Business

SEMA Indicators

The first-ever SEMA Battle of the Builders television special is set to air at 8:00 p.m. EDT on Sunday, March 8, on the Velocity Network. Months of filming went into the production, culminating on a live stage at the SEMA Ignited afterparty this past November in Las Vegas.Compass Points for Specialty-Equipment Companies

Business trends reveal themselves in a host of incarnations, and we seek each year to ferret out those that pertain to the automotive specialty-equipment aftermarket. The SEMA Show, new-vehicle sales, educational tendencies and other indicators may reveal significant industry developments—or at least give savvy professionals some compass points to steer by. We hope that the following areas of interest help with the navigation.

2015 Tire & Wheel Trends

Market Forces and Technology May Change the Shape of the Industry

The wheel and tire market has improved over the past year, according to a widely held consensus among professionals in the automotive specialty-equipment industry. New offerings, technology and an improving economy bode well for sales in 2015, but there are also impediments that may deflate some of the optimism.

Rapid Prototyping Revolutionizes Product Development

New products shape the automotive specialty-equipment industry, and companies that get their innovations to market earliest have the best chance for success. Millions of dollars are spent each year to research, design, develop and produce prototypes that are eventually honed into the finished parts that reach consumers’ vehicles. Until recently, that process has been time consuming and expensive—especially for smaller manufacturers that don’t have huge budgets. But technology is changing the R&D process.

Retail Spotlight

Jotech Motorsports’ Formula for Success: Love What You Do and See Projects Through

Jotech Motorsports, located in a 14,000-sq.-ft. facility in an industrial complex three miles off I-635 in Garland, Texas, has been in business for 20 years. The company started in a small, 800-sq.-ft. shop averaging $30,000 in monthly sales of Honda and Acura products. It has since grown to a $150,000–$300,000-per-month business with seven employees.

35 Under 35

In order to land on our “35 Under 35” list, individuals must first be nominated by one or more industry peers. Pouring through the nominations, SEMA News looks for candidates already displaying leadership qualities within their organization or business. Entrepreneurship, commitment, insight, innovation, integrity, responsibility, and demonstrated skill, involvement and success within the industry weigh heavily in our decision-making. The selection process is never easy—in one way or another, every nominee is a winner—but, ultimately, we reduce the nominations down to 35 finalists to make our special section. When all was said and done for this 2014 edition, we again found ourselves with an impressive roster of highly accomplished individuals making their marks at a young age in a diverse array of industry segments.

Retail Spotlight

Morris 4x4 Center will move into a 60,000-sq.-ft. facility later this year, with plans to better service the West Coast and expand offerings into the truck market. Morris 4x4 Center Has Maintained a 30% Average Annual Growth Rate Since 2005

Morris 4x4 Center is a pure-play Jeep parts and accessories Internet retailer—which accounts for 98% of all sales—and is housed in a 32,000-sq.-ft. facility in Pompano Beach, Florida, with 70 employees. It started as a 6,500-sq.-ft. warehouse complex with six units. Every few years, the company expanded into another unit. In November of this year, Morris will move again, this time into a 60,000-sq.-ft. facility.

Web Suppliers

Industry data standardization has led to an explosion of parts and related information that can now be made available to dealers and aftermarket retail outfits online. Today’s web developers offer manufacturers as well as end users powerful tools to disseminate and access a seemingly infinite number of products in the marketplace by part, vehicle and application. Online Tool-Building for Your Business

In many ways, developing a strong web presence has become a whole lot simpler. In other ways, it can be more confusing than ever.

“With all the technology out there, websites are just easier to build now than they used to be,” said Bill Lundberg, product manager, automotive industry, for ARI (formerly 50 Below). “Local website designers have become abundant. Many designers still focus on the desktop version. Great website presence, however, relies on helping your customers on all types of devices and using the best tools for the job.”

Utility Task Vehicles By the Numbers

A Powersports Category Snapshot

SEMA research indicates that more than a third of automotive accessory enthusiasts are likely to own a powersports vehicle. That means the powersports market offers great crossover potential for aftermarket businesses catering to other specialty-equipment segments. So what’s one of the hottest trends in the powersports arena?

The SEMA-commissioned report notes that approximately 670,000 UTV models were sold from 2010 to 2012. This is consistent with other market analyses that have predicted continued healthy growth of the segment through 2015.

The New SEMA Garage

The Innovations Center Opens for Business

The photo you see on the cover of this month’s SEMA News was taken in the newly completed SEMA Garage photo studio. It’s a shot of rock guitarist Billy Gibbons, who was kind enough to pose with his project car, which SO-CAL Speed Shop is preparing for the 2014 SEMA Show. Gibbons was on hand to view progress on the car, confer with SO-CAL designer/builders Pete Chapouris and Jimmy Shine, and to tour the SEMA Garage, which is now officially open for business.

Retail Spotlight

Tom Pickett (right) left a steady job in automotive manufacturing to build his business, Tom’s 4x4 Superstore, which opened in June 2010.Tom’s 4x4 Superstore’s Blueprint to Continued Growth Starts With Customer Service

Tom Pickett has been a Jeep enthusiast for most of his life. He bought one at the end of 2009 but quickly realized that there was nowhere to buy parts for it in Chattanooga, Tennessee. So, in February 2010, he decided to walk away from a lucrative career in automotive manufacturing and build the foundation for Tom’s 4x4 Superstore—a Jeep and off-road parts supplier and installer that officially opened in June of that year.

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