Coming off the recently concluded SEMA Show, it’s apparent that the industry is eager and primed for growth in the new year. But while the Show is always the ideal venue for spotting industry innovations, there are also broader factors at work shaping industry direction and individual business growth. Overall economic health, consumer confidence and new vehicle configurations are just a few of the trends that will impact SEMA-member businesses in 2019 and beyond, and connecting such dots for solid business planning is no small task.
In today’s increasingly digital world, there can be no doubt that robust manufacturer product data drives sales for everyone in the supply chain. When manufacturers standardize product data and include enhanced digital assets such as photos and video clips, they not only gain access to a wider range of resellers but also warehouse distributers, jobbers and retailers to sell more parts at a faster pace.
SEMA News spoke with SEMA’s council and network leaders to find out what’s in store for the coming year, and to get their thoughts about the emerging trends and the challenges they can expect to face based on what their organizations are seeing in their respective marketplaces. Common themes included the responsibility to fight overly restrictive government regulations, continued concern regarding the Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports (RPM) Act, and the evolution of in-vehicle technologies, such as advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS).
Those who recall the 1967 movie “The Graduate” will remember that the word was “plastics.” Plastics were the future, and that future reached a zenith in recent years with additive manufacturing machines that could “print” 3-D objects in shapely polymers. That future is changing, however, because the new industrial buzzword is “metals”—as in the ability to 3-D print them. But has that latest technology truly come of age? And, more importantly, should SEMA members rush to embrace it?
Every aftermarket business—large or small, established or startup—needs commercial insurance coverage. Whether you’re a restyler, a jobber, a detailer, an accessory retailer or an installer, liability coverage is essential to ensure that you and your specialty installation business are adequately protected. Fortunately for SEMA-member companies, insurance solutions are close at hand.
While identifying multiple growth opportunities for the specialty-equipment industry, the recently released “SEMA Advanced Vehicle Technology Opportunities Report” (see p. 328) predicts aftermarket growth potential in some types of driver vision augmentation (DVA) systems. To better understand this advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) technology, SEMA News turned to SEMA Vice President of Vehicle Technology John Waraniak.
SEMA research indicates that the U.S. aftermarket for advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and connected vehicle technologies (CVT), though still in its infancy, can be expected to grow into a $1.5 billion industry within the next five years. With so much at stake in these rapidly emerging technologies, SEMA has made identifying ADAS/CVT opportunities for association members a key priority.
The automotive specialty-equipment market experienced an eighth straight year of post-recession growth, reaching $43 billion in 2017. That’s just one of the many important takeaways from the newly released “2018 SEMA Market Report.” Filled with insights about the state of the specialty-equipment industry, the 82-page report also includes detailed profiles of aftermarket consumers, comprehensive industry and economic trend data, and key statistics surrounding the vehicles currently in operation on the roads. The annual report was prepared by SEMA’s market research department and is now available for free download at www.sema.org/research.
The year was 1953 when John Fehring opened his namesake 2,400-sq.-ft. automotive upholstery shop in Bayton, Texas. There at John’s Trim Shop, Fehrin’s son Ron learned the family trade. But as times changed and the van craze hit in the ’70s and ‘80s, Ron grew interested in more than car and truck interiors. His dad let him expand the business (provided, of course, that Ron invest his own money).
Bob Southard has spent the majority of his life entrenched in the automotive industry, working primarily as a distributor. A self-professed “Jeep guy” and lover of just about anything with a seven-slot grille, Southard was determined to open a shop capable of providing Arizona customers with excellent service, whether their vehicles were Jeeps or otherwise. Southard specializes in marketing and online work, and he eventually found the missing puzzle pieces he needed to open his business: a master tuner and an installer, both crucial pieces to the shop he always envisioned.