Among the most popular destinations at the SEMA Show, Hot Rod Alley is home to exhibitors who design and manufacture products intended to add reliability, performance and comfort to American classics. The hot-rod niche has seen significant growth in recent years, and it’s currently estimated to be a $1.26-billion industry, according to the Hot Rod Industry Alliance’s “2017 Biannual Report.” Gauging by the number of Hot Rod Alley exhibitors honored in the 2017 Global Media Awards, it’s also a category that’s gaining momentum worldwide.
SEMA offers its 6,900-plus member companies a variety of business tools and resources to help their businesses succeed and prosper. Whether you are a manufacturer, retailer, jobber, distributor, rep or installer, SEMA is here to help you make smarter business decisions; be more strategic and targeted with your promotions; save money through group purchases; and network with key businesses and leaders in the industry. For the latest details on association benefits and upcoming activities, visit www.sema.org/benefits.
It is no secret that trucks and SUVs are keeping U.S. automotive sales thriving, with OEMs adding new variants of crossovers and light trucks regularly—more than ever before in the last 15-or-so years. The recent North American International Auto Show, for example, saw the unveiling of three major truck releases—all from American manufacturers—likely to heighten truck sales even more in 2018.
For many in the custom-car industry, the SEMA Battle of the Builders is a chance to prove that they are among the best. The 2017 competition began with nearly 300 applications from builders representing an elite group of individuals who have demonstrated extreme talent, creativity and craftsmanship in modifying cars, trucks and SUVs. The field was not only the largest to date but was also deep in entries of exceptional quality. This year also saw the expansion of the Young Guns recognition, which shines the light on young, up-and-coming builders in the automotive industry.
New wheels are among the easiest personalizations consumers can make to their vehicles and have therefore become a staple of the specialty-equipment industry. More than adding style, new wheels can affect functionality and performance, which means the segment is continually evolving. How can the market stay on top of the latest advances in design, materials and manufacturing processes? The answer is the annual SEMA Show, where all that and more is on display.
After 51 years, the SEMA Show has become many things. Once primarily a marketplace for hot-rod parts, the Show has grown to embrace all things automotive, commingling varied tastes, disciplines and business models—all under one roof. It’s the one place in the world where you’ll find a customized Lamborghini sitting next to an outrageous hot rod, flanked by a 1,000hp Camaro and a custom Harley. With 12 distinctly different segments represented, the SEMA Show creates crossover possibilities and an energy far greater than the sum of its parts.
SEMA is governed by a Board of Directors, with directors nominated and elected by the trade association’s membership at large. Board directors serve three-year terms, while the chairman-elect automatically assumes the role of chairman after completing a two-year term. The 2017–2018 Board was empaneled at the annual SEMA Leaders and Legends Installation Gala, held July 28, 2017, at the Sheraton Fairplex in Pomona, California.
If you think the drive toward more vehicle autonomy and connectedness won’t impact your business, think again. Advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and connected vehicle technologies (CVT) are already flooding the OEM marketplace and rippling through the aftermarket in new and unexpected ways, reshaping the design, production, sales and servicing of a surprising array of parts and accessories. The only question is whether your business is ahead of, keeping pace with, or behind the rapid wave of opportunities heading our way.
Located in the Skybridge between the Las Vegas Convention Center’s Central and South Halls, the SEMA Show New Products Showcase displays about 3,000 products each year, all organized by Show section. In addition to new releases, there is also a “Featured” category, where exhibitors highlight their signature or best-selling products. Each entry is displayed with detailed product and contact information, making follow-up easy for buyers and media. With all these products gathered in one area, it’s the most efficient way to find new products and generate new business.
Kawasaki has been working in the industry for nearly 40 years and began volunteering for SEMA when he started his first company, Exports International, in the late ’80s. Since then, Kawasaki has held key elected positions and appointments, including three terms on the SEMA Board of Directors as SEMA secretary/treasurer and as chairman of the SEMA Show Committee, and he was appointed by the United States Secretary of Commerce to the Automotive Parts Advisory Council.