There’s a reason why the tire and wheel section remains one of the largest display areas of the annual SEMA Show in Las Vegas. For consumers, tires and wheels continue to be one of the first, best and most basic ways to personalize a passenger car or light truck. Whether enhancing looks and stance from the get-go or breathing new life into a well-traveled vehicle, consumers love their wheel-and-tire packages. And through a variety of performance and style options aimed at every taste, the specialty-equipment industry stands readier than ever to fulfill their custom desires.
SEMA News spoke with SEMA’s council and network leaders to find out what’s in the pipeline 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. Not surprisingly, many council and network chairs viewed the Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports (RPM) Act as essential to the continued viability of the automotive aftermarket industry.
Kevin Shine has served St. Charles, Missouri, with automotive knowledge and experience for more than 30 years. He is proud to say that he has reached a point in his career deep enough to accommodate three generations of customers.
Additive manufacturing, better known as 3D printing, is a popular and increasingly applied technology in the automotive world. A meticulous, layer-by-layer process, 3D printing offers limitless options and cheaper solutions to manufacturers’ processes.
Performance products drive innovation and consumer enthusiasm, guaranteeing the continued health and growth of every business in the distribution chain, from manufacturers to retailers and marketers to media. And because clean-air regulations govern so much of the manufacturing, sale and use of products in this category, SEMA has long emphasized the need for emissions compliance on the part of its member manufacturers while simultaneously striving to protect them from overly burdensome regulation.
The year 2015 proved to be one of growth and development for the Tools & Equipment segment of the automotive aftermarket. For example, the SEMA Show New Products Showcase demonstrated 22% growth in the Tools & Equipment section, totaling 195 product entries. The array of products entered included everything from glass-removing robots to an automotive battery analyzer.
Peter Treydte is the manager of the SEMA Compliance Center, where his role is to provide a bridge between SEMA members and the California Air Resources Board (CARB). Treydte spent more than 20 years working for a member company, where a large portion of his responsibility was making sure that products were emissions-compliant. As a result, Treydte has substantial experience in working with CARB. SEMA News recently spent some time with Treydte, during which he explained the basics of emissions compliance, including products that require testing, first steps and test vehicles, as well as the cost and time for the entire process.
Ensuring that their aftermarket products are emissions-compliant under state and federal laws has long been a serious issue for manufacturers. However, a recent step-up in regulatory enforcement has sent a sudden shock wave through the entire specialty-equipment industry, from manufacturer to retailer, making Executive Order (EO) exemption more vital than ever. In fact, it’s no longer hyperbole to say a business’ very survival could be at stake.
There are literally hundreds of car-care products on the market today, each aimed at making cars look good. According to a SEMA market report, the market for wax, cleaning products and other chemicals was worth $1.49 billion in 2015. The majority of the products, roughly 61%, are sold in brick-and-mortar auto-parts chains and retail chains.
Industry stalwarts unanimously agree that the hot-rod market is as healthy as it’s ever been. The economy is stronger than it was at this time last year, and consumers have more discretionary income to spend on their toys, partially due to low fuel prices. Although hot rodding—in the most traditional sense—is predominately embraced by aging enthusiasts, the options are diverse, and getting broader.
“Last year’s Battle of the Builders competition at the SEMA Show represents how healthy the market is,” said Rick Love, Hot Rod Industry Alliance (HRIA) past chairman and executive vice president of Vintage Air. “There were excellent examples of all the different vehicle genres to pick from. Everybody in the hot-rod industry is busy; they have more work than they can do and would like to hire more qualified people.”