Cover Story

Even though expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center is well underway, the 2019 SEMA Show will be held this year largely in the same familiar spaces. But the Show’s features and events, which continually evolve year after year, will reflect and respond to changes in the specialty automotive industry. This year’s Show will offer a mix of some favorite industry events, builds and competitions, along with some brand-new events.



  • ADASStaying atop the unprecedented explosion of new technologies transforming the automotive world is a crucial yet constant challenge for today’s aftermarket businesses. This is especially true of advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS), which are already having a major impact on the ways that vehicles are repaired, customized and serviced. In fact, experts maintain that there will be virtually no specialty-equipment segment left untouched by these safety-performance technologies within a few short years.

Business Technology

  • SDC LogoThe SEMA Data Co-op has become “data central” for hundreds of specialty parts brands, representing millions of part numbers, and tens of millions of vehicle applications. This directory is designed to guide data users to brands that have successfully undertaken the challenge to manage their product data, and to continue to expand reference as more brands are added to the SDC repository.

Chris Kersting

  • Chris Kersting

    With just four weeks to go, we can report that the 2019 SEMA Show is going to be an outstanding opportunity for industry buyers and sellers to do business. As in past years, exhibitor participation is stretching the limits of the facility. The Las Vegas Convention Center floorplan is packed with a remarkable array of companies representing every industry segment—and emerging new trends within those segments.


  • C.D Hylton High SchoolThe SEMA High School Vehicle Build Program aims to introduce high-school students to the automotive customization hobby and lifestyle through real-world, hands-on educational experiences. This year, five high-school auto-shop programs across the United States participated in the program. The schools customized five ’96–’06 model-year Jeep Wrangler TJs during their spring semesters with the help of aftermarket industry companies that sponsored the builds through product donations and scheduled visits.


  • SEMA ShowMore than 170,000 automotive specialty-equipment professionals from all over the world—including 60,000 buyers—are expected to attend the 2019 SEMA Show, November 5–8, in Las Vegas. This year’s Show promises to deliver several new features and opportunities for exhibitors and buyers to connect across the more than 1 million sq. ft. of exhibit space inside and around the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC). SEMA Vice President of Events Tom Gattuso offered attendees a preview of what to expect this year as well as tips on how they can make the most efficient use of their time on the Show floor.

  • ScholarshipThe SEMA Memorial Scholarship Fund awarded $272,000 to 97 individuals this year. The financial awards include scholarships for current students and loan-forgiveness awards to employees of SEMA-member companies.

From The Hill

  • Iola Car ShowOn 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.

Government Affairs

  • CaliforniaThe California Coastal Commission voted to make no changes to a permit that allows off-highway vehicle (OHV) use at the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Area. The commission voted against a prohibition on night riding, additional fencing to restrict OHV use, eliminating unlimited OHV use on holidays, and increased enforcement efforts focused on vehicle use and speed limit. The commission also voted down a proposal to provide year-round protection to a 300-acre endangered species area (which is currently protected on a seasonal basis) and future closures for the purpose of dust control.

Industry News

  • Industry news from SEMA-member companies, including DEI, COMP Performance Group, AirPro Diagnostics and more.

  • Coker Group, which includes Coker Tire, Wheel Vintiques, Universal Vintage Tire, Phoenix Race Tires, Specialty Wheel and Roadster Wire Wheel, announced a rebranding of the group. The new name—Legendary Companies—is meant to represent the breadth and scope of its current market segments while providing the company with greater opportunities for future expansion into new sectors.

  • ’21 Jaguar F-Type Coupe and Cabrio: The new ’20 F-type will retain its front engine, and there are talks of a purely electric Jaguar F-type featuring a 100kWh energy cell and two e-motors rated at 150kW/350Nm each.

    Mystery Colorado Mule: The identification of this mule is unknown; however, it is believed that it is not a mule related to the Bronco’s development.

    Baby Bronco: Called “Baby Bronco” or “Scout,” it’s tipped to be given the Adventurer nameplate for the ’21 model year.Called “Baby Bronco” or “Scout,” it’s tipped to be given the Adventurer nameplate for the ’21 model year.

    C8 Corvette Convertible: The C8 will switch to a hard-top configuration for the convertible model.


  • Export FairThe SEMA Garage was the venue for the fourth SEMA Export Fair. SEMA members from 18 states traveled to Diamond Bar, California, for the two-day event. It included a series of sessions on hot exporting topics, such as the preferred method of communicating with overseas buyers (messaging apps rather than email is the way to go); how to find counterfeit versions of your products and remove them from global e-commerce sites; and tips from intellectual property rights attorneys. Four panels featuring top buyers provided overviews of the opportunities for selling into the racing and off-road markets in international markets, including Latin America, Canada, the United Arab Emirates and Australia.


  • InternetGetting customers to take the time to write a glowing review about your business often takes some cajoling, but as most businesses know, the payback is substantial. Online reviews have become the de facto arbiters of what’s cool, what’s not, what’s worth paying for, and what’s worth running away from. It appears that they’ll only become more influential in the coming years.

  • Marketing SolutionsArtificial intelligence (AI) solutions are making it ridiculously easy to auto-generate professional-looking marketing videos these days, complete with story lines, special effects, cool transitions, soundtracks and narration. Incredibly, some of these solutions enable users to auto-generate a marketing video in as little as 15 seconds by simply entering some marketing copy into the app and then allowing its AI to automatically pull together stock audio and video into a finished production.

  • LinkedInOne of the best ways to maximize your presence on LinkedIn ( is to publish a weekly or even daily newsletter on the social network. Pretty much the de facto online meeting place for business professionals across the world, LinkedIn is considered so influential that Microsoft lunged at the opportunity to buy the network for $26 billion in 2016.

Products / Catalog

  • March PerformanceThe eye-catching project vehicles may generate the most buzz on the Show floor, but at the SEMA Show, there’s no better place to assess the state of the automotive aftermarket—and to stay abreast of all the latest tech and trends—than the New Products Showcase, located on the Skybridge between the Central and South Halls. Considered a first stop by many attendees, the Showcase is open for extended hours—8:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m. daily—to accommodate the needs of exhibitors and buyers alike who may be unable to visit during regular Show hours.

Required Reading

  • Classic Car Journal

    Fostering the future generation of leaders in the automotive aftermarket industry is one of SEMA’s key initiatives. To do so, the association has several dedicated programs that help identify career opportunities and support young enthusiasts. From educational programs that encourage youth to be a part of the aftermarket industry to providing financial support to students pursuing careers in an automotive field, SEMA keeps young enthusiasts at the forefront of its industry advocacy efforts. Below are some articles that have been recently written about SEMA’s youth outreach efforts.

Retail Store Review

  • Retail SpotlightThere’s little doubt that the explosive growth of online sellers has given local retailing a run for its money. Still, while big sellers such as Amazon can be tough competitors, they can’t completely drive traditional brick-and-mortar stores out of business. That’s because local retail outlets have several inherent advantages that the big guys can never match.

SEMA Heritage

  • HeritageThose who tuned in to the live-stream introduction of Chevrolet’s mid-engine C8 Corvette in July saw vintage footage of a single-seat roadster driving around GM’s Milford Proving Grounds and fishtailing up the dirt switchbacks of Pikes Peak. Chevy’s ’20 Corvette has roots back to that little car, the first Chevrolet Engineering Research Vehicle, or CERV I.