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.
Custom-car builders from all walks of life entered the 2019 Battle of the Builders (BOTB) competition. While the bulk of the entries came from contestants scattered across the United States, our neighbors up north and down south also provided multiple entries, and some even traveled across the pond to enter the competition. Legends of the industry entered and competed with first-timers looking to make names for themselves. The format remained the same as last year, with winners recognized in four different categories: Hot Rod, Truck/Off-Road, Sport Compact and Young Guns (under 27).
The SEMA Person of the Year award is among the most prestigious of the honors announced each year at the SEMA Show Industry Awards Banquet. Beyond any personal or professional achievements, the award recognizes an individual who embodies service and dedication to the automotive specialty-equipment industry for the benefit of the entire aftermarket. At the recent ceremonies held Thursday night, November 7, at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino, the association named Dan Kahn, founder of Kahn Media, its 2019 SEMA Person of the Year.
As the world’s premier automotive trade show, the SEMA Show reflects the $44 billion automotive aftermarket, bringing together every segment of the industry—from hot rods to mobile electronics and collision repair. And if this year’s Show is any indication, the industry is alive, well and poised for another great year.
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.
SEMA Battle of the Builders (BOTB) gives opportunities to builders worldwide to showcase their talents. Industry legends and up-and-coming builders go head-to-head as they exercise their skill and creativity at the industry’s premier event. Many of the builders spend countless hours on their creations. Some work in teams; some work by themselves. The finished products end up being as unique as the builders themselves, reflecting the talent and originality of the custom car industry.
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.
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?
This year’s SEMA Hall of Fame inductees are all very different people, with unique paths to success, but all three have certain qualities in common. They have inspired innovation, fostered collaboration and, most importantly, created opportunities for others. Though their careers have taken markedly different paths, each has demonstrated persistence, generosity and enthusiasm.
On July 26, I begin a two-year term as SEMA Chairman. I am focused on improving SEMA and helping our association provide solutions to help our members solve problems. There are many SEMA programs that benefit our member businesses, and most of them are explained regularly in our magazines and newsletters.