Cover Story

The face of the automotive marketplace has changed many times over the decades, but one feature has remained constant: the popularity of pickups and, more recently, their sibling SUVs and CUVs. Unlike certain makes and models of passenger cars, trucks never go out of style. They’re the ideal multipurpose vehicles that are equally functional as daily commuters, jobsite workhorses or recreational trail machines. For sheer versatility, on the road and off, nothing compares to them, and that’s probably why the bestselling vehicle in the United States for more than 40 years running has been a pickup.

Chris Kersting

  • Chris Kersting

    Readers may recall that the current EPA interpretation of the Clean Air Act does not allow any motor vehicle designed for street use—car, truck or motorcycle—to be converted into a dedicated racecar. This issue came to SEMA’s attention in 2015, when the EPA took the position that converted vehicles must remain emissions-compliant, even if they are no longer driven on public streets or highways. Although the EPA did not finalize the proposed rule, the agency still maintains that modifying the emissions system of a motor vehicle to convert it for racing is illegal. Manufacturing, selling and installing race parts for converted vehicles would also be a violation. Most recently, the EPA also announced that enforcement against performance tuning and parts is a top priority for 2020.

From The Hill

  • From the HillThe SEMA Show is four action-packed days of conducting business, making connections and seeing the industry’s newest products. It is also a great opportunity for SEMA to provide elected officials with a firsthand look at the automotive specialty aftermarket and the role the industry plays in the communities they represent. Each year, SEMA hosts members of Congress and state lawmakers, providing Show tours that feature visits to home-state exhibitors. The 2019 SEMA Show hosted U.S. Representatives Doug LaMalfa (R-CA), Mike Kelly (R-PA) and Dina Titus (D-NV), along with 18 state lawmakers.

Government Affairs

  • New JerseyNew Jersey—Vehicle Warranties: New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed into law legislation to require new-car dealers to provide purchasers written notice that it is illegal for manufacturers or dealers to void a warranty or deny coverage because aftermarket or recycled parts were installed or because someone other than the dealer performed service.


  • Factor 55The 2019 SEMA Show was once again the world’s epicenter of customizing, with exhibitors, trade buyers and media from 140 countries coming together to sell products, discover new trends and innovations, and network.

New Products

  • ParetoTruck and off-road products are aftermarket staples, thanks in particular to resurgent consumer interest in pickups, SUVs and Jeeps, and now CUVs as well. Recent SEMA market research indicates that pickup product sales alone account for a 27% share of the specialty-equipment market. Add SUV product sales, and total market share increases another 13%. Moreover, 47% of pickup consumers and 45% of their SUV counterparts self-identify as true enthusiasts. Little wonder that this past November’s SEMA Show in Las Vegas witnessed the introduction of nearly 500 new truck, SUV and off-road products, not counting wheels and tires. The following pages offer another look at these products as seen in the New Products Showcase.

People And Places

  • John WaraniakJohn Waraniak, SEMA vice president of vehicle technology, has been elected an SAE Fellow for his significant technical achievements and industry contributions in both automotive and aerospace. In his role as SEMA’s chief technology officer since May 2006, Waraniak has assisted performance aftermarket companies to integrate their products with the latest advanced vehicle technologies and capitalize on new business and product-development opportunities. He has also helped them to customize with confidence by connecting SEMA manufacturers with engineering resources, capabilities and tools to manage disruptive vehicle technologies and ensure compliance with the latest industry standards and best practices.

Retail Store Review

  • RetailAs a retailer, are you doing everything you can to minimize loss from theft? Whether it results from shoplifters, employees or vendors, theft remains a leading cause of “inventory shrinkage” and operational loss among retailers. In fact, according to the National Retail Foundation (NRF), inventory shrinkage cost the U.S. retail industry $46.8 billion in the last year. The NRF further set the average shrink rate for a retail business at 1.33% of sales. That may sound small, but for a retail outfit making $1 million in sales a year, that’s over $13,000 unaccounted for.

SEMA Heritage

  • Bill SimpsonIt would be difficult to estimate how many lives have been saved and injuries averted (or at least minimized) by the pioneering work of Bill Simpson. Simpson, who passed away in December 2019, was one of a handful of members of the racing community who dedicated their lives to improving driver safety.