Business

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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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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Adapting to Change

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The automotive industry landscape is very rocky right now. A rapid sales rebound is not on the horizon, and many companies are going through radical restructuring. A research report commissioned by SEMA and conducted by the Center for Automotive Research (CAR) sees opportunity for SEMA members in this environment.

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An Opportunity For Specialty-Equipment Businesses and Dealerships

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Ford was the Vehicle Manufacturer of the Show for the 2009 SEMA Show, but its support for specialty-equipment companies goes well beyond that. The Ford Licensed Accessories Program offers qualified SEMA members the chance to boost sales of their products through Ford dealerships.

“It is a great concept and we’ve had a lot of growth with the program,” says Ernie Bunnell, vice president of sales and marketing at 3dCarbon of Newport Beach, California.

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2010 SEMA Design Awards

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Car and truck buyers seek the vehicles that best suit their needs, including the need to be individual. While the automakers deliver an amazing variety of products to fit dozens of market niches, they cannot possibly create a unique vehicle for every unique customer. Accessories and performance products fill that void, allowing unlimited and complete personalization of any car or truck.

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