Steve Campbell

Vegas Away From the SEMA Show

The Auto CollectionsThe annual SEMA Show in Las Vegas is one of the largest automotive trade events in the world, but the fact that it’s held in an entertainment mecca also makes it an opportunity for automotive professionals to explore all sorts of diversions, both automotive and not. The following are only a few of the options, but be sure to visit the official city website at www.lasvegas.com for its enormous catalog of activities, shows, tours and more.

2015 Battle of the Builders

2015 Battle of the BuildersThe finals of the 2015 SEMA Battle of the Builders will take place Friday, November 6, at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas, but master craftsmen and vehicle owners were queued up well in advance to sign up for a chance to claim the winner’s trophy. Entries began to be posted at the official SEMA Ignited website (www.SEMAignited.com) in August, and while the determination of final status was also dependent on each entry landing a spot as a display, feature or booth vehicle at the Show, early indications pointed to another strong field.

Must-See Features at the 2015 SEMA Show

At 1.16 million sq. ft. of exhibit space, the SEMA Show draws thousands of exhibitors, buyers, media and other attendees to a four-day car, truck and powersports extravaganza. The grounds of the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC)—both within the exhibit halls and in the surrounding spaces—offer a profusion of sensory delights. In the listings below, we’ve detailed just a few of the highlights.

Retail Spotlight

Custom Trucks Unlimited Retail Store ReviewLike so many small-business owners involved in automotive retail companies, David and Kevin Walker were enthusiasts early on. They loved anything with an engine, and they helped pay their way through college by working at a truck accessories store. That experience gave them a foundation in auto-parts retailing, so it was natural that they should start a store of their own when the chance presented itself. David was 21 and Kevin 20 in 2006 when they opened the doors to Custom Trucks Unlimited (CTU) in Auburn, Alabama.

SEMA Indicators

The first-ever SEMA Battle of the Builders television special is set to air at 8:00 p.m. EDT on Sunday, March 8, on the Velocity Network. Months of filming went into the production, culminating on a live stage at the SEMA Ignited afterparty this past November in Las Vegas.Compass Points for Specialty-Equipment Companies

Business trends reveal themselves in a host of incarnations, and we seek each year to ferret out those that pertain to the automotive specialty-equipment aftermarket. The SEMA Show, new-vehicle sales, educational tendencies and other indicators may reveal significant industry developments—or at least give savvy professionals some compass points to steer by. We hope that the following areas of interest help with the navigation.

Innovations in Wheels and Wheel Accessories

Introductions From the New Products Showcase at the 2014 SEMA Show

One of the most common adages in the automotive specialty-equipment industry is that the quickest and easiest way to change the character of an automobile is to change its wheels. As anyone who toured the displays in the lower South Hall at the 2014 SEMA Show can attest, the variety available is stunning. From plated to painted and concave to split-spoked, the displays drew thousands of buyers from every type of reseller, and there were equally impressive new tools to provide mounting, handling and balancing options for installers.

2015 Tire & Wheel Trends

Market Forces and Technology May Change the Shape of the Industry

The wheel and tire market has improved over the past year, according to a widely held consensus among professionals in the automotive specialty-equipment industry. New offerings, technology and an improving economy bode well for sales in 2015, but there are also impediments that may deflate some of the optimism.

The 2014 SEMA Award

Attending the annual SEMA Award presentation were (from left) Alan Batey, president of GM North America and global Chevrolet brand chief, accepting for the ’14/’15 Chevrolet Silverado as Hottest Truck; Jeff Conrad, senior vice president and general manager of Honda Division, accepting for the ’15 Honda Fit as Hottest Sport Compact; Chris Kersting, president and CEO of SEMA; Pietro Gorlier, president and chief executive officer of MOPAR brand service, parts and customer care, Chrysler Group, accepting for the ’14/’15 Jeep Wrangler as Hottest SUV; and Dave Pericak, Mustang chief engineer, accepting for the ’15 Ford Mustang as Hottest Car. The Hottest Vehicles of the 2014 SEMA Show

SEMA annually recognizes four vehicle models that specialty-equipment manufacturers believe are the best platforms for accessorization and that showcase the year’s coolest products. The awards are presented on the first day of the SEMA Show based on the total number of vehicles chosen for display in exhibitor booths at the annual event. Each booth vehicle represents a vote by the exhibitor. The SEMA Award honors are presented in the categories of Hottest Car, Hottest Sport Compact, Hottest Truck and Hottest SUV.

Trends for 2015

A Look to the Future With SEMA Council Leaders

SEMA News annually turns to the leaders of the association’s councils and networks for the January issue to seek their views about how the industry is shaping up for the coming year. The chairs of each group provide responses based on what their organizations and companies are seeing within their marketplaces. Their responses provide helpful insights for businesses in every segment of the marketplace.

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