuses on Internet marketing plans for small businesses. ARMO members may register for both sessions through the Hotrod & Restoration Show website or by RSVP to Gina Ledesma at

    ARMO New Products Showcase

    April 27–May 1, 2011

    Spring Carlisle, Carlisle, Pennsylvania

    ARMO will once again host the ARMO New Products Showcase at Spring Carlisle. This event continues to be one of the premier benefits of ARMO membership.

    More than 100,000 automotive hobbyists attend Spring Carlisle each year, and the ARMO Showcase Tent is located at the very center of the show in prime position, guaranteeing your products will be seen. This is a fantastic opportunity for ARMO-member companies to put their new products in front of one of the largest gatherings of restoration enthusiasts in the country each year. But the product exposure does not stop at Spring Carlisle. ARMO has each product professionally photographed during the event. The photos and descriptions are then uploaded to SEMA eNews and the ARMO website on, where they are available for viewing 24/7. In addition, the photos are displayed in a looping video in the ARMO booth during the SEMA Show in Las Vegas. Participation is open to all ARMO-member companies, and it’s FREE!

    Look for online registration to begin very shortly through the ARMO website at, and be sure to take advantage of this opportunity.

    Are you on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter? ARMO Is!

    Be sure to follow ARMO on all of your favorite social networking sites. To find these sites, go to and use the links in the top right-hand corner.

    ARMO Column in SEMA Member News

    Read ARMO's column featured in the January/February issue of SEMA Member News.

    For more information about ARMO, contact Jim Skelly.

    HRIA Logo  
    Visit HRIA's website

    Save the Date: February 25, 2011; Location: Cobo Center – Detroit

    HRIA will host its Annual Long-Range Planning meeting in conjunction with Championship Auto Shows Detroit Autorama, taking place February 25–27, 2011.

    Enjoy this great show and participate in the one meeting
    that does the most to drive industry issues. HRIA will open its doors
    to any interested party who wants to make a difference. If you have a
    question, concern, idea or just want a better understanding of how the
    process works, get off the sidelines and join the cause! HRIA is here
    to serve your business and our industry but cannot do it without your
    help. To learn more and get involved, visit or call Zane Clark at 909/978-6696.

    HRIA Releases Education & Training Day Workshop Schedule

    Education & Training Day
    Presented by the Hot Rod Industry Alliance, a SEMA Council
    Thursday, March 17, 2011, 8:00 a.m.–6:30 p.m.
    Hotrod & Restoration Trade Show
    Indiana Convention Center, Indianapolis


    Ever wonder how to use baking soda for car restoration? Find out how at the HRIA Education and Training Day. Many of the industry’s best and most influential manufacturers offer workshops on installations, new products, marketing, selling techniques and tips for running your business. With 40 seminars, this daylong event supports HRIA’s mission to offer quality educational programs benefiting all aspects of our members' businesses.

    To see a complete list of the sessions offered, click here.

    Not only does this event provide an unparalleled educational experience, but it allows attendees the opportunity to network and build relationships with industry leaders and peers.

    “The seminars are of immense value to the presenters and attendees as a terrific opportunity to exchange real-world useful information. The one-on-one face time is a super bonus to the event,” says Brent VanDervort of Fatman Fabrications.

    The workshops are free on a first-come, first-served basis, so make sure you register and get there early—rooms do fill up fast!

    The Hotrod & Restoration Trade Show is produced exclusively for the hot-rod, street-rod, musclecar and restoration markets. To register or for more information, call 800/576-8788 or visit

    Click here for a seminar schedule.

    Interested parties can register here. Registration deadline is February 22, 2011.

    Have You Registered a Patent or Trademark? Your Competition Has.

    Protecting the intellectual property rights (IPR) of its members is a top SEMA priority. The process begins when companies register their patents, trademarks and copyrights with government agencies in the United States (and other countries). Registration is a key to establishing legal rights.

    To assist its members, SEMA has created a webpage called Introduction to Intellectual Property Rights, explaining the different types of IP, including protecting new products (utility patents) and product designs (design patent), identifying the source of the product (trademarks) and protecting product brochures or website designs (copyright). It also contains information on how to register IP along with links to seminars, webinars and SEMA News articles.

    With respect to enforcing IP rights at the SEMA Show, the association has developed an effective policy for pursuing infringement allegations. SEMA’s IP enforcement policy is posted on the IPR webpage and is also published as part of the Exhibitor Services Manual. Questions may be directed to Stuart Gosswein (

    Are you on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter? HRIA is!

    Be sure to follow HRIA on all of your favorite social networking sites. To find these sites, go to and use the links in the top right-hand corner.

    HRIA Column in SEMA Member News

    Read HRIA's column featured in the January/February issue of SEMA Member News.

    For more information about HRIA and how to join, contact Zane Clark or call 909/978-6696.

    LTAA Logo  
    Visit LTAA's website.  

    What's the Value of Being an LTAA Member?

    New Products Showcase – Put your product in front of one of the largest gathering of truck enthusiasts in the country at the Carlisle Truck Nationals.

    Networking – LTAA mixer at the Carlisle All Truck Nationals, Annual Long-Range Planning meeting and access to LTAA members and light-truck industry professionals around the world.

    Tools and resources for the retailer and installer – "Pickup Bed Dimensions Sheet," "Keyless Entry Wiring Pickup Points Reference Sheet," "Why Paints Don’t Match" DVD and more.

    Education – and LTAA-specific learning track on the new SEI from SEMA, coming soon!

    Are you on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter? LTAA Is!

    Be sure to follow LTAA on all of your favorite social networking sites.

    To find these sites, go to and use the links in the top right-hand corner.

    LTAA Column in SEMA Member News

    Read LTAA's column featured in the January/February issue of SEMA Member News.

    For more information about LTAA, contact Jim Skelly.

    MPMC Logo  
    Visit MPMC's website.  

    MPMC Media Trade Conference Another Success Story!

    After a rain-soaked, one-year hiatus in 2010, the MPMC Media Trade Conference returned to the Embassy Suites LAX South in El Segundo on January 25–27, 2011. Exhibitors and media attendees alike voted this, the 14th annual event, the best one yet. The MPMC Media Trade Conference hosts 100 MPMC-member manufacturers for three days of 30-minute, face-to-face meetings with editorial staff from more than 130 national and international automotive media outlets. MPMC also hosts two receptions during the event, presents annual awards to media, provides lunch over the three days, and this year held a Long-Range Planning meeting on the Monday before the event.

    “This year is absolutely the best Media Trade Conference yet,” said MPMC Chairman Kyle Fickler of Weld Racing. “Now that the execution and operation of the event seems to be working properly, we can focus our energies on strategies for attracting new media who have never been there.”

    A photo gallery of the event can be found here.

    Are you on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter? MPMC Is!

    Be sure to follow MPMC on all of your favorite social networking sites. To find these sites, go to and use the links in the top right-hand corner.

    Take a Friend to a Race Fan Page

    The MPMC Motorsports Awareness campaign, highlighted by the Take a Friend to a Race program, now has its very own Fanpage on Facebook. If you’re not a fan yet, you should be!

    MPMC Column in SEMA Member News

    Read MPMC's column featured in the January/February issue of SEMA Member News.

    For information about MPMC, contact Jim Skelly.

    MRC Logo  
    Visit MRC's website.  

    MRC Partners with TeleNotes

    The Manufacturers' Rep Council has partnered with TeleNotes to provide another exciting council member benefit. TeleNotes will help you capture and utilize business data to drive sales. With almost 10 years of national sales experience, TeleNotes can help your company achieve revenue growth through more effective and productive sales teams, and consistently improve your productivity by 20%–40%. Through this partnership, TeleNotes offers their services to MRC members at an exclusive, discounted rate. For more details, contact Staci Bostock, SEMA council manager, at or directly 909/978-6693.

    Are you on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter? MRC is!

    Be sure to follow MRC on all of your favorite social networking sites. To find these sites, go to and use the links in the top right-hand corner.

    MRC Column in SEMA Member News

    Read MRC's column featured in the January/February issue of SEMA Member News.

    For information about MRC, contact Staci Bostock.

    SBN Logo  
    Visit SBN's website.  

    SBN Congratulates Amy Faulk

    Amy Faulk, a SEMA Businesswomen’s Network founder, SBN Select Committee chairman and recipient of both the SBN Athena Award and SBN Woman of the Year Award, has once again been honored by her peers. On December 10, 2010, at the PRI Show in Orlando, Florida, Faulk was inducted into the MPMC Hall Of Fame. She was chosen as one of the first inductees because she is not only a founding member of the MPMC, but she also served as the committee’s chairman and is an original designers of the popular MPMC Media Trade Conference. Over the years, she has served on numerous task forces and committees, including six years on SEMA’s Board of Directors. Having earned the title, “The Winningest Woman in Racing,” Faulk could also be named “SEMA’s Most Honored Woman.” She has received almost every award given by the industry, including being one of the first women to be inducted into the SEMA Hall of Fame in 2002.

    Always humble and passionate about racing and SEMA, Faulk had this to say about her award:

    “The MPMC Hall of Fame recognition is such an honor, especially to be inducted with this group of industry icons. MPMC was an extremely important project for me to be involved in and basically help get it on 'track.' At that time, our group really didn’t have a voice and most of us came from businesses that were truly hard-core racing, and we needed a conduit for our voices to be heard.” She continued, “The mentoring I received and the association with this group of racing and performance parts manufacturers not only opened doors, but allowed me to walk through them. You never realize how a small action can contribute so greatly to the development of your life and career. I remember sitting in an open membership meeting when all this first started to happen and forcing myself to speak up (I was afraid that I would say something stupid and embarrass myself) and pushing for our group to have a voice… to form the MPMC.

    That was the same feeling I had about the need for women working in the automotive aftermarket industry to have a voice, a place that would allow us to network and draw from other member experiences, hence the SBN was formed. As with anything, we all take baby steps individually, but we make giant leaps when you have a group of members with a shared passion whom all believe in making a difference.”

    SBN is proud of Faulk for her accomplishments, contributions and encouragement to all women in this industry.

    You Ought to Be in Pictures!

    The SEMA Businesswomen’s Network committee is a great resource of minds. All ladies in the specialty-equipment industry can join the SBN, so pass the word around to your colleagues and friends! We are encouraging all new and existing SBN members to log-in to the MySEMA portal to update their profile with a photo so we get to know each other's faces before the SEMA Show.

    And don’t forget to turn your notifications settings “ON” so you can stay in “the loop.” Want to know more about the SBN? Interested in becoming a member?

    Want to get involved in the industry but don't know how? We have an app for that! Go to, click on the Leadership tab, click on Council/Committee, click on SBN and join! Don't delay—get involved and join now. You are just a few clicks away! We look forward to "seeing" everyone!

    Don’t Be Out of the Loop—Stay in Touch

    The very best way to stay in touch and to read the latest news, discussions and topics posted from SEMA and the SEMA Businesswomen’s Network (SBN) is to make sure that your notification settings are turned on in your MySEMA account. Next to your photo on your MySEMA page, at the top right, is a link to the "Edit My Settings" page.

    On the “settings” page, look for the “notifications” tab, where it will ask how you would like to receive your news. Check whichever method is most convenient, but either way, make sure you're in the loop by turning “on” your notifications. Visit to make sure you don’t miss a thing!

    Discover the SEMA Mentoring Program—Powered by the SBN

    “I’ll get by with a little help from my friends…” - Joe Cocker

    Everyone needs help or expert advice from time to time, and SEMA’s
    Mentoring Program is an excellent resource to get answers to all your
    questions. Whether you need to know more about SEMA, market information
    for a start-up company or advice on how to approach your boss about a
    new position, the SEMA Mentoring Program can help.

    “Ask A
    Mentor” is perfect for one-time questions. You can expect multiple SEMA
    mentors to provide online guidance and answers to your industry-related

    Short-term Assistance/Guidance is for help with a
    specific project or task. A SEMA council/committee mentor with the
    expertise you seek will be paired up with you to provide guidance with
    your project.

    Long-term Relationship is helpful for developing
    your professional career. In this program segment you will be paired
    with a SEMA council/committee mentor who will provide guidance and
    assistance for ongoing career development or a long-term project.

    So whether you just need an answer to a question or you want to
    cultivate a mentoring friendship, the SEMA Mentoring Program—Powered by
    the SBN is available to help. After all, we can all use a little help
    from our friends.

    Visit the SEMA Mentoring Program now.

    Are you on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter? SBN is!

    Be sure to follow SBN on all of your favorite social networking sites. To find these sites, go to and use the links in the top right-hand corner.

    SBN Column in SEMA Member News

    Read SBN's column featured in the January/February issue of SEMA Member News.

    For information about SBN, contact Angela Lee.

    SPC Logo  
    Visit SPC's website.  

    Find the Business Possibilities Through the SPC

    Participate in the automotive aftermarket at a whole new level by joining the SPC.

    The purpose of SEMA councils is to help our member companies succeed
    and prosper. In the SPC, our mission is to provide market information,
    education and support to our members concerning new and emerging
    trends. Whether it’s the latest business technology, forecasting sales,
    future marketing solutions or up and coming vehicle platforms, we give
    you and your company the chance to see what’s on the horizon.

    Then we’ll help you understand and acquire the skills, tools and
    technologies to lead the way. The SPC has the most diverse membership
    of any SEMA council, and that will allow you to network with other
    professionals from every facet of our industry and gain insights into
    areas you may not have previously considered. Find out about the parts,
    people, technologies, strategies, trends and, most important,

    This is your chance to give something back to the industry, your
    profession and to grow personally along the way. Join the SPC today and
    become an active member of the specialty equipment and automotive
    market — Tracie Nuñez, Advanced Clutch Technology, SPC Chairman

    Are you on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter? SPC is!

    Be sure to follow SPC on all of your favorite social networking sites. To find these sites, go to and use the links in the top right-hand corner.

    SPC Column in SEMA Member News

    Read SPC's column featured in the January/February issue of SEMA Member News.

    For information about SPC, contact Angela Lee.

    WTC Logo  
    Visit WTC's website

    Have you ever wondered how to get more involved in the SEMA Wheel and Tire (WTC) Council?

    What exactly do the council leaders do throughout their term? Very simply, the Select Committee is elected by members of the council to serve a two-year term. They participate in monthly conference calls and meetings that are held at various trade events throughout the year. Each Select Committee member volunteers for at least 20 hours throughout the year, and some volunteer even more. Some share their experience and vision, others provide creative solutions to challenges our member companies are facing and others get their hands dirty and get it done. Each Select Committee member is supported by their company in their WTC efforts, and for that we say “thank you” to those companies!

    The leaders of the WTC gathered earlier this year at SEMA headquarters in Diamond Bar, California, for its annual Long-Range Planning meeting. This meeting focused on bringing value to the WTC-member companies. The past 18 months have been extremely challenging for all of our companies and the council is dedicated to utilizing SEMA’s resources to further benefit each WTC member.

    Guiding the group’s effort was the council’s mission statement to “identify common problems and opportunities relating to the wheel and tire industries that the council, as an interested body of companies, can address for the common good.” A handful of exciting objectives are being developed for the council over this year and next. If you are passionate and have an interest in being involved, there are plenty of opportunities to volunteer for a task force with a limited investment of time that provides a great way to network and share your ideas. Please reach out to the task force chair if you want to participate or have comments.

    Science and Technology Task Force

    Tim Dietz (Standards Testing Laboratories Inc.) and can be reached at This group focuses on aftermarket and OEM advances that affect our industry. From creating wheel standards to improved processes for tire-pressure monitoring systems and electronic stability control, the Science and Technology Task Force plays a pivotal role in the industry’s advancement.

    Education Task Force
    Kelly Austin (Ultra Wheel Company) chairs this group and can be reached at The education task force is charged with developing successful programs for members to enhance their businesses. The WTC Task Force is responsible for partnering with the SEMA Educational Institute to create and promote online learning resources.

    Communication and Marketing Task Force

    Doug Frymer (Law Offices of Douglas A. Frymer) chairs this group and can be reached at This group focuses on membership outreach, growth and retention. It is imperative that councils effectively communicate services provided by WTC and SEMA to our members. Communication and services ensure that there is proper dialogue between leadership and membership.

    SEMA Show Task Force

    David Insull (American Tire Distributors) chairs this group and can be reached at The SEMA Show in Las Vegas provides the backdrop for critical networking functions. This group focuses on making WTC’s awards reception an ideal place to get together, honor one another and network with all those who share a common passion.

    There are so many other things the council leadership does throughout the year. You are the expert at what your business needs and this council wants to deliver. Feel free to get in touch with us or come to one of our WTC events. Our hope is that, if you haven’t been a part of WTC yet, you will be in 2010 and beyond.

    Are you on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter? WTC is!

    Be sure to follow WTC on all of your favorite social networking sites. To find these sites, go to and use the links in the top right-hand corner.

    WTC Column in SEMA Member News

    Read WTC's column featured in the January/February issue of SEMA Member News.

    For information about WTC and how to join, contact Zane Clark or call or 909/978-6696.

    YEN Logo
    Visit YEN's website

    SEMA Loan Forgiveness Program

    Since 2004, SEMA's Young Executives Network has been dedicated to aiding recent graduates in getting off to a successful start in their automotive specialty-equipment career.

    “SEMA and YEN are believers in higher education,” said Gregory Parker, chairman of the Young Executives Network. “However, with today's higher costs of getting an education, more and more students have to turn to student loans. The new YEN Loan Forgiveness Scholarship Award will now be able to help a previous or current student who has loans they are trying to pay off while working within our industry. Our inaugural scholarship winner, Jaclyn Kilani, worked hard to put herself through school and is now working for a SEMA-member company. We are just glad we are able to recognize and reward her for her hard work, and we look forward to doing the same for other industry peers as we move into the future.”

    Kilani, who recently graduated from California State University with a degree in graphic design, is the marketing director at Dannmar Equipment, a manufacturer of automotive repair products. Of the specialty-equipment industry, Kilani says, “I couldn’t see myself anywhere else. It’s an eclectic marketplace with a very unique audience, and I love the challenge of marketing a company in a non-traditional way. This award came at the perfect time, and it's a tremendous step toward my goal of becoming debt-free. I truly appreciate the privilege.”

    The SEMA Loan Forgiveness Program is dedicated to aiding recent graduates in getting off to a successful start in their specialty-equipment career. SEMA offers a minimum of $1,000 toward outstanding student loans for individuals who are employed by SEMA-member companies. Applications for the next program open in December 2010 at

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    YEN Column in SEMA Member News

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    For information about YEN, contact Angela Lee.

Market Snapshot

  • SEMA News—February 2011

    Market Trends in Tires and Wheels

    By Steve Campbell

      SEMA News—February 2011-Market Trends in Tires and Wheels
    Prominent trends within the tire segment include the development of low-rolling-resistance “eco” tires as well as the continuing popularity of ultra-high-performance models.

    The economy and the environment have been the major drivers for many markets over the last three years, and they have also been consistent topics of conversation among tire and wheel experts. The tire industry underwent a sort of accordion buckling in inventory as the economic slowdown led consumers to balk at anything other than critical expenditures and then pent-up demand caused a sudden resurgence.

    “Several tire companies have described to me that they cut down production in mid- to late-2009 to adjust expenses for the poor economy and the expectation of lower tire sales,” said David Freiburger, editor-in-chief of Hot Rod magazine. “However, demand rose by the third quarter of 2010. As tires wore out, people had no choice but to replace them. Demand was on the upswing, but warehouses were short on stock as a result of cutbacks, and a few manufacturers are scrambling to fill orders and are short on some sizes. The urgency to fill orders may delay a couple of new tire launches.”

    The startling upsurge also put several companies in an all-hands-on-deck posture to keep up with the market.

    “Two or three of the companies that we have talked to have been running their plants 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” said Bruce Davis, special projects reporter for Tire Business, a trade newspaper. “Their inventories are still relatively lean because they took out a lot of capacity, so they can sell every tire they make.”

    The Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) reported in the past few weeks that tire shipments in the industry were expected to have grown 9% in 2010 versus 2009, according to David Zielasko, the editor and vice president/publisher of Tire Business. But the RMA also said that it is not as optimistic about 2011, predicting that growth would plateau at about 2%–3% growth. Retailers can also expect that tire prices will continue to increase.

    “The price of raw materials that go into manufacturing tires are continually escalating, particularly natural rubber, which is hitting record levels right now,” Zielasko said. “The price of oil also affects the price of synthetic rubber, of rubber chemicals, of carbon black and all those types of ingredients that go into tires, not to mention the cost of just manufacturing and transporting products. Tire pricing is going to be a big issue, primarily because of the raw material costs.”

    Partly as a result of those market forces, the importation of tires continues to grow, even with the tariffs that have been placed on Chinese-made light-truck tires that were imported into the United States. Retailers are looking to suppliers in India, Thailand and other offshore sources to help stem the tide of demand until the domestic manufacturers are able to fully fill the void.

      SEMA News—February 2011David Freiburger, editor-in-chief of Hot Rod.
    “As niche tire makers wish to expand into the musclecar marketplace, they need to consider some 18-in.-wheel tire sizes that are taller than what’s commonly available in ultra-high-performance tread patterns,” said David Freiburger, editor-in-chief of Hot Rod.

    “Retail tire and service outlets aren’t recession-proof,” said Bob Ulrich, editor of Modern Tire Dealer, “but they are recession-resistant because almost every vehicle eventually needs tires and service. Independent tire dealers account for 60% of consumer tire sales in the United States.” Ulrich said that ultra-high-performance (UHP) touring tires are one of the bright spots for those retailers because they combine handling with ride comfort and even have some all-season capabilities. Jim Smith, editor of Tire Review magazine, also cited the ultra-high-performance market as an area of opportunity for retailers.

    “The all-season UHP tire segment is hot right now,” he said. “Drivers want to use their vehicles throughout the year, and many sports cars come with summer designs. While not winter tires, all-season UHPs offer enough traction and reliability to allow drivers to keep their vehicles out longer.”

    Freiburger said that the popularity of ultra-high-performance tires and mostly 18-in.-diameter wheels may have also been fueled by the continuing Pro Touring trend of handling-related musclecars in the enthusiast market. Many show vehicles continue to be shod with 20- and 22-in. wheels and tires, but he believes that the market may now be shifting to more usable sizes because of the economy.

    “The trend to larger-diameter wheels is so common that it’s becoming difficult to find 15-in. general-performance street tires outside of Mickey Thompson, Coker Tire and a few others,” he said. “As niche tire makers wish to expand into the musclecar marketplace, they need to consider some 18-in.-wheel tire sizes that are taller than what’s commonly available in ultra-high-performance tread patterns.”

    Many manufacturers are also putting significant effort into dedicated winter tires, according to the Tire Business editorial team. They pointed out that winter tires use specific rubber compounds that retain their grip and pliability even when temperatures dip below 45ºF, which is where all-season tires tend to suffer.

    In the light-truck radial market, tread noise has been a focal point for some time. One of the ways to increase traction in off-road environments is to use larger blocks and voids in the tread, but those same elements create increased air movement and the characteristic roar of aggressive off-road tires. Carl Robinson, motorsports manager and wheel product manager for Mickey Thompson Performance Tires & Wheels, said that his company is concentrating on alleviating that problem through new tread patterns and is also focused on reducing the use of toxic aromatic oils.

    “As tires wear out, fine rubber particles remain on the road and end up going into the ground through the drainage system,” he said. “These fine particles contain ‘dirty oils’ regarded as harmful and carcinogenic. New ‘clean oils’ reduce the harmful deposits of aromatic oils from worn tires, but you don’t just change a couple of things in a rubber compound and expect it to provide the same performance capabilities, traction, wear rating and so forth. That requires an element of research and development that is fairly expensive, but tire companies have been very successful in the development of green compounds that literally do not contain carcinogenic oils.”

      SEMA News—February 2011-Market Trends in Tires and Wheels
    Wheel configurator webpages have become commonplace, allowing a customer to select a particular wheel, place it virtually on a specific vehicle make and model and even change both wheel and vehicle colors to help in the selection process.

    In tandem with that effort, tire companies are also putting significant effort and research into low-rolling-resistance tires using silica technology.

    “The chemistry reduces the hysteresis of rubber, which is its propensity to generate heat,” said Tire Business’ Davis. “If you can keep the rubber from generating heat, the tire rolls more freely and with less resistance. The manufacturers combine that with tweaks in the tread and casing design and fine-tuning the components to reduce the weight of the tire, and they wind up with a tire with reduced rolling resistance and improve fuel mileage for the vehicle.”

    Davis and Zielasko said that the manufacturers are currently pricing these “eco tires” at a premium, but they are not sure whether the marketplace will embrace the new technology at the higher costs. Still, as the government mandates greater fuel economy for future vehicles, lower-rolling-resistance tires are bound to become more common.

    “Another interesting component of this is that the federal government is looking to come out with new fuel-efficiency ratings and tire labels for consumers through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA),” Zielasko said. “The NHTSA is looking at three different components. When a consumer goes in to buy a tire, he would be able to see how it performs in terms of rolling resistance, its traction rating and its durability or tread wear.”

    While such labeling may be on the horizon, vehicle owners are more frequently than ever before, seeking tire information and advice from Internet forums that are tailored to specific types of vehicles. Dealers need to ensure that they also have an Internet presence for those consumers who want to research tires online.

    “We have a program called Buy Now, which directs end users to one of our retailers to buy the product in virtually two clicks,” said Robinson. “They buy direct from our dealer network at very competitive prices.”

    The Internet has also come to play a substantial role in wheel marketing. Consumers use the web as a research tool, shopping for the look and size they want and then visiting retail sites to find the best pricing available. Wheel configurator pages have become commonplace, allowing a customer to select a particular wheel, place it virtually on a specific vehicle make and model and even change both wheel and vehicle colors to help in the selection process. Consumers also visit online forums to take part in discussions about wheel choices, and Brock Weld, president of BMF Wheels Inc., said that even retailers he knows visit the forums to collect installation tips and tricks as well as to promote their businesses.


    SEMA News—February 2011-Market Trends in Tires and Wheels
    “Changing the finishes on the wheel is something that retailers and consumers alike are focusing on, so people have been trying to put multiple colors on wheels,” said Brock Weld, president of BMF Wheels Inc.


    “People want to see what’s going to look good on their vehicles,” he said. “In fact, import enthusiasts might flip their wheels several times a year now. A guy might buy a set, take them off, put them on Craig’s List, and then buy another set. You’ll see people who go through four sets a year—but for some reason it’s only in the import market.”

    Economic uncertainty has led wheel companies both large and small to postpone major investments, so the development of new products has given way to makeover strategies in which basic designs remain unchanged but cosmetic enhancements help to maintain a sales plateau. Even so, there are signs of a thaw and a gathering stream of optimism.

    “The greatest opportunities lie in niche branding and niche markets, figuring out for each wheel company not only what they’re good at, but making sure they’re the best,” said Weld. “Cash is king right now. Retailers don’t want to put anything on the floor that might not move, so people are trying to make money with what they already have both on the manufacturing side and on the retail side.”

    Fenton Liffick, president and CEO of Prestige Autotech Corp., said that he’s seeing more sculptured spokes, patterned inlays and multicolor construction, and Freiburger said that large-diameter wheel designs inspired by traditional styles have come into vogue.

    “Kidney-bean and five-spoke models have been commonplace for many years,” Freiburger said, “but now we’re seeing even more interest in slot mags, especially Gasser style, and in wheels that mimic the Minilites for Pro Touring cars.”

    In the truck market, 8-Lug HD Truck magazine editor Bob Carpenter and contributing editor Joe Burnside said that black and chrome comprise the most popular offerings they see, but Liffick and Weld said that wheel designers are also working frequently with new finishes and coatings. A glance through the new-wheel offerings from the SEMA Show (see p. 22) seems to bear them out.

    “Black wheels have been all the rage for a few years, but now everybody is experimenting with different kinds of blacks,” Weld said. “Changing the finishes on the wheel is something that retailers and consumers alike are focusing on, so people have been trying to put multiple colors on wheels. The three-piece manufacturers have been doing it for quite a while. But modular three-piece wheels are usually forged or a combination of a forged center and a cast rim. The market has been going away from forged except for the most exclusive wheel lines because of price. Forging is an expensive process, and it only works when you’re doing thousands of the same forging.”

    Weld and other manufacturers believe that the broader wheel market is on the road to recovery and that there is still room to grow, especially internationally.

    “Even some of the retailers we supply are selling to the international markets because the dollar is making it favorable to do so,” he said. “There are a lot of people who are capitalizing on business even in China, where the domestic market is actually booming in wheel sales right now.”

    Kelly Austin, director of sales for Ultra Wheel Co., reiterated that retailers should take advantage of the niche opportunities in the market. “There are new wheel niches popping up every day,” he said. “Find the ones that fit your core business and go after them vigorously. Niches create excitement and offer better profit margins because of exclusivity. Retailers who listen to their customers’ wants and needs are succeeding very well, but also take the time to refresh or retrain your staff to be more knowledgeable and courteous. Then, when opportunities come, be prepared with products on hand to close the sale.”

Spy Shots

  • Kia Soul

    Spy shooter Brenda Priddy and her stealthy network recently caught a significantly updated Kia Soul testing near the Arctic Circle. This face-lifted compact was part of a large group of other Hyundai/Kia prototypes when these images were snagged.

    While the big design trend a few years ago was fender vents, according to Priddy, lately many OEMs seem to be mimicking Audi's LED daytime running lights. Judging by the image above, Kia will not be an exception to the rule. However, Priddy reported that Kia may not have wanted us to see that particular feature as they were soon turned off after the first photos of the lights were taken.

    Judging from the extensive camouflage, Priddy says the Soul will get significantly redesigned front and rear fascias. New headlights and taillights are almost certainly in store as well. The styling on the door panels may also be modestly freshened.

    Watch for more details to emerge in the coming months.

    Kia Soul 2012

    Photo Credit: Brenda Priddy & Company