As part of our planning for the SEMA Show each year, we poll our exhibitors, buyers and media from the prior Show and carefully review the results. I’d like to thank the 3,000-plus folks who responded to our most recent study, sharing with us your aims, perceptions and ideas for the SEMA Show. And good news: Both buyers and exhibitors report very high satisfaction with the Show, and we see their enthusiasm as preregistrations for the 2017 SEMA Show roll in at record levels.
As we monitor, measure and guide our progress here at SEMA, we have developed data points that help us understand how well our member-benefit programs are working. Many times, those signals can vary, but data points can align and crystallize on occasion, making what was cloudy suddenly obvious.
Here’s the situation: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) currently considers converting a street car or motorcycle into a race vehicle a violation of the Clean Air Act, and the sale and installation of parts used to convert a vehicle are deemed illegal as well. An amendment to the Clean Air Act, in the form of the Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports (RPM) Act now pending in Congress, would reverse that EPA position and permanently eliminate any question about the legality of racing conversions.
One of SEMA’s strategic aims has been to involve the younger generation, awaken an interest in all things automotive and perhaps even help young people to find careers in the automotive space. In recent years we have developed a number of programs that work toward that goal, and today the SEMA board is making its youth initiative a top priority.
It has been four years since SEMA made the commitment to acquire, preserve and support the Performance Racing Industry (PRI) Show and magazine. At the time, SEMA leadership recognized an opportunity to build a strong relationship with the racing and performance segment—a group that was not much represented within the SEMA membership. Some questioned how the PRI world could benefit from what SEMA had to offer; others doubted that the two organizations could coexist without compromising one identity or the other.
The 50th anniversary SEMA Show brought resounding confirmation that the original idea was good back then and perhaps even better today. For many of us, this year’s Show was a mix of past and present, of new beginnings and a moment to pause and consider memories from years past—all within the greater understanding that the our industry trade week in Las Vegas is about important business in the years ahead.
Those of you who attended our SEMA Show seminar on emissions compliance were reminded that the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have the combined authority to enforce anti-tampering regulations in all 50 states—and not just against manufacturers but industry resellers as well. For those who were not able to attend this annual briefing session, attendees had the opportunity to learn more about important new SEMA resources to help members stay in compliance with the law.
The SEMA Show is the one time each year when we all come together to do business, renew bonds with old friends and make as many new friends as possible. Proudly celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, the SEMA Show has also been our industry’s primary location to learn about new technologies and gain new perspectives. This year’s Show is exceptionally rich in innovative business insights.
As you read this, thousands of automotive specialty-equipment manufacturers are working in full-frenzy mode, finalizing their latest automotive innovations for the 2016 SEMA Show. For 50 years now, the basic premise of the Show has remained unchanged: unite automotive specialty-equipment buyers with parts manufacturers for a four-day marketplace to grow sales and the industry. And yet the SEMA Show is also ever-changing, introducing new ways to make this marketplace more productive, informative and interesting.
Many of us have seen studies indicating that today’s young people are less interested in owning and driving cars than were prior generations. The statistics suggest that kids might be more likely to hot rod their cell phones and spend money on video games than buy cool stuff for cars.