International

Australian Specialty Market

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SEMA News recently talked with Stuart Charity, executive director of the nearly 30-year-old Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association (AAAA), and Ben Bartlett, the AAAA’s national membership manager, about the Australian specialty-equipment market amid increasingly positive news that Australia is well on its way to an economic recovery. There are indications that the automotive industry there has begun to rebound, and the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries reported growing vehicle sales—with particularly strong SUV sales—and overall sales for the year are expected to reach up to 900,000 in 2009. Spurred by tax rebates for business purchases of vehicles and increased purchasing as growing confidence by consumers increases, the sales gap will be much less than feared just several months ago, although the total isn’t expected to reach the record-setting 1.05 million achieved in 2007.

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Gaizhuang - The Specialty-Equipment Market in China

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Thirteen SEMA-member companies recently traveled to Beijing, China, for a firsthand look at the developing Chinese market for specialty products—or, as referred to in Chinese, Gaizhuang.

In its infancy, the Chinese market for performance and accessory products is not so unlike the U.S. market of 40 or 50 years ago. On one hand, it is brimming with opportunity as millions of consumers develop a growing taste (and the necessary disposable income) for vehicle personalization. But a closer look at the market reveals a sector riddled with sporadic government crackdowns on car modifications (in Shanghai in 2007 and most recently in Beijing); numerous performance products still technically illegal; far-flung population centers only partially served by the fragmented network of distributors; and the presence of frequent intellectual-property violations. It’s essential that companies take the necessary steps to minimize their potential IPR vulnerability in China and worldwide. Yet, despite this, the delegation overwhelmingly concluded that the largest mistake SEMA members could make would be to underestimate the market and the potential it holds for many SEMA members.

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Global: Legislative/Regulatory Update

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This is the latest periodic roundup of legislative/regulatory developments in key global markets. This edition includes updates from Europe, Australia and the global harmonization body looking at creating uniform standards for a range of products—including automotive aftermarket products—under the auspices of the United Nations. SEMA members may contact Linda Spencer for more information on any of these issues.

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International Insight

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SEMA Newsis interviewing top distributors/retailers in China in a series of monthly articles to introduce the larger players in the evolving specialty-equipment market in China to the magazine’s readers. The distributor chosen for this month’s international insight into China is Hangzhou Xin-Works, also known as X Jeep 4WD. Hangzhou Xin-Works is a distributor, installer/retailer and importer of off-road specialty products. The company was established in 2003 and currently employs 16 people.

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International Insight

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SEMA News is interviewing top distributor/retailers in China in a series of monthly articles to introduce the larger players in the evolving specialty-equipment market in China to the magazine’s readers. The distributor chosen for this inaugural interview is Yunliang 4WD Beijing, a vertically integrated company with activities including sales and installation as well as importing and distributing products to other shops throughout China.

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The United States of…Europe?

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Selling product to a half billion citizens in 27 countries may have become a little easier as of May 2009 with the implementation by the European Parliament and the European Council of new, beefed-up regulations requiring member states to allow the sale and use of specialty-equipment products—and other manufactured goods—that are legally sold in one member state to also be sold within the borders of the others.

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Key Steps Leading to Global Success

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A great product mixed with great service is the key factor identified by Bob Scheid, vice president of export-savvy flywheel and clutch manufacturer Fidanza Engineering Corp., in the company’s growing overseas sales. The Perry, Ohio-based firm sells to 27 countries around the world and has always been an internationally focused company, growing its international sales alongside its domestic sales since the very start of the firm 12 years ago.

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Resources for Easing Your Way Into Exporting

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Selling products to overseas markets is an important opportunity often overlooked by manufacturers seeking new customers to help weather the economic storm. In the first three months of this year, more than $17.2 billion was generated in overseas sales of U.S. automotive vehicles, parts and engines. Moreover, selling products overseas is not all that different from selling to U.S. customers if the fundamentals are there—a good product at a good price.

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