2014 SEMA Middle East Trip

Top Speed was the first stop on a day-long trip to tour local tuning shops. Pictured are (left with back to camera) Rick Trudo, president and CEO of SCT Performance; Adrian Croot (center), marketing director of Bully Dog Technologies; and (right) Saeed Al Al Marzouqi, managing director of Top Speed.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.

China’s Growing Love Affair With Jeeps

A number of Jeep clubs have sprung up throughout China with their members enjoying off-roading trips lasting up to two or even three weeks and venturing as far away as Mongolia and Nepal, among other destinations. 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.

Japan Custom-Car Market Overview

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.

2013 Global Media Awards

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].”

Global Participation at the 2013 SEMA Show

Noted one U.S. exhibitor, David Borla of Borla Performance Industries: “SEMA networking programs—whether roundtable discussions at the SEMA Show or trips abroad—are an invaluable resource to SEMA members.” 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.

The Promise of China

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.

SEMA Programs Aid Exporting Members

A ’12 Toyota HiLux (shown) is one of two vehicles popular outside the United States but not sold in this country and that is available for SEMA members to measure in order to create export-ready products. 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.

Markets Broaden, Providing Opportunities

 Pictured here are SEMA members measuring the ’13 Ford Ranger T6. A ’12 Toyota HiLux is also available. Member manufacturers can measure the vehicle free of charge at SEMA headquarters.

SEMA Programs for Global Exports

Growing demand for U.S. products among the more than 95% of the world’s consumers who reside outside the country has resulted in a five-fold growth in American exports from 1985–2012, according to a Federal Reserve Bank report, and a record number of American companies are seeking to meet the demand. Yet for all that growth, the Small Business Administration reports that only 1% of small businesses are involved in exporting. And for those that are, 58% export to only one country and 83% to less than five markets.

There are huge benefits for companies that export. Diversifying the customer base can lead to an improved bottom line; companies that export are better positioned to ride out future U.S. economic downturns and can increase the firms’ overall competitiveness through access to new customers; exporting leads to new ways of doing business; and exports provide contact with new cultures.

The United Arab Emirates and the Middle East Region

Max Stutz (left), sales representative for Ohio-based Avery Dennison, shakes hands with Sheikh Salem Bin Abdulrahman Al Qassimi (right), director of the Office of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah. Also pictured is Philip Novac (center), Avery Dennison’s director of marketing and business development. 41 SEMA-Member Companies Explore the Opportunities and Challenges of Selling Into This Car-Lover’s Paradise

More than 160 pre-vetted buyers from nine countries met with 41 SEMA-member exhibitors at the 2013 SEMA Middle East Business Development Conference. Buyers from the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates [UAE]), from Lebanon, Egypt and Jordan traveled to the UAE to meet with manufacturers of parts for those engaged in car collecting, off-roading and motorsports and those seeking upgrades for street-performance vehicles.

A Closer Look at Russia

One of the World’s Largest Vehicle Markets

SEMA News recently traveled to Moscow to take a look at the center of the specialty-equipment market in the world’s largest country in terms of area (more than 6.6 million square miles). Russia is one of the fastest-growing emerging market economies and one of the five countries that make up the so-called BRICS, along with quickly growing Brazil, India, China and South Africa.

This article looks at the size of Russia’s passenger-vehicle market, the interest in customizing, consumer purchasing power, types of vehicles on the road and the implications for U.S. specialty-equipment companies as well as growth potential, opportunities and challenges.


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