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.
The 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.
As 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.
Truck 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.
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 performance products market—comprised of engine and drivetrain, electrical and ignition, intake and exhaust, cooling, safety and race gear—is one of the largest in the automotive aftermarket, with an estimated $10.63 billion in sales last year, according to the “2019 SEMA Market Report.” That reality was reflected last November at the 2019 SEMA Show’s New Products Showcase, where hundreds of new racing and performance-related products were on display.
One of the more pressing issues confronting today’s small-business shops is finding and attracting young talent. The case for winning over Millennials is obvious. As more industry retailers and shops come to rely on advanced technologies and social-media marketing, the need for employees adept in those areas will only grow. Plus, the industry overall is graying, meaning that the demand for new workers to replace retiring employees will also become more urgent with each passing year.
It’s no secret that the retail environment has changed significantly over the past decade. Automotive specialty-equipment retailers in particular are dealing with new pressure points on a number of fronts. But what are the emerging trends that have industry retailers most concerned? And, more importantly, what tools and best practices are they utilizing to adapt? Those questions are at the forefront of a new SEMA market research report.
TIA is a nonprofit organization, and its mission is to promote tire safety through education and training, to act as the tire industry’s principal advocate in legislative affairs, and to represent the industry at public and industry events such as the SEMA Show. TIA offers training and certification courses in automotive, commercial, earthmover and farm tire service, and more than 150,000 technicians have completed TIA coursework to date.
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.