Vehicle restoration is a time-honored tradition among automotive enthusiasts, and the aftermarket makes it all possible. Whether returning a classic to its pristine showroom condition or reinvigorating it as a restomod, the right products from the right manufacturers make all the difference. The 2018 SEMA Show featured a robust-as-ever restoration market with leading exhibitors in the category introducing a wide range of innovations to buyers in the New Products Showcase. The following pages highlight those Showcase products, along with some helpful observations from industry experts about current trends impacting the category.
Tools might be the aftermarket items most taken for granted, left on a shop floor to gather dust or tossed in a grimy parts bin. Yet they’re certainly among the most important everyday shop components because they allow fabricators and customizers to transform their vehicular visions into reality. Whether they’re cutting, clamping, wrenching, riveting, lifting, measuring, monitoring or performing a thousand other tasks, tools and equipment are the workhorses of any shop, and having the right one at hand is essential for any dedicated builder.
It may be the one segment of the automotive aftermarket that no enthusiast ever really wants to get too acquainted with, but it’s one of the most essential and one of the most universally patronized. Specifically, it’s the collision-repair sector—the companies and shops that manufacture and apply the paints, finishes and replacement bodywork that can transform a dinged-up road casualty into a like-new machine.
Technological advancements in restyling and car-care products and accessories enable this sector of the automotive aftermarket to continue to thrive. The launch of new vehicle models and the shift from smaller cars to trucks and SUVs provide additional opportunities for customization. In order to survive in this marketplace, manufacturers must be innovative and keep up with the latest trends and evolving vehicle technology.
Advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), including radar blind-spot detection, backup cameras, driver connectivity and collision and lane-departure avoidance systems, continue to gain momentum in the $1.5 billion mobile-electronics industry. These technologies are not only being offered in new vehicles; aftermarket manufacturers have also adapted products to fit many older vehicles that are already on the road.
Their origins may lie in car culture’s distant past, but hot rodding and performance street building remain as fresh as ever in the Age of Mobility. Dozens of cutting-edge, rodding-related products are rolled out each year at the SEMA Show, and sponsored programs such as SEMA’s Battle of the Builders and Young Guns have helped to attract a new generation of builders with its own unique take on the craft of hot rodding.
Has your business felt the impact of the rapidly increasing number of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) coming into the market? If not, it’s just a matter of time, since the OEMs are racing to add a wide range of the safety-performance technologies to their latest platforms.
The truck and SUV segments continue to present one of the strongest growth markets for accessories and modifications. More than a quarter of winners and runners-up from the New Products Showcase judging at the 2018 SEMA Show were from the Truck, SUV & Off-road category, with the off-road/4x4 sub-category again seeing the second-most entries of all. In particular, the Jeep JL has sparked wide innovation with products manufactured specifically for the new model.
The Racing & Performance section of the SEMA Show encompasses carburetors, filters, exhaust systems and many other parts designed to add performance in motorsports applications and beyond. It’s the largest section of the annual trade show, with more than 500 companies exhibiting their offerings for the segment. Within the 2018 New Products Showcase, entries that piqued the most buyer interest were Chevy’s LT5 crate engine, Digipower’s DPW Cutout exhaust system and Comp Performance Group’s FAST LSXHR 103mm intake manifold.
Adding new wheels is still typically among the first modifications consumers make to their vehicles. Whether their vision is to improve aesthetics or performance, this segment of the automotive specialty-equipment market has the potential to make their ride stand out from the rest of the pack.