A growing number of Chinese are looking to explore their country’s rougher regions by going off-road, and Jeep sales in China are surging. But China’s terrain is apparently rougher than that found in the United States—or perhaps Chinese drivers are just more radical—because U.S.-built Jeeps are not durable enough for China, an engineer with Chrysler in China told SEMA. That could be an opportunity for SEMA members.
Scott Wood couldn’t have imagined that being named the Time magazine 2010 Dealer of the Year would be his ticket to China, but it was. Wood, who owns Chevrolet and Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep dealerships in the small town of Batesville, Arkansas, was invited to China to give a presentation to Chinese car dealers on selling accessories in dealerships. Wood sells quite a few Jeep accessories, so he naturally illustrated his presentation with examples of Mopar and aftermarket-branded Jeep accessories.
Despite some negative press lately due to drug violence, Mexico remains an important market for U.S. automakers and for SEMA members. Pickup brands from the United States are very popular. The economy in Mexico grew by 5.5% in 2010, and that economic growth is lifting personal incomes and growing the middle class. Those factors have created a growing market for SEMA members’ products.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is less than 40 years old and known as one of the most vibrant and passionate car-enthusiast markets in the world. Dubai, Abu Dhabi and the five other Emirates that make up the UAE offer exciting vehicle customizing markets by many measures. Per capita, the country boasts the largest number of motorsports facilities in the world, and a quick drive in Dubai or Abu Dhabi will delight any gearhead with the wide variety of customized vehicles plying its modern roads.
Below is a roundup of recent and proposed legislative and regulatory actions around the world that will directly impact the specialty-equipment industry. For more information on any of these items, contact SEMA International Relations Director Linda Spencer.
An often-overlooked resource for SEMA members seeking new overseas markets for their products are export management companies (EMCs). A growing number of SEMA members are already selling their products directly overseas, many with great success. But an even larger number are not fully tapping their export potential.
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The seventh annual Global Media Awards program found 150 companies being recognized by an international panel of automotive journalists at the 2010 SEMA Show. Twenty-four of the top automotive journalists hailing from 15 important world markets for specialty products rolled up their sleeves, and each selected 10 products from the New Products Showcase that they thought would most appeal to consumers in their home markets. We talked to some of the winners about being selected, their overseas sales plans and how important these established and emerging markets are for their bottom lines.
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Distributors and retailers from throughout China gathered in Beijing to meet with 21 SEMA-member companies that were participating in the first SEMA China Business Development Conference. The hotel-based program held in Beijing in September was built around a series of one-on-one meetings with pre-selected Chinese buyers who traveled to the event from cities throughout China, including Beijing, Shanghai, Ha’erbin in the far north, Guangzhou in the south and Hubei in the center of the country.
The U.S. government estimates that less than 1% of U.S. small businesses currently export, even though there’s huge demand for high-quality, American-made products.
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The allure of China is undeniable. Its rising incomes, growing middle class and fast-growing vehicle market all frequently make the news in the United States. Not all the news out of China is positive, however. Almost weekly, there are stories about counterfeit goods with ties to China. Counterfeit goods cost companies in the United States billions of dollars a year. There is no denying that intellectual property rights (IPR) protection is a problem for companies doing business in China, be it sourcing products there or selling in the market. But that doesn’t mean you should stay away from doing business in China. SEMA-member companies that have done business in China have some advice for fellow SEMA members eyeing the China market with anticipation but also trepidation: Your products will almost certainly be copied, so take steps to protect yourself.