SEMA companies interested in expanding their sales overseas or wishing to gain a foothold in key international markets for the first time should start planning now to take advantage of one of the biggest international events of the year—the 2014 SEMA Show. During the first week of November, resellers from more than 130 countries interested in purchasing performance and styling products will be descending on Las Vegas for the SEMA Show. In fact, early figures show that 25% of all buyers expected to attend this year’s Show reside outside the United States, which is similar to the percentage at the 2013 Show.
Executives from eight SEMA-member companies traveled with SEMA staff to explore the automotive specialty-equipment market in Russia and determine the potential for products in that country of 142 million. There was some trepidation, given the current political tensions between the U.S. and Russia, but once in Moscow, the group was impressed with what they saw.
“What a country,” said Ed Rossi, vice president of sales for Injen Technology. “It’s full of rich culture, history and majestic sights. Injen Technology ventured to Russia with a bit of skepticism due to the Crimea takeover. We had reservations about how Americans would be treated in light of our contradictory political stances, but the people of Russia were...
An Increasingly Popular Regional Destination for U.S. Automotive Specialty-Equipment Products
With an estimated population of 42 million, Central America is an increasingly important regional market for U.S. goods. The Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) eliminates trade barriers among the seven signatories, which include the United States, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Before this regional trade pact, tariffs on U.S. autos and parts to the region had averaged from about 4% to 9% and even up to 30% on certain products. Most of these import taxes disappeared immediately with CAFTA-DR approval, and the rest will be eliminated by 2015.
Record Number of SEMA Members Participate in Third Annual Visit to the United Arab Emirates
Whether the motivating factor is to hedge against future downturns in the U.S. economy or to sell to the 95% of consumers residing outside the United States or a combination of the two, SEMA members are increasingly reaching out to overseas resellers. Todd Lindblade, regional sales manager for Extang, based in Michigan, explained one of the reasons why his company and 41 other SEMA members recently spent a week in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) meeting with buyers from throughout the region.
By Alysha Webb
China continues to be a very important market for Chrysler’s Jeep line. Last year it became the brand’s largest global market. Imported models have driven that growth, but Chrysler has been talking for years about producing Jeeps in China. It looks as though that will become a reality next year. Adding domestically produced models to the mix should boost both sales of Jeeps and opportunities for SEMA members.
Though Japan slipped from the number-three car consumer worldwide in 2011 to number five in 2012, love for automobiles remains very strong among the Japanese. Like Americans, the Japanese are holding on to their cars longer, which makes for a very interesting opportunity for the custom market. People have a desire to give their cars a facelift after a few years when they hold on to them, and that results in more sales for those engaged in the custom-car market. From swapping out wheels to updating headlights to modernizing the entertainment system, the aftermarket business in Japan is booming, and consumers continue to look for new products to enhance their driving experiences.
For the tenth year, a panel of 29 journalists from leading international media outlets served on the Global Media Award panel. Journalists from 14 countries participated, including Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Finland, France, Germany, Honduras, Mexico, Norway, Russia, South Africa, United Kingdom and Venezuela. Each was charged with choosing 10 products from the more than 2,000 new products introduced at the 2013 SEMA Show that they believe would resonate best with their consumers.
Narrowing down the selection to only 10 products was difficult, said Graham Erasmus of South Africa’s Automotive Business Review. “Being a global media awards judge is pretty daunting,” he explained. “You are given six hours to vote for your 10 winning products, but the real problem lies in picking the final 10. I got it down to a short list of 28 and then had to go through the agonizing process of [whittling down the list to the final 10].”
Buyers from 135 countries descended on Las Vegas to meet with exhibitors at the 2013 SEMA Show and take part in numerous international programs. In fact, 25% of all buyers at the 2013 SEMA Show were from beyond U.S. shores, which was good news for exhibitors seeking to broaden their customer bases.
In the next issue of SEMA News, we will look at other international activities held at the 2013 SEMA Show, including coverage of the international journalists who served on the Global Media Award panel. These leading media outlets from 20 countries were charged with selecting the top 10 products each believed would sell best in their home markets. We will explore insights into their vehicle customization markets and their reasons for their selections.
U.S. Specialty-Equipment Companies Visit an Emerging Market
Twenty-two SEMA-member companies recently traveled to China for the 2013 SEMA China Business Development Conference. The program included a briefing by U.S. government officials, a visit to specialty-equipment shops, an evening at the Great Hall of the People (which serves as the seat of the Chinese parliament) and exhibiting at the China International Auto Parts Expo (CIAPE).
About two-thirds of the delegation had participated in previous SEMA overseas business-development programs to China and/or the Middle East, while this was the first time participating in an overseas SEMA event for a third of the companies and the first time exploring this market of 1.3 billion people.
Education and Logistical Help for Global Companies, International Vehicle Measuring Sessions, Make/Model Data, Attend International Seminars, Middle East Seminar, and more.
Exporting automotive specialty-equipment products can allow U.S. companies to increase their customer bases for improved bottom lines, better position themselves to ride out possible future U.S. economic downturns, and increase overall competitiveness through access to new customers. Exporting leads to new ways of doing business, and SEMA supports the global efforts of its members through a series of targeted international programs. This is the second of a two-part series on SEMA programs and resources designed to assist members to grow their international sales.