The Best of the 2015 SEMA Show
Together We Drive!
The annual SEMA Show houses 13 aftermarket business categories under one roof, creating a laboratory of ideas that allows entrepreneurs to visualize novel crossover applications, managers to share technologies, and businesses to benefit from blended techniques and best practices. This year’s Show attracted trendsetters from every category and allowed them to capture an unprecedented array of business possibilities—all ultimately joined together by the automotive culture that every attendee shares.
Held this year November 3–6 in the Las Vegas Convention Center, the 2015 SEMA Show attracted record-setting numbers of attendees and occupied a footprint of nearly 2 million sq. ft. once all exhibit booths, educational gatherings, new product introductions, vehicle displays, networking events, and demonstrations were accounted for.
While the SEMA Show is open to automotive industry professionals only, the newly launched SEMA Ignited event Friday night allowed exhibitors to add a consumer element to their investment. The 2015 Ignited event attracted more than 14,000 enthusiasts and consumers. Most came to take in the display of the industry’s newest custom creations, drifting, celebrities and the filming of the one-hour “Battle of the Builders” special that will air February 1 on the Discovery Channel.
The following pages highlight just a few of the activities that will, by all accounts, make the 2015 SEMA Show one of the most memorable Shows ever.
Welcome to All
The goal of the SEMA Show is the same every year: to be the best tradeshow ever, even if not necessarily the biggest. Still, no review of statistics can avoid implying that the 2015 SEMA Show had grown yet again and will go down as one of the most memorable in recent years. New benchmarks were set in almost every category, including a significant increase in footprint and sharp upticks in buyer attendance and exhibitor demand. More importantly, an upbeat atmosphere and enthusiastic reports of successful business transactions are indicators that the Show offered the kind of quality interactions between buyers and exhibitors that only the best tradeshows can hope for.
More than 3,000 members of the media attend the SEMA Show each year, generating millions of reports and social-media mentions that reverberate around the world. The 2015 SEMA Show was no exception, serving as a venue for debuts of dozens of extraordinary vehicles and significant reveals. Here members of the assembled media converge on the Ford display, moments after Ford was named 2015 SEMA Award winner, earning Hottest Car (Ford Mustang), Hottest Truck (Ford F-Series) and Hottest Sport Compact of the Show (Ford Focus).
The New Products Showcase provided a gateway to the insights and ideas of exhibitors from all over the world. Buyers and media flocked to the showcase to discover advancements on existing ideas and out-of-the-box innovations developed for a performance world that demands ever-more-sophisticated approaches to quality and fitment.
For 2015, the New Products Showcase grew by more than 30% as more exhibitors than ever took advantage of the opportunity to attract new buyers to their booths. In addition, all of the products were photographed and added to a photo gallery that is accessible to the media for editorial use (www.SEMAdigital.com), making the Showcase the SEMA Show opportunity that keeps on producing customers all year long.
Concentration and teamwork were at a premium as eight elite teams in the Hot Rodders of Tomorrow competition came to the 2015 SEMA Show for a showdown. More than 60 companies sponsored 504 students on 153 teams, who competed in 12 events as they vied for a piece of $3.8 million in scholarship money.
The program is one of many that the SEMA Show hosts for students and their instructors, allowing young people to immerse themselves in the automotive specialty-equipment environment and consider careers in the industry.
Our congratulations go out to all of the competitors, and especially to the winning team from Peach County High School in Georgia. The Peach County team completed the required assembly task in just 17 minutes, 20 seconds.
Welcoming the Industry
It was 38 years ago that the SEMA Show outgrew Anaheim, California, moved to Las Vegas, and continued to expand, pressing the limits of even the vast facilities of the Las Vegas Convention Center.
A Performance Pavilion was erected for the 2015 event, adding some 70,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space to accommodate more than 200 exhibitors who otherwise might have faced a sold-out Show. Buyers quickly found that the Performance Pavilion housed first-time and featured exhibitors bursting with fresh ideas, and business inside was brisk.
End of an Era
Stepping up to the SEMA banquet stage for perhaps the last time, Dave McClelland accepted the microphone from 2015 SEMA industry banquet entertainer Billy Gardell, star of the CBS television show “Mike & Molly.” Banquet attendees delivered a thunderous standing ovation to McClelland, the iconic host who has entertained thousands for more than 40 years, introducing and standing alongside the industry’s most celebrated leaders.
Celebrate the Builders
The SEMA Show is the setting for the annual Battle of the Builders competition, a showcase for the work of hundreds of the most original thinkers in the industry. Here the judging has narrowed the field down to the top 10 designers, fabricators and craftspeople who work in glass and metal. The backstories about the cars, the personalities and the creative energy generated by those who actually build the thousands of cars on the SEMA Show floor is shared with millions of viewers nationwide via a one-hour special.
Last year’s broadcast drew a viewing audience of 2 million viewers nationwide. This year, the 2015 SEMA “Battle of the Builders” special is scheduled to debut February 1, at 10:00 p.m. EST/PST on the Velocity Network.