Cover Story

This year’s SEMA Hall of Fame inductees are all very different people, with unique paths to success, but all three have certain qualities in common. They have inspired innovation, fostered collaboration and, most importantly, created opportunities for others. Though their careers have taken markedly different paths, each has demonstrated persistence, generosity and enthusiasm.


Chris Kersting

  • Chris Kersting

    One of SEMA’s key services is to protect the industry and enthusiasts from unreasonable state and federal regulation. SEMA maintains a team of government affairs experts in Washington, D.C. While SEMA’s D.C. team is our industry’s first line of defense, it’s actually you, the SEMA members, who are the greatest force in our legislative arsenal. And as the headline above notes, if you’re not in the hunt, there’s a good chance you’ll be in the crosshairs.

From The Hill

  • On July 12, 2019, SEMA members joined with car clubs, businesses and thousands of enthusiasts to celebrate the 10th annual Collector Car Appreciation Day (CCAD). A wide range of events was held in the United States and Canada to commemorate this special day. The celebration was designated with SEMA-requested companion resolutions introduced in the U.S. Congress by the co-chairs of the SEMA-supported Congressional Automotive Performance and Motorsports Caucus.

  • Doug LaMalfaWhile there are more than a few automotive enthusiasts in Congress, the zeal of U.S. Representative Doug LaMalfa (R-CA) for the hobby and collection of classic vehicles puts him in a class by himself. LaMalfa started wrenching on cars during his formative years, and his passion for buying and personalizing vehicles continued to grow during the following decades.

Government Affairs

  • TaxCompanies without any physical presence in a state can now be required to collect sales tax based on their sales volume. In June 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of a South Dakota state law requiring remote sellers to collect sales tax. (The term “remote” applies to internet, catalog and telephone sales, along with other types of transactions.) The court overturned the 1992 Quill decision, which required a physical presence to create “substantial nexus,” thereby allowing state sales tax collections.

  • John HotchkisIt’s the dawn of a new era at SEMA’s Political Action Committee (SEMA PAC). After more than a decade of exemplary service as the chairman of the industry’s legislative watchdog, PAC Chairman Doug Evans officially handed over the reins to John Hotchkis of Hotchkis Performance.

  • TariffsThe U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) sent President Trump the results of its investigation on whether imported automobiles and auto parts pose a threat to U.S. national security. A decision on whether to impose tariffs, originally due in May, was postponed until November. President Trump wanted to give U.S. negotiators six months to reach new trade agreements with the European Union and Japan.

  • SANIt should come as no surprise that new proposals threatening cars and trucks can be of significant concern to automotive enthusiasts, who face the task of customizing and preserving classic cars while staying within evolving legal limits. History has shown that even well-intended bills can have a detrimental effect on the automotive community—but it’s also true that focused constituent awareness can often make a difference.

  • Single License PlateFor most of the country’s automotive enthusiasts, drilling holes into the front bumper of a prized possession is both a sad and unavoidable occurrence. To them, the legal mandate to equip a license plate on their front bumper is like painting a mustache on the Mona Lisa.

  • MoabThose who say Congress never gets anything done and politicians are all talk and no action are frequently proven correct. The greatest obstacle to passing legislation in the 21st century in Washington, D.C., is the unwillingness to compromise. Every now and again, however, Congress comes together and embraces the philosophy of “a good compromise is when neither side is happy.”

  • TariffsThe global trading system has the potential to foster economic growth and support peaceful relations between nations. If it breaks down, it can lead to confrontation as countries seek to shield their domestic industries. Tariffs can be a powerful tool for leveling the playing field or, conversely, lead to trade wars and protectionism. The Trump Administration is using tariffs to strengthen its hand in trade negotiations with its trading partners. Is the strategy working?

Industry News

  • Wrangler 3.0 EcoDiesel: Engine Stop-Start technology will be featured on EcoDiesel models, and the powerplant will be mated to a ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic transmission. 

    ’21 Ford F-150: Ford has been working on an F-150 hybrid that is likely to be introduced with the new model, along with a plug-in hybrid. 

    Dodge Charger Widebody: This prototype features the original multi-spoke wheel design featured on the SRT392 and R/T Scat Pack with the Dynamics Package.

  • Industry news from SEMA-member companies, including Falken, Stertil-Koni USA, Covercraft Industries LLC, Battery Biz and more.

  • Hunter Engineering announced a new integration partnership with Dealer-FX and its ONE Platform service experience. A service dashboard that provides control over dealership workflow and creates a more consistent process, ONE Platform is now compatible with Hunter inspection equipment, including Quick Check Drive, Quick Check and Quick Tread systems. The integration will reportedly give dealerships the opportunity to maximize service profits through alignment, tire and balancing sales while completing customer transparency through easy-to-understand reports.


  • Injen TechnologyAustralians have been modifying and personalizing their vehicles for nearly as long as enthusiasts have in the United States. Though it’s 8,000 miles from Melbourne to Los Angeles, Australia has long been an important export market for U.S. firms and remains so to this date. In a December 2018 SEMA survey of U.S.-based manufacturer members, Australia was the number-two export market for U.S. companies, trailing only Canada.


  • InternetBusinesses looking to move to the cloud can ensure that their security is world class with a game plan developed by one of the leading nonprofits in the space: the Cloud Security Alliance.

  • InternetBusinesses concerned about the havoc online reviews can wreak on their fortunes can take heart: The latest crop of online-review software solutions enables you to establish a powerful command center to monitor and influence your company’s reputation online.

New Products

  • Assembled SeatVehicle 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.

  • BuildProTools 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. 

People And Places

  • James LawrenceThe SEMA Board of Directors is composed of industry representatives who volunteer their time to lead and guide the association. They are elected by all SEMA-member companies and represent the trade association’s key membership categories: manufacturers, distributors/retailers, manufacturers’ representatives, and services. There were five open seats on the Board for the 2018 election cycle, including the chairman-elect position. Online voting opened May 14 and concluded May 28 with the following results.

  • SEMA Hall of FameThe year 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the SEMA Hall of Fame. Created in 1969, the Hall of Fame is the association’s highest recognition, established to honor outstanding persons in the automotive specialty-equipment industry whose creativity, dignity, industriousness and accomplishments have enhanced the stature of, and significantly contributed to, the industry’s growth.

Required Reading

  • Classic Car Journal

    In addition to producing the premier automotive specialty-equipment trade show in the world, SEMA supports the aftermarket by giving members and the industry a voice before policymakers. Because laws and regulations can impact the way aftermarket products are made, distributed and marketed, SEMA has a proven program led by a professional staff in Washington, D.C., that continually monitors and shapes legislation. To learn about SEMA’s latest legislative efforts, visit or read articles like the ones below.

Retail Store Review

  • LeonidasSpartan 4x4, which caters to the youth off-road market, was founded in 2015 by 17-year-old Robert Bowden III out of his parents’ garage in Atlanta. In 2017, Bowden relocated to a 600-sq.-ft. office in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Now 21 and an entrepreneurship major at Western Kentucky University, he expanded yet again in March to a 1,000-sq.-ft. facility with six employees and moved to a 6,000-sq.-ft. facility in July, which houses an office, a shop and a showroom—all under one roof. We recently interviewed Bowden about his progress.

SEMA Heritage

  • HeritageThis summer will mark the 66th year since a group of Georgetown residents looking to promote interest in their small Northern California town hosted the first Jeep Jamboree over the rocky Rubicon Trail. Since then, the owners of countless Jeeps—and Scouts, Broncos, Land Cruisers, Land Rovers and dedicated rock buggies—have made the trek, from first-timers crossing off a bucket-list rite of passage to family members following years of four-wheeling tradition.