Cover Story

Lately, the aftermarket has been asking a lot of questions surrounding youth engagement. Is the upcoming generation still interested in the automotive lifestyle? Is the industry doing enough to attract young people and set them on career paths? And, perhaps most importantly, what new ideas do they bring to the table? In what directions might they take the industry?



  • Market ReportThe automotive specialty-equipment market kept humming along to the tune of $44.6 billion in total parts sales in 2018—a 4% increase over 2017, according to the just-released “2019 SEMA Market Report.” Rumors continue to circulate that young people have disengaged from the automotive aftermarket hobby, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Young customizers spent more than $7 billion on parts.

Chris Kersting

  • Chris Kersting

    Preparations for the 2019 SEMA Show are in full swing, and staff just delivered our annual Exhibitor Summit—a two-day info-fest to help new AND seasoned exhibitors learn how to capture maximum value from the SEMA Show. How do we know what makes up a successful Show strategy? You give us the answers—through post-Show surveys completed annually by thousands of SEMA Show buyers and exhibitors. These surveys help us stay current with the objectives of buyers and sellers, identifying trends and seeing where buyers and exhibitors are aligned—and sometimes misaligned. Below are some top examples where exhibiting manufacturers may be missing the mark—and how to get on target.


  • MediaMore than 3,000 members of the media will attend the 2019 SEMA Show. They will represent all manner of publications—large and small, domestic and international, printed and electronic—and can sometimes provide a meaningful boost to a new-product launch or a brand’s image. In a recent survey, in fact, 42% of exhibitors told us that they measure success based on media exposure from the Show. If you’re one of those exhibitors, here are some best-practices tips for keeping your media interactions productive and efficient.

  • Show floorThe good news for 2019 SEMA Show exhibitors is that the trade-only event is on track to draw more than 60,000 buyers, a large percentage of whom are already deciding which companies they will see. With the Show’s opening just weeks away on Tuesday, November 5, this is the critical point for first-time and veteran exhibitors alike to make sure that their booths and Show strategies are ready to go.

  • BuyersIf you’re a buyer destined for the 2019 SEMA Show, now is the time to strategize a successful Show itinerary. First-time exhibitors are of particular interest because they bring never-before-seen products and services to the Show. As of June, more than 250 first-time exhibitors were already on the floorplan, and that data is offered here so you can get busy preparing a list of leads well before your Las Vegas arrival. Seasoned buyers will tell you that this is one of the best ways to hit the ground running and take full advantage of an active Show week.

From The Hill

  • Jim BairdIn the halls of Congress, success is often directly related to the size of your rolodex. The more friends you have in your corner, the more likely you are to get things accomplished. With the automotive specialty aftetmarket industry continuing to grow, having a powerful voice in the nation’s capital is critical to keeping that engine running smoothly. Thanks to the Congressional Automotive Performance and Motorsports Caucus, the industry is connected with some of the most important contacts in Washington—the politicians.

Government Affairs

  • DelawareDelaware Governor John Carney signed into law a bill easing the process of registering a street rod by favorably changing the existing age and equipment requirements. The new law amends the definition of street rod from a vehicle manufactured before ’70 to one 25 years old or older. The law also removes the requirement that a street rod’s tires be covered by fenders.

Industry News

  • Corvette C8: The Corvette will undergo a landmark change in philosophy, having always been a front-engine/rear-wheel-drive sports car.

    Toyota Tundra Hybrid: The system is more powerful for the new Tundra and will reportedly produce 450 hp and 500 lb.-ft. of torque while getting 30-plus miles per gallon.

    ’20 Nissan Titan PRO-4X: Nissan will give the fullsize Titan a modest facelift for ’20.


  • Industry news from SEMA-member companies, including Continental, Energy Suspension, Stertil-Koni and more.

  • CRP Automotive developed and launched a new brand-identity campaign, including an updated logo, for its AAE Steering System Components brand. The new logo is part of a complete branding update for AAE products to further associate the brand as a part of the CRP Automotive family.


  • InternationalFor just about as long as there have been cars around in the United States, so have there been gearheads—people who seek to personalize and improve upon their rides. Fast forward to 2019, and the phenomenon is now a $44.6 billion industry in the U.S. and many millions more abroad, as car culture has become an increasingly global phenomenon.

Member News

  • As part of its mission to help its members’ businesses grow and thrive, the Wheel & Tire Council (WTC) centers its efforts on delivering meaningful benefits and opportunities during the SEMA Show. Whether it’s through educational offerings, networking venues or recognition of industry leaders during an awards ceremony, WTC invites all members and nonmembers interested in learning more about WTC to take advantage of its can’t-miss opportunities during Show week.

  • Activating the next generation of aftermarket industry leaders and innovators is a hot topic nowadays, as evidenced by various SEMA outreach initiatives—some new, some long-standing—aimed at youth engagement. The oldest and one of the most impactful is the SEMA Memorial Scholarship Fund. Since the fund was established in 1984, more than $2.5 million has been awarded to more than 1,400 worthy students.

  • In a strategic move that recently united the traditional light-truck accessory market and the burgeoning off-road segment into a potent coalition, the Truck & Off-Road Alliance (TORA), formerly the Light Truck Accessory Alliance (LTAA), is poised to shine at the SEMA Show.

  • As summer ebbs and autumn fast approaches, thoughts quickly turn to Las Vegas and the 2019 SEMA Show. Once again, the restyling community can expect to find programs and events of particular interest.

  • The 32nd annual Performance Racing Industry (PRI) Trade Show will take over the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis from December 12–14. Billed as the foremost event for the motorsports and racing industry, it stands to reason that SEMA’s Motorsports Parts Manufacturers Council (MPMC) would play a visible role.

  • Hot rods have played a prominent role at the SEMA Show for decades. Old-timers will recall the days when a slew of rods took up a substantial swath of space in the North Hall, along with the stellar feature vehicles displayed at what was then known as the Street Rod Marketing Alliance Awards Banquet.

  • The Young Executives Network (YEN) is poised to host events designed to energize and inspire young automotive professionals during this year’s SEMA Show—opportunities for its members to not only connect with and learn from one another but also interact with YEN leadership as well as more experienced industry pros.

  • The SEMA Businesswomen’s Network (SBN) is a dynamic group representing more than 550 professional women employed in the aftermarket industry and has set its sights on hosting multiple women-driven networking and educational opportunities at the 2019 SEMA Show.

  • In the summer of 1993, three SEMA committees became the first niche-market councils: the Hot Rod Industry Alliance (HRIA, known then as the Street Rod Market Alliance), the Professional Restylers Organization, and the Automotive Restoration Market Alliance (ARMO). In the decades since, ARMO has earned a reputation for delivering programs and resources to help advance the restoration industry.

  • The Emerging Trends & Technology Network (ETTN) is a community within SEMA dedicated to providing a forum for technology-centered aftermarket professionals to connect, collaborate, learn and advance their careers. With that focus in mind, ETTN has centered its attention on presenting professional-development and career-enhancing opportunities at this year’s  SEMA Show.

  • Every year, scores of industry professionals from throughout the specialty-equipment marketplace make their annual pilgrimage to the SEMA Show. And while they are primarily there to take advantage of buy-and-sell opportunities, many fail to dig deeper to find out what else SEMA has to offer.

Required Reading

  • Truckin

    SEMA Show exhibitors who manufacture parts for the truck and off-road markets often use pickups to showcase their latest product lineups. Those elaborate builds are easy to spot displayed in and around the Las Vegas Convention Center, and the modifications and additions made to them are clear indications of how and why the truck market segment was responsible for 27% of the nearly $45 billion spent on specialty-equipment products last year. Below are some of the media outlets that kept truck enthusiasts informed about the builds and parts unveiled at the 2018 SEMA Show.

Retail Store Review

  • Super ATVHarold Hunt, owner of SuperATV in Madison, Indiana, is a motorsports enthusiast, and he instills that same passion in the people he hires. They aren’t just clerks; they go out on the weekends and ride so that they can come back to the shop and relate their product knowledge and experience to customers.

SEMA Heritage

  • Bob ChandlerIt would be nearly impossible to pinpoint the one person who invented, say, drag racing or road racing or most of our popular motorsports, which typically evolved with input from many “fathers” over long periods of time. Not so monster truck racing. That entire phenomenon—part competition, part spectacle, part thrill show—can be laid at the feet of one man: Bob Chandler. And one truck: a blue ’74 Ford F-250.