Business

Trends on a Roll: Tire & Wheel Market

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No single element can change the look of a car or truck like a set of tires and wheels. Thin or thick sidewalls, tall or small, chrome or painted, steel or aluminum—the combinations are endless, and each can thoroughly alter the appearance and the functionality of the vehicle. At last November’s SEMA Show in Las Vegas, a group of enthusiasts who were taking part in a marketing study confirmed the popularity of tire and wheel modifications. A whopping 84.6% of them said that they had bought tires or wheels for their vehicles, and for many—regardless of the type of vehicle they owned—tires and wheels were the first accessory they bought.

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Hiring Right: Best Practices

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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.

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The Upside of the Downturn

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As the automotive industry continues to adapt to changes in the economy and consumer spending habits, SEMA-member companies are faced with the decision to either race ahead with the new course of the specialty-equipment market or to fall behind with the old status quo. In SEMA’s recent webinar—“The Major Determinants of U.S. Automotive Demand: Factors Driving the U.S. Automotive Market”—moderator John Waraniak, SEMA vice president of vehicle technology, urges members to focus on the upside of the industry’s current downturn.

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Roy Littlefield - Tire Industry Association Executive Vice President

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Roy Littlefield, executive vice president of the Tire Industry Association (TIA), gives lectures to students as part of his “hobby”—a job as an adjunct professor of politics and American history at Catholic University in Washington, D.C. But he isn’t interested in lecturing SEMA about the decline in tire manufacturers’ participation in the annual SEMA Show. He’d rather talk about how to lure the manufacturers back.

“The bottom line is communication,” said Littlefield. “The big companies want to feel like it is their show.”

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Protect Your Business by Protecting Your Intellectual Property

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Any good idea or product is worth protecting—especially if it’s the mainstay of your business’ success. However, the process of protecting your intellectual property (IP) may seem daunting. To help explain the procedures and ease the complexity for SEMA-member companies, the association recently hosted a webinar entitled “Patents, Trademarks and Copyrights: Ask the Experts.” It was presented by Steve Lustig of Dickinson Wright PLLC; Robb Roby of Knobbe, Martens, Olson & Bear LLP; and Merritt Blakeslee of The Blakeslee Law Firm.

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Best Practices: OEMs Working With SEMA Companies

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This is the first in a series of SEMA News stories based on the idea of “Best Practices”—the use of reliable and repeatable methods to ensure business success. In coming issues, we will delve into topics ranging from digital and traditional marketing to employer/employee relations, from getting the most out of trade shows to exploring global distribution. In each case, we will point the way to overcoming what the American Productivity & Quality Center has identified as one of three major hurdles to developing Best Practices: lack of knowledge. And we hope to help in conquering the other two: lack of motivation and lack of skills.

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Death of the Gasoline Engine? Not Just Yet

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These are tough times for automotive performance aftermarket companies. The entire paradigm on which many built their existence—the dominance of the internal-combustion engine—appears to be collapsing.

Actually, however, the best of times for some specialty-equipment companies is yet to come. The internal-combustion engine will still be the dominant powertrain technology for quite a while. Aftermarket firms can continue to benefit from demand for products to make the internal-combustion engine increasingly more fuel efficient.

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