SEMA News

Cover Story

Rich Barsamian got word that he was indeed one of the 2020 SEMA Hall of Fame honorees, and he was still speechless one week later. “Yeah, I was trying to think—because I’m still sort of in shock,” he said. The SEMA Hall of Fame will do that to you. It will take your breath away and leave you speechless, even if you’re Rich Barsamian. And that is saying something, because it takes quite a bit to see him speechless.

Business

  • Covid SurveyFrom May 20-29, SEMA conducted a survey of more than 1,800 professionals within the specialty-equipment industry to check in on how they were doing. Overall, our industry continues to maintain a positive outlook and is beginning to move past the disruption.

  • PublishingLast December, Motor Trend Group—then North America’s premier publisher of automotive enthusiast magazines—announced that it was shuttering 19 of its remaining 22 print titles. In the announcement, company President and General Manager Alex Wellen provided a simple explanation.

  • Icon ReformerUndeterred by a sluggish economy brought on by COVID-19, demand for classic-car restoration is still soaring, and it’s likely to continue as long as parts suppliers can keep up. The clients are typically “car people” and are faithful to a particular make and model. While there are still those who insist on accurate restoration of classic cars, growth is to be found in those who want to retain the classic-car look but are thirsty for modern performance upgrades that improve drivability and promote individualism.

From The Hill

  • Election DayWith the 2020 presidential campaign in full swing, the race is shaping up to be unlike any other in recent memory. Gone are the historical norms that we have seen in past elections, especially when it comes to the way in which candidates connect with voters.

Government Affairs

  • RPM ActThe Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports (RPM) Act clarifies that the Clean Air Act allows motor vehicles to be converted into dedicated race cars and that it is legal to produce, sell and install race parts for those vehicles. As Congress prepares to come back into session in September, the RPM Act enters a critical period. The legislation has strong bipartisan support, including 60 co-sponsors for the House bill (H.R. 5434) and 29 co-sponsors for the Senate bill (S. 2602), but lawmakers in Congress need to hear from SEMA members about why the bill is important to motorsports parts businesses in order to enact the bill into law in 2020.

  • MustangThe industry’s reaction in 2015 to enactment of the replica car law could be described in two words: giddy enthusiasm. Companies would soon be able to produce and sell new turnkey vehicles that resembled classic vehicles produced at least 25 years ago. Passage of the law had taken just four years following the bill’s introduction—a relatively short period on Capitol Hill—but who knew that it would take five years of lobbying and a lawsuit before companies could begin selling replica cars?

  • Bonneville“Make Bonneville Great Again” is no longer just a cheeky slogan that land-speed racers have printed on hats. SEMA is proud to announce that a joint state/federal program to save the Bonneville Salt Flats has been created to dramatically increase the amount of salt pumped onto those hallowed grounds.

  • MilitaryWhen it comes to the collector-vehicle market, military vehicles are not what first spring to mind. The notion of rides originally mass produced to aid the armed forces becoming collector’s items may seem rather strange. However, countless examples were manufactured by popular automakers such as the Big Three, whose iconic offerings are coveted to this day by brand loyalists. While getting one’s hands on one of those prized vehicles may be tough, titling and registering them for street use is often tougher.

  • SANProtecting the automotive hobby’s faithful from unreasonable restrictions is always good for business. Nationwide, states are constantly wrenching with America’s car laws. Some states seek to promote the growth of the collector-car community, while others hope to stop it in its tracks.

Industry News

  • ’21 Chevy Suburban RST: Here’s the upcoming ’21 Chevy Suburban RST, completely undisguised on the street and providing a first look.

    Porsche 911 GT3: The upcoming Porsche 911 GT3 builds on the grownup image of the 992 but packs more noticeable aerodynamic elements.

    Ferrari Portofino: A prototype for the facelifted Ferrari Portofino has been spied undergoing tests in Germany.

  • SurveyFrom May 20–29, SEMA conducted a survey of more than 1,800 professionals within the specialty-equipment industry. Despite the disruptions over the past few months, manufacturers, distributors and retailers continue to maintain a positive outlook on the situation, and expect business to pick up now that restrictions are easing.

  • Industry news from SEMA-member companies, including Power Automedia, Brenton Productions, Continental and more.

International

  • Saudi Buyers ChartSelling product to Saudi customers or want to begin doing so? Distributors are reporting increased Saudi customs enforcement for imported products. From toys to cosmetics to automotive aftermarket products, every shipment imported into Saudi Arabia is required to be accompanied by the correct documentation.

Internet

  • WebsiteGiven that personalization has become a dominant mantra among marketers these days, it’s no surprise that there are a number of solutions available that can significantly personalize a website for every visitor. Those services are able to pull off this personalization (which manifests in websites that can instantly change images, text, colors and more, based on who’s visiting) by amassing an ever-growing data profile on each of your customers and visitors.

New Products

  • As the automotive parts aftermarket diversifies into the digital realm, so too does the market for various tools and equipment. A “tool” nowadays could be anything from a basic impact wrench to an ultra-sophisticated digital sensor-recalibration station. In today’s shop environment, a laptop loaded with diagnostic software can be as much a tool as a welder or a clamp. As a market segment, tool and equipment manufacturers are substantial players comprising hundreds of companies. As with other sectors of the aftermarket, many of them have made changes in their workplaces in order to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • American AutowireResurrecting and restoring older vehicles to mint condition is a time-honored enthusiast tradition. No matter its age, a rejuvenated classic still has the power to turn heads—on the road, at a car show and wherever else it may materialize. In recent years, however, a new trend has taken hold in the restoration scene: returning a car to “better-than-new” condition through the addition of modern technologies. While exuding a spirit befitting their heritage, these “restomods” also exhibit the drivability, safety and conveniences of their present-day counterparts.

Required Reading

  • Telegraph

    Since 2013, the SEMA Launch Pad program has given young entrepreneurs, students and business owners age 18–39 an opportunity to launch their products into the $44.6 billion automotive aftermarket industry. The top 15 participants in this year’s program have moved on to the online voting stage of the competition (www.sema.org/launchpad).

Retail Store Review

  • Back to BusinessAs of May 20, 2020, all states with stay-at-home orders began lifting their restrictions, including those pertaining to commerce. But while America’s retail sector has been getting back to business, it hasn’t been business as usual—and things likely will be different for some time to come.

SEMA Heritage

  • HeritageThe ’49 Ford convertible ready to leave is typical of the mildly modified cars taking part—in this case, with a lowered suspension, shaved door handles and other body trim, and spinner hubcaps. Most of the cars were just a few years old. We spotted just two ’32 Ford coupes among the ’50s Chevys, Buicks, Fords, Oldsmobiles and even a pickup or two at the run.