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.
In the late ’20s, cousins A.L. Scoggin and J. Ray Dickey were in the grocery business together in a small town outside Lubbock, Texas, when they heard that a GM franchise was going to become available. They decided to sell the store and pool their money, and they opened a Buick franchise in Lubbock in 1929. Scoggin-Dickey Chevrolet Buick is now in the fourth generation of family ownership, although the Dickeys retired several years ago, and the associated Scoggin-Dickey Parts Center is one of the largest operations of its kind in the country.
Efficiency is paramount to manufacturing companies. Exploiting the full capacity of available tooling and resources maximizes bottom-line profits. For some companies, peak efficiency is derived from adding a private-labeling operation to their product offerings.
SEMA News annually canvasses the leaders of the association’s councils and networks for the December issue to seek their views about how the industry is shaping up for the coming year. The chairs of each group provide responses based on what their organizations and their companies are seeing within their marketplaces. Their responses provide helpful insights for businesses in every segment of the marketplace.