Cover Story

SEMA is governed by a Board of Directors who volunteer their time to provide leadership and guidance to the organization. Board members are nominated and elected by the association’s membership at large. Directors serve a three-year term, while the chairman serves for two years immediately after completing a two-year term as chairman-elect. The current Board was inaugurated at the 2019 SEMA Installation & Gala, held July 26, 2019, at the Anaheim Marriott, Anaheim, California.


  • ADASAs OEMs roll out an expanding array of advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) on their new vehicles, the latest technologies are proving to be a mixed bag for the aftermarket. On one hand, they open new product channels for the industry’s suppliers and retailers. On the other, they present a challenge to collision-repair, customization and installation shops, all of which must contend with the safe functionality of ADAS components on completed projects.

  • YouthWe spoke with SEMA’s council and network leaders to find out what initiatives they are working on, what’s currently trending in their markets and what they envision the future might hold, and also the challenges they face. Common themes include fighting government overreach, the continued growth of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and expanding youth outreach programs.

  • SDCFor SEMA members, the SEMA Data Co-op (SDC) is an indispensable resource for product data management and delivery. Not only is the SDC the largest aftermarket industry database—representing nearly 500 brands boasting more than 4.5 million parts—but its unique approach to data management and file transfer can make data exports available in whatever format a given member requires. Whether the need is for complete PIES and ACES XML files or a custom-designed spreadsheet, SDC can provide it.

Business Technology

  • SDCBasic to any retailing operation is identifying the right product mix to stock your store’s shelves or populate your website. Equally important is the ability to help consumers make sound purchasing decisions by supplying them with accurate, comprehensive information about those products. But with so many brands and application descriptions flooding the marketplace, where does a retailer begin?

Chris Kersting

  • Chris Kersting

    The origins of the SEMA trade association say a lot about the strong tradition of volunteerism that guides the association today. From its founding in 1963 and for years thereafter, the association had no paid staff. The benefits provided were entirely the work of board volunteers.


  • Installation & GalaAbout 500 members of the automotive specialty-parts industry attended the 2019 SEMA Installation & Gala, themed “Recognizing Leaders and Legends,” at the Anaheim Marriott in Anaheim, California, on July 26, to pay tribute to the specialty-equipment industry’s pioneers and dedicated volunteers.

  • HROTThe future seems bright for the 41 high-school teams competing to be a part of the Hot Rodders of Tomorrow (HROT) Engine Challenge Elite Eight playoff rounds. The finalists last year secured $3.78 million in scholarships. The competition gives students the opportunity to begin careers in the automotive industry; scholarships are just one of the benefits. During the competition, they are exposed to potential future employers and industry experts at a young age. That opens the door to various opportunities in the automotive trade.

From The Hill

  • CaliforniaYou’ve just purchased the ride of your dreams and already have a list of upgrades in mind. If you’re like most enthusiasts, a new exhaust system is somewhere near the top of your list. Now imagine your surprise when you find out that your home state has passed an eleventh-hour piece of legislation that makes you question whether that modification is even legal. That’s exactly what happened to consumers in California earlier this year, but thanks to the efforts of SEMA and its allies in Sacramento, the problem has been solved.

Government Affairs

  • MoabThe laws and regulations that govern how SEMA members do business have a continuous impact on the way automotive specialty-equipment products are made, distributed and marketed. The charge of the SEMA government affairs office is to stay on top of all relevant state and federal legislation and regulations and advocate for industry positions to ensure the best possible outcome for SEMA’s membership. The following are a few examples of critical legislative/regulatory issues addressed by the SEMA government affairs team over the past year.

Industry News

  • McLaren 750LT Long Tail Mule: McLaren is understood to be readying a faster, lighter Long Tail version of the 720S for launch next year.

    ’21 Jeep Grand Wagoneer Mule: The Wagoneer and larger Grand Wagoneer will be based off the ’19 RAM 1500 platform.

    ’20 C8 Corvette in Rapid Blue: The bright-blue hue is notably lighter than the Elkhart Lake Blue Metallic shared earlier.

  • Industry news from SEMA-member companies, including Brake Parts Inc. LLC, Firestone Industrial Products Co. LLC, Kahn Media and more.

  • Join SEMA on a trip to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE), March 31–April 7, 2020, for the annual SEMA Middle East Business Development Program to meet with pre-vetted trade buyers from throughout the region. Participants can self-certify to qualify for up to $1,250 in U.S. government grants to defray trip costs. An inaugural add-on program will be held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, April 5–7, 2020.


  • InternetGiven the ever-increasing influence of hundreds of business-review sites that have popped up on the web, retailers need an organized way to monitor and respond to trash talk and other comments about them that appear online—or face potential peril.

  • EcommerceOnline marketing experts say that you’ll get the most from your e-commerce site if you ensure it has the top features consumers are looking for. Here’s how to ensure your site has what it takes, according to top online marketing consultants.

  • Social MediaYou can significantly spike visits to your e-commerce site with clever promotional campaigns, which can generate intense fascination for your product or service on social media. As you’ve most likely seen, such campaigns can go viral and attract millions of visits to an e-commerce site. But even those that are less influential can still bring buyers and increase sales at your site.

  • WebBusinesses looking to keep visitors glued to their websites and other digital properties with interesting content—including social-media posts, articles, images, videos, podcasts and more—are finding relief with auto-curation tools. Such solutions can be programmed to automatically search out and grab excerpts of interesting content, summarize and repackage them as original posts, and then port the results in a pleasing format to the company’s website, blog or even a social-media account.

  • WebBusinesses looking to automatically generate written reports from their databases now have a raft of choices available, thanks to the emergence of writing software that uses artificial intelligence (AI). Such AI-generated writing solutions can drill down into company databases and automatically produce easy-to-understand written reports, unearthing insights about trends and company performance that might otherwise never see the light of day.

  • WebBusinesses are realizing significant savings by securing their legal advice virtually—over the web—rather than meeting with attorneys who charge expensive fees by the hour.

  • HackerIn a marked shift from previous years, hackers are much more likely these days to be bent on stealing your computing processing power than embedding ransomware or other malware in your network, according to a March 2019 report from IBM ( That’s because it’s much safer for hackers to simply steal your computing processing power over the internet—and use it for mining crypto currencies such as Bitcoin—than to get involved in planting other criminal software on business and corporate networks, according to the report’s authors.

  • WebLong established as an easy way for businesses to generate referred sales from other websites, affiliate marketing has only gained in popularity in recent years, bringing in significant pay-for-performance sales. One of the primary reasons the marketing concept has remained so popular is its simplicity: Encourage websites to post links advertising your product or service, then pay them a small commission for each sale they generate.

Required Reading

  • Pasmag

    The primary focus of SEMA’s dedicated market research department is to develop reports throughout the year that provide insights on the automotive aftermarket industry and consumers. From its annual “SEMA Market Report,” which provides an overview on the state of the U.S. specialty-equipment market, to the monthly “Industry Indicators Report” and the “Modern Muscle Car Accessorizer Report,” the market research department’s work helps industry members stay informed and make better business decisions. The articles below mention some of the data highlighted in these reports.

SEMA Heritage

  • HeritageHot Rod Technical Editor Ray Brock was on hand to document the car club’s visit and explain why an automotive chemical manufacturer happened to have a late-model Ford display chassis at its headquarters. Brock wrote in an October 1961 article that Zecol “maintains a racing shop with three ’61 Ford stock cars to advertise and test their products under the most extreme conditions, stock car track racing on the Midwestern USAC circuit.” Though the company’s race efforts were stock-car oriented, a drag-strip chassis “was built up for display to assist the many young racing enthusiasts who daily stop by the Zecol shops to ask advice” from mechanics Newkirk and Harold Carlson.