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.”
SEMA News recently spoke with a selection of representatives from within the mobile-electronics industry to see where the market is at present, where it is headed tomorrow, and what we might see in the years ahead. Overall, the rapid pace of technology has meant that the segment has seen significant change in recent years, including changes that have disrupted the status quo and also created new opportunities.
Last October, CARB issued a letter recognizing the SEMA Garage Emissions Compliance Center in Diamond Bar, California, as a Certification-Ready Automotive Emissions Testing Laboratory, making it possible for SEMA to assist members in all aspects of securing CARB and federal EPA emissions compliance.
Over the past 53 years, SEMA has developed a track record of assisting members in a variety of areas related to industry and business development. The mission of “helping members’ business succeed and prosper” is steeped in history and first grew out of a need for consistency and community among racing industry members. In the beginning, SEMA exclusively served suppliers of performance equipment for hot rods, and the association accomplished its purpose of uniting the industry. Members helped develop standards for racing competitions and the association continued to grow, putting the industry firmly on the map.
From the influence of Internet sales to the integration of new materials and advanced manufacturing processes, the tire and wheel industries remain in flux. A tire tariff that threatened significant upheaval seems to have been overstated, but brick-and-mortar retailers are seeing the unmistakable effect of online sales. On the wheel side, flow forming, carbon fiber, concave designs and translucent colors are emerging trends.