Still riding the wave of a recent marketplace shift, the utility task vehicle, better known as the UTV or side-by-side, is at a major crossroads. Intensive growth in product development and surging sales have helped the side-by-side to become a new staple in the off-road community.
Hot Rod Alley at the SEMA Show includes a mix of street rod, custom car and street-performance products and services pertaining to everything from classic ’30s vehicles to ‘70s musclecars and beyond. This diverse category showed growth for the third consecutive year at the SEMA Show. For 2016, the number of companies exhibiting in the hot rod segment grew 2% and occupied 4% more square footage on the Show floor than in the prior year.
SEMA offers its 6,600-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.
Exhibits at the annual SEMA Show can offer some useful indications of what is trending in the automotive aftermarket in a given year. For those who weren’t able to attend and see for themselves, media coverage following the Show often points to some hot items as well. In surveying these sources and conversing with exhibitors, SEMA News observed a few trends worth mentioning for 2017. The following is a brief look at what the editorial team discovered.
The SEMA Battle of the Builders (BOTB) has become one of the top competitions in the custom-car builder community, with more high-quality entries than ever. Interest in this year’s edition was at an all-time high, with more than 250 vehicles entered from all market segments, including trucks, hot rods, street rods, off-road, motorsports, sport compacts, luxury exotics and more. New this year was the Young Guns distinction for builders who were 34 years old and under. The competition was open to any builder with a display, feature or booth vehicle at the SEMA Show.
The core mission of SEMA is to help its members succeed and prosper, and a spirit of volunteerism permeates that mission. To grow the automotive specialty-equipment industry and address the broad range of issues facing association members, SEMA continues to rely on the vision and leadership of dedicated individuals from every industry segment who give freely of their time and energy for the benefit of all. In that spirit each year, SEMA bestows its highest honor—the Person of the Year Award—on an individual who embodies the association’s mission. For 2016, that person is Tim Martin of K&N Engineering.
As we have come to expect, the Show offered both the original and the improved, the ingenious and the astonishing, and it housed an unprecedented array of business possibilities and enlightening educational opportunities. Too, the Show this year was tinged with nostalgia and memories of the past, even as it was rich in optimism for the future.
Over the past five decades, SEMA has become world renowned for its annual SEMA Show, but its core mission as a trade association goes much further, extending benefits 365 days a year. To help its members succeed and prosper, SEMA’s year-round work extends to legislative and industry advocacy, the promotion of technology and innovation, market research, education, member services and a host of other important initiatives to encourage marketplace growth. Those goals take leadership, and each year, the SEMA Installation Gala gathers the association together to install newly elected SEMA Board of Directors and council members, say thanks to outgoing officers, and celebrate SEMA’s latest Hall of Fame inductees.
A major factor in the vitality and growth of the association was the advent of the annual SEMA Show. In 1965 and 1966, Noel Carpenter, publisher of Speed Equipment Directory, produced an industry-wide exposition that was initially promoted as a chance for the speed-equipment manufacturers to showcase new products. While the shows were not sponsored by SEMA, the association did receive a share of the profits from the 1966 gathering.
The 2016 SEMA Show is rapidly taking shape, with an expanded menu of demonstrations, seminars, special events and other new opportunities for Show attendees to soak up the full potential of the automotive aftermarket. With each passing year, the association team responsible for the SEMA Show sharpens its commitment to making the Show the ultimate venue for the specialty parts industry to do business and keeping the Show in tune with the latest concepts and technologies. With that in mind, we offer the following sneak peek at some of the must-see features at the 2016 SEMA Show.