Rich Barsamian got word that he was indeed one of the 2020 SEMA Hall of Fame honorees, and he was still speechless one week later. “Yeah, I was trying to think—because I’m still sort of in shock,” he said. The SEMA Hall of Fame will do that to you. It will take your breath away and leave you speechless, even if you’re Rich Barsamian. And that is saying something, because it takes quite a bit to see him speechless.
In late January, all indicators pointed to another robust 2020 for the market. Then came the coronavirus. In response, major UTV manufacturers took decisive measures to safeguard employees and customers and weather the national shutdown initiated in April, and aftermarket manufacturers and retailers developed new ways of selling. More recently, as the summer powersports season moves into full swing, there is optimism that a significant rebound will be possible.
Throughout the years, the automotive aftermarket has adapted many times to changes in consumer taste and advances in product development. Through it all, however, Hot Rod Alley at the SEMA Show has remained a steady industry focal point, providing a forum for some of the aftermarket’s leading lights to showcase their latest, most innovative parts and projects. What began with a handful of fabricators tinkering with pre-war Fords in their home shops has blossomed, decades later, into a global industry boasting thousands of builders who comprise a $1.26-billion market, according to the most recent survey from the Hot Rod Industry Alliance (HRIA).
SEMA provides its nearly 7,000 companies a plethora of benefits, including access to the SEMA Garage; industry-leading market research; education; world class trade shows; networking opportunities; a regulatory and advocacy program to fight for industry-friendly legislation in Washington, D.C.; international programs to reach potential overseas customers; and more. Whether you're a manufacturer, retailer, jobber, distributor, rep or installer, SEMA has something to offer everyone. For more information, visit www.sema.org/benefits.
The face of the automotive marketplace has changed many times over the decades, but one feature has remained constant: the popularity of pickups and, more recently, their sibling SUVs and CUVs. Unlike certain makes and models of passenger cars, trucks never go out of style. They’re the ideal multipurpose vehicles that are equally functional as daily commuters, jobsite workhorses or recreational trail machines. For sheer versatility, on the road and off, nothing compares to them, and that’s probably why the bestselling vehicle in the United States for more than 40 years running has been a pickup.
Custom-car builders from all walks of life entered the 2019 Battle of the Builders (BOTB) competition. While the bulk of the entries came from contestants scattered across the United States, our neighbors up north and down south also provided multiple entries, and some even traveled across the pond to enter the competition. Legends of the industry entered and competed with first-timers looking to make names for themselves. The format remained the same as last year, with winners recognized in four different categories: Hot Rod, Truck/Off-Road, Sport Compact and Young Guns (under 27).
The SEMA Person of the Year award is among the most prestigious of the honors announced each year at the SEMA Show Industry Awards Banquet. Beyond any personal or professional achievements, the award recognizes an individual who embodies service and dedication to the automotive specialty-equipment industry for the benefit of the entire aftermarket. At the recent ceremonies held Thursday night, November 7, at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino, the association named Dan Kahn, founder of Kahn Media, its 2019 SEMA Person of the Year.
As the world’s premier automotive trade show, the SEMA Show reflects the $44 billion automotive aftermarket, bringing together every segment of the industry—from hot rods to mobile electronics and collision repair. And if this year’s Show is any indication, the industry is alive, well and poised for another great year.
SEMA is governed by a Board of Directors who volunteer their time to provide leadership and guidance to the organization. Board members are nominated and elected by the association’s membership at large. Directors serve a three-year term, while the chairman serves for two years immediately after completing a two-year term as chairman-elect. The current Board was inaugurated at the 2019 SEMA Installation & Gala, held July 26, 2019, at the Anaheim Marriott, Anaheim, California.
SEMA Battle of the Builders (BOTB) gives opportunities to builders worldwide to showcase their talents. Industry legends and up-and-coming builders go head-to-head as they exercise their skill and creativity at the industry’s premier event. Many of the builders spend countless hours on their creations. Some work in teams; some work by themselves. The finished products end up being as unique as the builders themselves, reflecting the talent and originality of the custom car industry.