SEMA News

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Cover Section

  • Now in its fourth year, the SEMA News 35 Under 35 roster has become a much-anticipated annual feature. In the following pages, we are again pleased to present 35 young trendsetters who are bringing exciting new ideas and renewed enthusiasm to every segment of the automotive specialty-equipment industry.

    Pouring through the nominations, SEMA News looks for candidates who are already making a significant industry impact through their leadership within their organization or business. Entrepreneurship, commitment, insight, innovation, integrity, responsibility, demonstrated skill, involvement and success within the marketplace weigh heavily in our decision-making.

Business Technology

  • SDC LogoIt’s been about eight months since the SEMA Data Co-op (SDC) rolled out the Data Quality and Completeness Program, which is designed specifically to help suppliers increase their data quality level in an easy, step-by-step process. In that time, we have seen more than 250 “steps” made by participating suppliers as they have moved up through the quality ratings of Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum, making their data more valuable to their customer base and creating more sales.

Chris Kersting

  • Chris KerstingIn the specialty automotive industry, we can point to hundreds of successful businesses that were built through the energy and vision of a once-young person who persisted through a career lasting decades. And it’s equally common to find that, as entrepreneurs secure their businesses, they begin to concern themselves with the problem of staying relevant in a changing world and how their businesses might benefit from the next generation of innovators.

Events

  • Show FloorThe 2015 SEMA Show, to be held November 3–6 at the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC), is on track to draw more than 2,400 exhibitors and more than 60,000 buyers. Those buyers will be in search of the newest automotive specialty-equipment products to sell to consumers during the coming year, and additional thousands of media representatives will be looking for innovative products to publicize. Last year, nearly 90% of buyers who attended the SEMA Show said that they planned to purchase products from exhibitors. With a little preparation, even first-time exhibitors can take full advantage of those sales opportunities at what has become the largest annual gathering of small businesses in the United States.

  • First-Time and Featured ExhibitorsEach year, the SEMA Show provides hundreds of new leads to buyers looking for innovative new product lines. The 2015 Show will be no exception: As of July 20, 2015, the number of registered first-time exhibitors was more than 295, and the number continues to rise.

  • Luma IIIEvery year, hundreds of first-time exhibitors venture to the SEMA Show and, for those who work the Show properly, the payoff can be huge. Luma III founder Kirk Lucas and his team put it all on the line to attend last year’s Show and walked away with two Best New Products Showcase awards, a stronger brand identity and new deals in the works.

  • YEN Hot Rod Power TourEight Young Executives Network (YEN) members rode along on the YEN Power Tour in June, a journey of more than 1,500 miles from Madison, Wisconsin, to Baton Rouge, Louisiana. In addition to visiting each of the seven stops scheduled for the Hot Rod Power Tour, the YEN program added a twist of its own: Josh Backes, Tim Brueggeman, Jared Chavez, Cathy Clark, Matthew Davis, Keith McWilliams, Troy Spackman and Tyler Wesely each became advocates for the network and the industry, highlighting the variety of career choices available in the automotive specialty-equipment market. By the end of the week, the participants had become good friends.

From The Hill

  • Factory Five ReplicasU.S. Representatives Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) and Gene Green (D-TX) introduced bipartisan legislation that would enable low-volume car manufacturers to produce turn-key replica vehicles for customers nationwide. Called the Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act of 2015 (H.R. 2675), the SEMA-supported bill would allow companies to construct up to 500 “replicas” per year. Those are cars that resemble another production vehicle manufactured at least 25 years ago.

Government Affairs

  • Law & OrderCalifornia labeling: SEMA-opposed legislation to require manufacturers of certain automotive products to include all ingredients on the product label and online on the manufacturer’s website was put in the inactive file. The bill had been approved by the Assembly Business and Professions Committee and Appropriations Committee.

Industry News

  • Industry news from SEMA-member companies, including the NHRA, Red Kap, Nitto Tire U.S.A. Inc., The Marx Group, Yokohama Tire Corp.’s and more.

  • An open-house event showcased the Alex Xydias Center for Automotive Arts (AXC), now located at the Fairplex in Pomona, California, as part of the Robert E. Petersen Garage.

  • ’16 Ford Mustang Ecoboost

    Ford has revived the Pony Package with the 2.3L Ecoboost engine.

    ’17 Fiat 124 Spider

    The 124 Spider will be powered by the 1.4L turbo four-cylinder engine, and a six-speed manual is likely to be the standard transmission.

    Jeep Cherokee

    The upcoming Jeep Cherokee will use the same nine-speed automatic transmission as the new Jeep Renegade.

    ’16 California Special Ford Mustang GT

    All California Special-equipped cars get 19-in. wheels with black-painted inserts. They also have a special faux gas cap in the trunk lid, reminiscent of the original Mustangs.

International

  • International sales represent some 25% of the total sales at Borla Performance Industries and are growing rapidly. The company is one of the originators of stainless-steel performance exhaust systems, and among the secrets to its success is taking direct control of its international business, said David Borla, 41, vice president of sales and marketing for the 38-year-old firm.

Internet

  • Auto-parts businesses will be on the hook for credit card fraud if they don’t migrate to new chip card terminals by October 1, 2015, according to the major credit card companies.

Member News

  • ARMO LogoEach year, restoration parts manufacturers that are members of the Automotive Restoration Market Organization (ARMO) have the opportunity to highlight parts at the Hot Product Showcase in order to gain brand exposure. This year marked the 18th annual event at Spring Carlisle, which is known to be one of the world’s largest gatherings of automotive restoration enthusiasts. The event was held April 23–25, 2015, with more than 80 different products from a variety of member companies on display.

  • Scholarship Committee LogoEfforts to build excitement in the next generation reach a pinnacle during SEMA Show week in a dedicated program for students. The SEMA Show Student Program gives young people a glimpse of the industry as part of the association’s effort to engage the next generation. After completing the qualification process, students attend the Show with their teachers and participate in a series of organized events designed to expand their knowledge of the automotive specialty-equipment industry. This is often an eye-opening experience for students, who may not know how broad the industry is nor have experienced the excitement of the automotive aftermarket.

  • SBN LogoIt has been a busy year for the SEMA Businesswomen’s Network (SBN), and the select committee members played an important role in all of the network’s accomplishments. As of July 1, SBN introduced Erin Gilhuly of Toyota Motor Sales as the new SBN chair and Camee Edelbrock of ProMedia as the new chair-elect. The group is also excited to welcome four newcomers.

  • MRN LogoSEMA’s Manufacturers’ Representative Network (MRN) will host a collection of business-critical discussions moderated by industry thought leaders on Sunday, November 1, from 3:30 p.m.–6:00 p.m. prior to the official start of the SEMA Show in Las Vegas. Through intimate roundtable discussions, attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions and receive practical solutions that address pertinent issues. This event is open exclusively to manufacturers’ reps. Tickets are $25 for members and $35 for non-members. They can be purchased through the SEMA Show dashboard at www.SEMAShow.com/register.

  • ETTN LogoRegis Finn began his automotive career sweeping floors at a local speed shop when he was 15. In his early 20s, he made a cross-country move to California, where he landed at B&M Racing and Performance. He started in the customer service department and has since held many positions in sales and marketing for B&M and other industry-leading companies. For the past year, he has been the marketing manager for Thyssenkrupp Bilstein of America. Finn has past experience serving with SEMA councils and became the chair of the Emerging Trends & Technology Network (ETTN) on July 1.

  • WTC LogoOn July 1, the Wheel and Tire Council (WTC) installed three newly elected select committee members, though none of them are strangers to the council. Carl Robinson is product manager at Mickey Thompson Tires. With almost 40 years of experience in the performance aftermarket, he brings a seasoned perspective to the committee. He has been involved with WTC for six years and previously served as a select committee member.

  • PRO LogoEach year, members and volunteer leaders of the Professional Restylers Organization (PRO) gather to discuss council priorities and strategic goals at an annual long-range planning meeting. This year, more than two dozen members participated in the meeting, which was held on June 18 and 19 near Detroit, Michigan.

  • MPMCOn May 28, 2015, the MPMC hosted its open general membership meeting at the SEMA Garage. The half-day event provided a venue for local members and the select committee to connect face-to-face about SEMA’s Board initiatives and the hot-button issues faced by motorsports parts manufacturers. Members gathered for breakfast and an introduction by MPMC Chair Rich Barsamian, who gave local members a fantastic primer on how to get involved in the MPMC and stressed the potential of the member connection to SEMA.

  • LTAA LogoThis past spring, 41 SEMA-member companies participated in SEMA’s four-day Middle East program in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE). The program featured an all-day measuring session with commonly customized vehicles not sold in the United States as well as a chance for participants to exhibit at the trade-only section of the Custom Show Emirates, network with international buyers and explore local shops. Among the participants were several active Light Truck Accessory Alliance (LTAA) members, who shared a few of their takeaways from the experience.

  • HRIA LogoThis summer was a busy one for the Hot Rod Industry Alliance (HRIA), with the usual council events plus a few changes. The new select committee terms began on July 1. In this year’s election, HRIA welcomed back four incumbents: Scott Bowers (Ron Francis Wiring), B.J. Elmore (Ridetech), Jeff Major (Bed Wood and Parts) and Angela Schoof (TEN: The Enthusiast Network). In addition to these veteran HRIA leaders, Carmen Bélanger-Martin of AM Hot Rod Glass joined the team.

  • Member News LogoSEMA held two successful Town Hall meetings in 2015, giving members and prospective members a chance to catch up with each other and the state of the association. The first SEMA Town Hall was held in 2011, in an effort to keep an ear to the ground for feedback and challenges in the industry. Since then, the association has held 14 of these meetings at various locations around the country, finding it an effective way to listen and respond face-to-face.

New Products

Peoples And Places

  • Now in its fourth year, the SEMA News 35 Under 35 roster has become a much-anticipated annual feature. In the following pages, we are again pleased to present 35 young trendsetters who are bringing exciting new ideas and renewed enthusiasm to every segment of the automotive specialty-equipment industry.

    Pouring through the nominations, SEMA News looks for candidates who are already making a significant industry impact through their leadership within their organization or business. Entrepreneurship, commitment, insight, innovation, integrity, responsibility, demonstrated skill, involvement and success within the marketplace weigh heavily in our decision-making.

Required Reading

  • As the 2015 SEMA Show approaches, the industry is clamoring to learn what exhibitors have planned. Among the best resources for SEMA Show information are SEMA publications, including this magazine, the SEMA Show Daily and the weekly electronic newsletter SEMA eNews.

Retail Store Review

  • A longtime passion for off-roading helped motivate the Richmond family to launch Southern Off-Road Specialists (SORS) in 2000.

SEMA Heritage

  • Some 10 years after its founding, Hot Rod was branching out, looking for new trends to appeal to its speed-hungry readers. Late ’50s and early ’60s issues continued to cover the traditional hot-rodding venues—Bonneville, Indianapolis, Pikes Peak and NHRA-sanctioned dragstrips across the country—but other forms of motorsport were appearing regularly, too.