Cover Story

35 Under 35

Who’s up and coming in the automotive aftermarket? Which young business leaders of tomorrow are already making their marks today? How do they envision the future? What new ideas and innovations might we expect from them, and most importantly, what direction will they take our industry?

In the following pages, SEMA News is pleased to present 35 young trendsetters, all age 35 or younger, bringing exciting new concepts and fresh enthusiasm to every segment of the automotive specialty-equipment industry.

2018 SEMA Hall of Fame

Success looks different for everyone—and that is certainly true for this year’s SEMA Hall of Fame inductees. Donnie Eatherly, Ed Pink and Chris Thomson have distinct backgrounds, aptitudes and professional paths, but they have each built a flourishing career doing something that makes them happy.

 

Selling UTVs

Within the off-roading segment, side-by-sides (aka UTVs) have emerged as popular second vehicles for Jeep and truck enthusiasts. Beyond this crossover market, a growing number of newbie buyers are also opting for UTVs as their first forays into outdoor and powersports recreation, thanks to the economical price of admission. Nowadays, a reasonably capable stock UTV can be had for as little as $11,000, and manufacturers have become fiercely competitive in the race to offer consumers a bevy of tough, agile, trail-ready side-by-sides.

The New Rules of Hot Rodding

Among the most popular destinations at the SEMA Show, Hot Rod Alley is home to exhibitors who design and manufacture products intended to add reliability, performance and comfort to American classics. The hot-rod niche has seen significant growth in recent years, and it’s currently estimated to be a $1.26-billion industry, according to the Hot Rod Industry Alliance’s “2017 Biannual Report.” Gauging by the number of Hot Rod Alley exhibitors honored in the 2017 Global Media Awards, it’s also a category that’s gaining momentum worldwide.

2018 SEMA Membership Roster

SEMA offers its 6,900-plus member companies a variety of business tools and resources to help their businesses succeed and prosper. Whether you are a manufacturer, retailer, jobber, distributor, rep or installer, SEMA is here to help you make smarter business decisions; be more strategic and targeted with your promotions; save money through group purchases; and network with key businesses and leaders in the industry. For the latest details on association benefits and upcoming activities, visit www.sema.org/benefits.

Truck/SUV New Products

It is no secret that trucks and SUVs are keeping U.S. automotive sales thriving, with OEMs adding new variants of crossovers and light trucks regularly—more than ever before in the last 15-or-so years. The recent North American International Auto Show, for example, saw the unveiling of three major truck releases—all from American manufacturers—likely to heighten truck sales even more in 2018.

 

2017 SEMA Battle of the Builders

For many in the custom-car industry, the SEMA Battle of the Builders is a chance to prove that they are among the best. The 2017 competition began with nearly 300 applications from builders representing an elite group of individuals who have demonstrated extreme talent, creativity and craftsmanship in modifying cars, trucks and SUVs. The field was not only the largest to date but was also deep in entries of exceptional quality. This year also saw the expansion of the Young Guns recognition, which shines the light on young, up-and-coming builders in the automotive industry.

New Wheel-Category Products

New wheels are among the easiest personalizations consumers can make to their vehicles and have therefore become a staple of the specialty-equipment industry. More than adding style, new wheels can affect functionality and performance, which means the segment is continually evolving. How can the market stay on top of the latest advances in design, materials and manufacturing processes? The answer is the annual SEMA Show, where all that and more is on display.

SEMA 2017: Leading Our Future

After 51 years, the SEMA Show has become many things. Once primarily a marketplace for hot-rod parts, the Show has grown to embrace all things automotive, commingling varied tastes, disciplines and business models—all under one roof. It’s the one place in the world where you’ll find a customized Lamborghini sitting next to an outrageous hot rod, flanked by a 1,000hp Camaro and a custom Harley. With 12 distinctly different segments represented, the SEMA Show creates crossover possibilities and an energy far greater than the sum of its parts.

Meet the 2017–2018 SEMA Board of Directors

SEMA is governed by a Board of Directors, with directors nominated and elected by the trade association’s membership at large. Board directors serve three-year terms, while the chairman-elect automatically assumes the role of chairman after completing a two-year term. The 2017–2018 Board was empaneled at the annual SEMA Leaders and Legends Installation Gala, held July 28, 2017, at the Sheraton Fairplex in Pomona, California.

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