Cover Story

The SEMA Battle of the Builders (BOTB) has become one of the top competitions in the custom-car builder community, with more high-quality entries than ever. Interest in this year’s edition was at an all-time high, with more than 250 vehicles entered from all market segments, including trucks, hot rods, street rods, off-road, motorsports, sport compacts, luxury exotics and more. New this year was the Young Guns distinction for builders who were 34 years old and under. The competition was open to any builder with a display, feature or booth vehicle at the SEMA Show.



  • Although cyber threats on Fortune 500 companies make headlines, victims come in all shapes and sizes. Ponemon Institute, a Michigan-based research center dedicated to research on privacy, data protection and information security, found that 51% of surveyed CEOs reported experiencing a data breach not just daily but hourly.

Business Technology

  • SDC LogoThis month marks my final article as CEO of the SEMA Data Co-op (SDC) before I hand over the operational reins to Craig Schmutzler, vice president of operations, who will be the driving force behind the SDC moving forward. Working with Jim Graven, senior director of membership, and Stephanie Jones, director of e-business, and with oversight from Mike Spagnola, vice president of OEM and product development programs, Schmutzler will guide our very capable team to even greater success. They are all here to serve you, our members, and I encourage you to follow their lead as they continue to expand the scope and capabilities of the SDC.

Chris Kersting

  • Chris KerstingOne of SEMA’s strategic aims has been to involve the younger generation, awaken an interest in all things automotive and perhaps even help young people to find careers in the automotive space. In recent years we have developed a number of programs that work toward that goal, and today the SEMA board is making its youth initiative a top priority.


  • Richard PettyIn what has become an annual tradition, Omix-ADA recently unveiled a project Jeep built in support of SEMA Cares, the association’s program benefitting children’s charities. The debut took place at the recent 50th anniversary SEMA Show in Las Vegas. After its unveiling at SEMA Central, the vehicle served as a dramatic conversation piece, raising vital awareness for SEMA Cares charitable efforts within the automotive aftermarket.

  • The SEMA Battle of the Builders (BOTB) has become one of the top competitions in the custom-car builder community, with more high-quality entries than ever. Interest in this year’s edition was at an all-time high, with more than 250 vehicles entered from all market segments, including trucks, hot rods, street rods, off-road, motorsports, sport compacts, luxury exotics and more. New this year was the Young Guns distinction for builders who were 34 years old and under. The competition was open to any builder with a display, feature or booth vehicle at the SEMA Show.

  • 2016 SEMA Launch Pad CompetitionThe concept of SEMA’s Launch Pad competition, powered by the Young Executives Network (YEN), has always been to identify and engage the next generation of industry leaders. Modeled after television competitions that offer young businesses a chance to win backing for their proposals, the SEMA program provides up-and-coming entrepreneurs with guidance and a platform for their ventures. The fourth annual competition in 2016 followed suit, albeit with a number of format adjustments that were intended to extend benefits to more of the finalists.

From The Hill

  • When racing and the motorsports parts industry came under attack in 2016, SEMA members and race enthusiasts stood up and sent a clear message to Washington, D.C.: Don’t mess with our jobs and our passion! Racers, fans and the industry rallied around grassroots efforts to stop the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from prohibiting emissions modifications to motor vehicles being converted for racing and to pass legislation clarifying in federal law that this time-honored tradition is legal.

Government Affairs

  • North Dakota OHVNorth Dakota OHV Permits: A bill was introduced to allow out-of-state off-highway vehicles that are exempt from a registration fee in the state to purchase a public trails and lands access permit. The cost of the permit would be $10 per year, and the permit would be displayed prominently on the off-highway vehicle. In North Dakota, off-highway vehicles exempt from registration fees include those validly licensed in another state and that have not been within the state for more than 30 consecutive days, those used exclusively on private lands, and those used exclusively in organized track racing events.

Industry News

  • Industry news from SEMA-member companies, including Denso Products and Services, Marx Group, Power Automedia, eTool Developers and more.

  • ’18 Ford F-150: Ford's best-selling vehicle will get cosmetic changes to keep it visually interesting and tech updates underneath.

    ’18 GMC Terrain: Engines options will likely consist of the 2.5L four in the Terrain and possibly a turbo four or small V6.

  • SEMA is accepting nominations for its Hall of Fame class of 2017, now through March 10.


  • RansomwareThe scourge of ransomware has become so ingrained in the very fabric of computing that some of the criminals behind it have actually begun offering live chat support for victims who agree to pay their ransoms. The new “service” was discovered this past summer by Trend Micro, an IT security firm that posed as a victim of ransomware and was cheerfully offered live chat support in exchange for its ransom payment.

Member News

  • The SEMA education department encompasses all of SEMA’s education efforts, including engaging youth in the automotive aftermarket industry, fostering employment efforts, professional education for SEMA members, and the SEMA Scholarship Program. The department’s mission is to provide the automotive aftermarket with outstanding professional development and training resources.

  • The SEMA Launch Pad program, powered by the Young Executives Network (YEN), is entering its fifth year. Designed to help entrepreneurs under the age of 40 launch their new products or services into the marketplace, the program takes place annually at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas. The application period will open in early March, and SEMA expects to have a record-breaking number of applicants. To apply, visit

  • At the 50th SEMA Show this past November, the SEMA Businesswomen’s Network (SBN) introduced a new awareness campaign entitled “She Is.” The campaign launched at the 2016 SEMA Industry Awards Banquet on Thursday evening of the Show with a video featuring successful women in the automotive aftermarket industry and the diverse roles they play.

  • The Manufacturer’s Rep Network (MRN) has put together outreach and lead-generation programs for the benefit of not only its members but also SEMA-member manufacturers. Throughout the year, MRN will be on-site at the SEMA Exhibitor Summit and SEMA Show representing the manufacturers’ rep profession as a whole and lending advice to all manufacturers, whether they are newly in business or are industry veterans. Those MRN outreach efforts, paired with the network’s Rep Match program, comprise the MRN’s Three Pillars of Success.

  • Fenton Liffick has more than 67 years of experience in manufacturing, engineering, sales and metal and plastic finishing. He’s been involved in the automotive, truck and RV wheel and wheel accessory industries for 61 of those years, both for the auto manufacturers and for aftermarket companies.

  • Josh Poulson of Auto Additions, Manny Moncada of Autohaus and Jared Cohen of Auto Action presented to restyling professionals at the SEMA Show on the topic of “10 Steps to Operating a Successful Restyling Shop.” In case you missed this valuable education session, here are 10 things you can start to implement today to improve your business.

  • The Motorsports Parts Manufacturers Council (MPMC) is working hard to bring value to its membership through events and education. This past December, the council held four educational seminars along with a general membership meeting and a networking reception at the Performance Racing Industry (PRI) Trade Show in Indianapolis.

  • Members of the Light Truck Accessory Alliance (LTAA) showcase their vehicles throughout the SEMA Show each year to promote their products and expertise. LTAA recognizes a handful of amazing vehicles from member companies that have supported SEMA Cares Charities during the year by featuring them either in the LTAA booth on the Show floor or on the outdoor promenade between the South Hall and the Performance Pavilion.

  • Each year at the SEMA Show, the Hot Rod Industry Alliance (HRIA) partners with the Automotive Restoration Market Organization (ARMO) to have a booth in Hot Rod Alley in the Central Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center. This area gives both councils a place to gather and speak to companies and individuals about each group as well as the status of issues within the industry.

  • The Hot Products Showcase will take place April 20–22, once again at the Spring Carlisle Collector Car Swap Meet Corral & Auction in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. This event is an opportunity for members of the Automotive Restoration Market Organization (ARMO) to display one or more products in front of one of the largest gatherings of automotive restoration enthusiasts in the world.

  • SEMA’s mission statement is to help its member companies succeed and prosper. The association values communication with its members. After all, they are the true boots-on-the-ground warriors of this great industry.

New Products

  • Ross Racing PistonEach year, the SEMA Show is the gathering place for hundreds of exhibitors in the racing and performance markets. In 2016, Racing & Performance sprawled across more than 270,000 net square feet in the Central Hall, Racing Annex and Performance Pavilion. In addition, exhibitors entered nearly 1,000 racing and performance parts and accessories in the New Products Showcase. We’ve gathered the entries here, along with some comments from a few member-company representatives about where they anticipate future growth. Take a lap through these innovative offerings from some of the industry’s leading manufacturers.

People And Places

  • Jon WylyJon Wyly was named chief executive officer of the then newly formed SEMA Data Cooperative (SDC) in March 2012. Now, with a career in the specialty parts marketplace spanning more than 35 years, Wyly is retiring from the SDC as of April 1.

Required Reading

  • Automotive NewsThe SEMA Show remains the world’s premier automotive specialty-equipment products trade event, gathering the industry’s brightest minds and hottest products in the automotive, truck, SUV, powersports and RV markets under one roof. The Show is also where car builders from throughout the country display their latest projects, featuring products from companies exhibiting at the Show, and these amazing cars have been highlighted by many media outlets.

SEMA Heritage

  • The KidIn June 1974, Petersen Publishing Company photographer Pat Brollier captured three iconic figures in one candid photograph. At left is actor Martin Sheen, next to him is Pete Chapouris, and behind them is Chapouris’ trend-setting ’34 Ford three-window coupe. They were there for the filming of The California Kid, an ABC television movie of the week. Brollier and Hot Rod magazine staffer Gray Baskerville traveled to the Soledad Canyon location north of Los Angeles to catch some of the action for a story to appear in Hot Rod’s October issue.