For decades now, SEMA members have expressed concern about the aging of the automotive specialty segment and the number of young enthusiasts entering the marketplace and our workforce. Addressing those concerns, SEMA has developed a number of initiatives, many of which have matured and grown. There has been expansion of the SEMA Young Executive Network (YEN), now 1,300 strong; development of a robust student program that brings 500-plus automotive students to the SEMA Show each year; and substantial support of other productive youth-oriented automotive programs, such as Hot Rodders of Tomorrow.
In this issue of SEMA News, you’ll find a number of articles making clear that our industry needs to be aware and more involved when it comes to laws and government regulation. Whether over safety or environmental concerns, land-use policy or small-business regulations, our industry has a great deal at stake.
Trade associations such as SEMA unite our industry’s individual voices and resources to have a meaningful impact. But we can only achieve results if we have you involved—and a great first step is to learn more about the issues and the legislators in your neck of the woods. Then arrange for a visit—with hands-on help from the SEMA team.
The compelling image you see on the cover of this issue was a byproduct of a visit by the world-famous SO-CAL Speed Shop crew. They came by to check out the newly completed SEMA Garage and to touch base with one of their celebrity clients—rock guitarist and legendary car collector Billy Gibbons. SO-CAL was among the first of many SEMA-member companies that will use the tools and facilities we have assembled in the SEMA Garage.
The SO-CAL team took advantage of the SEMA Garage FaroArm laser scanner to capture the exact curvature of the ’34 Ford’s sleek body panels to quickly fabricate a new custom trim piece. It’s an example of how the latest scanning and rapid prototyping tools can revolutionize the way our industry develops products.
Once a year, SEMA provides members with a way to select the Board of Directors—the volunteers who help SEMA make decisions that will help your business and the industry to succeed. I want to thank the many members who participated in the nomination process; we have some very strong candidates again this year. And thanks in advance to all of you who will be first-time voters, as well as all our regular voters.
The SEMA Data Co-op (SDC) is now completing its first year in full-operations mode, and we thought you might like to see that your industry-owned data management resource is now well–established and helping companies increase sales every day. As a reminder—the SDC is operating a centralized product data service for manufacturers that organizes, houses and then distributes online product catalog information to WDs and retailers to help power all manner of business systems, ultimately driving sales growth.
What does the Data Co-op progress report card look like? Consider these results from the first year of operations.
Do you see increasing examples of trademark rip-offs and illegal knock-off products showing up in online marketing and catalogs? SEMA is hearing more often from members experiencing intellectual property (IP) infringement problems. Protecting IP is something that many industries have struggled with for some time, and our industry is clearly no exception.
For a number of years now, SEMA has maintained policies and procedures to prevent the display of products, trademarks and trade dress that violate the IP rights of other SEMA exhibitors. Our goal has always been to ensure proper protection of the IP of industry members.
Organizations such as SEMA put a good deal of attention on long-range, strategic planning. One truly long-range initiative at SEMA is about engaging with the younger members—and future members—of our industry. The next generation really is the future of the industry. But let’s face it: If the association doesn’t pay close attention and evolve, it’s like asking the next generation to drive their father’s Oldsmobile—and folks in our industry know exactly how that doesn’t always work out!
Among SEMA’s most prominent youth programs are the SEMA Memorial Scholarship Fund, the Young Executive Network (YEN) and the “35 Under 35” recognition program—all examples of well-received association programs.
Over the last several years, SEMA has taken steps to heighten our outreach and increase touch points with members and the industry at large. This effort has included a commitment to enhancing customer service and raising the awareness of SEMA’s high-value member benefits. We recently announced a major move that will provide our members with the best customer service possible. For the first time in 50 years, each SEMA member will now have a single, dedicated point of contact for all things SEMA.
As a trade-only event, the SEMA Show requires attendees to demonstrate involvement in the automotive aftermarket in order to gain a badge. Although there are instances where guests and VIPs are allowed to visit the Show, the vast majority of the more than 126,000 attendees are members of the industry. And yet data indicates that the SEMA Show is more than ever before boosting consumer perceptions of automotive culture, the idea of customization and interest in the latest model year’s offerings of cars and trucks.
The SEMA Show has long attracted coverage from the enthusiast media, centered on racing heroes, the newest performance technologies and tuner-culture builders, such as Chip Foose. As a result, there is high awareness among the core group of enthusiasts who fix, repair and modify practically every car they own.
As 2013 comes to a close, we’re pleased to be wrapping up a SEMA Show that delivered tremendous value to our largest turnout ever of exhibiting manufacturers and buyers. Meanwhile, SEMA has been launching several new value propositions to help the industry. What follows is a progress report on some “big idea” programs recently funded and launched by SEMA to help our members grow their businesses.
December means the Performance Racing Industry (PRI) Trade Show, which is returning this year to enormous industry support in the city of Indianapolis. This move follows SEMA’s one-two acquisition of PRI and the International Motorsports Industry Show...