By T Murrali:
The premier trade exhibition, SEMA Show, that helps small businesses thrive and succeed, brought from all over the world people who love cars, trucks and SUVs. The Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA), a trade association operating since 1963, consists of diverse groups of manufacturers, distributors, retailers, publishing companies, auto restorers, street rod builders, re-stylers, car clubs, race teams and more. It has been organising trade shows since 1967.
The four-day annual trade show is an opportunity to promote businesses. The SEMA Show, the trade-only event, enables automotive specialty equipment manufacturers to display, alongside automotive manufacturers who debut innovative products, and connect with industry buyers from all over the world.
The recently-concluded SEMA 2017 attracted more than 140,000 individuals, including about 70,000 buyer-companies, seeking the hottest products to sell in their shops. More than 3,000 media representatives from both trade and consumer outlets, people from 2,400-plus exhibiting companies and representatives from more than 140 countries outside the US participated in the expo. The exhibiting companies consisted of manufacturers of automotive accessories that enhance the performance, styling, comfort, convenience and safety of cars, trucks and SUVs. During the current edition about 550 new participants exhibited brand-new and innovative products. Along with them were the representatives of small businesses owned and operated by automotive enthusiasts who know, love and understand vehicles inside out.
In addition to connecting manufacturers with buyers, the SEMA Show had educative seminars that focused on business strategies and techniques such as online marketing, customer service, product training and new vehicle technology. The networking events helped people in specific market segments to interact and discuss the industry trends. There were also live demonstrations, and hands-on workshops.
Organized by SEMA, representing the $41.2-billion automotive aftermarket industry, the show had 1.2 million sq.ft of exhibition space, and an additional 1.5 million sq.ft of features and attractions throughout the Las Vegas Convention Centre, outside areas and neighbouring Westgate Las Vegas Resort and Casino. The show had more than 3,000 products in the New Products Showcase; 1,500 feature vehicles in both exhibitors’ booths and throughout the convention centre. In addition, the event offered members research, training, education, manufacturing support services, legislative advocacy, group-buying discounts, networking events and more.
The Best New Products
As part of the event, several companies introduced new products into the aftermarket and SEMA announced the Best New Products Award winners at the show. These awards were given to the most innovative and cutting-edge automotive aftermarket products that would be consumable in 2018. The annual new products award competition recognises outstanding achievements in the development of products being introduced to the automotive specialty-equipment market at the SEMA Show. Products are judged in 16 award categories, and each category has one winner and two runners-up. Nearly 3,000 products were entered in the 16 different showcase categories to be considered for the SEMA New Product Awards this year. Winners were selected based on a variety of factors that included superiority of innovation, technical achievement, quality and workmanship, consumer appeal and marketability, and more. The winner under Collision Repair & Refinish Product was ALLDATA LLC for its collision advantage system. Under Engineered New Product the winner was Holley/MSD for its Racepak Vantage CL1 Cloud Based Data Kit. In the Exterior Accessory Product the award went to Westin Automotive for its HDX LED Grille. The winner in the Interior Accessory Product category was Switch-Pros by Off Road Engineering for its SP9100 Switch Panel Power System.
Under Merchandising Display the award was given to Lund International for its Truck Center V-Grid while Waylens Inc. Secure360 Automotive Security Camera was declared the winner under Mobile Electronics Product category. In the Off-Road/4-Wheel Drive Product segment the winner was Austin International Mfg Inc., for its two-tonne big wheel jack. For the Packaging Design the award went to Liquid Armour Protective Coatings LLC for its 9H Ceramic Coating Kit.
In the case of Performance-Racing Product the prize was given to Holley/MSD, Racepak Vantage for CL1 Cloud Based Data Kit. COMP Performance Group was chosen the winner in the Performance-Street Product category for its COMP Cams FSL Series Camshaft for GM L99 Engines. Under Powersports Product the award went to Holley/MSD for MSD Black Solid State Relay. Under Street Rod/Custom Car Product category the prize was clinched by Wilwood Disc Brakes, Tandem Brake and Hydraulic Clutch Pedal Kit.
For Tyre and Related Product category the winner was Cooper Tire & Rubber Co for its Evolution HT. EZ Pulley won the prize under Tools & Equipment Product category for its ez pulley. Under the Van/Pickup/Sport-Utility Product, Elongator Tailgates won the award for its Elongater Integrated Tailgate and Ramp System. In the case of Wheel and Related Product the winner was Chariot Concepts for its TruStack Tyre Dolly and ValveStem Signpost.
Formula DRIFT has announced that ITW Global Brands has extended their support of the series with title sponsor Black Magic and official sponsor Gumout for the 2018 and 2019 seasons. It also announced the addition of ITW Global Brands, Permatex and Fast Orange as official sponsors for the 2018 Pro Championship. Additionally, it announced that it had entered into an exclusive relationship with two tyre manufacturers, Achilles Radial and Nexen Tire, who will serve as the official tyre suppliers of Formula DRIFT PRO 2 Championship. The partnership will help in team cost containment, company inventory management and competition parity. These steps will help continue to serve the development of the next generation of PRO drivers.
Extreme Driving Experience
As part of SEMA 2017, Continental Tire was delivering an at-track experience outside South hall. Show goers could take a ride in a BMW Performance Driving School BMW fitted with Continental’s new ExtremeContact Sport tyre. Then they could hang out in the Continental Tire booth to take in the sounds of a live DJ, and see some of the coolest builds by the hottest car builders. Champion freestyle motorcycle athlete and performer Chris ‘Teach’ McNeil also showed off the all-new BMW G310R along with the class leading S1000RR and versatile S1000XR.
During the show, the Professional Restylers Organization (PRO) held its annual Industry Awards Reception. Jeff Lang of Sunline Auto Restyling was named the 2017 PRO Restyler of the Year. The award was established to honour an outstanding restyler/installer whose creativity, dignity, integrity, industriousness and accomplishments have enhanced the stature and growth of the industry within the candidate’s community. The other award winners included 2017 PRO Manufacturer of the Year: Eastman Chemical Company—Llumar Window Films; 2017 PRO PRO Nat Danas Person of the Year: Bill North of Katzkin Leather and 2017 PRO Jim Boree Lifetime Achievement Award: Scott Wolin of Chicago Parts & Sound.
Industry’s Top Award Winners
More than 3,000 automotive aftermarket professionals gathered on the third day of the show for the industry’s pre-eminent awards ceremony, the SEMA Industry Awards Banquet. The annual banquet is where automotive parts are set aside for a brief moment to allow innovators, leaders and legends to take centre stage as they are honoured and recognized for their contributions to the industry. Among the awards winners recognised at the banquet were: SEMA Person of the Year: John Johnson, The Spartan Group; SEMA Manufacturer of the Year: MagnaFlow; SEMA Rep Agency of the Year: Considine Sales & Marketing; SEMA WD of the Year: Meyer Distributing; SEMA Gen-III Innovator of the Year: Pete Gonzales, Darkside Scientific, creators of LumiLor Light Emitting Coating.
“The people in this industry are driven by passion, and that’s what makes it so exciting and innovative. It’s great to be able to take some time during the SEMA Show to recognise and honour individuals who have made an especially important impact,” Chris Kersting, SEMA President and CEO, said.
The four-day show concluded with ‘SEMA Ignited,’ which is the official SEMA Show after-party. After four days behind closed doors in the Las Vegas Convention Centre, visible only to trade industry professionals, hundreds of cars and trucks built for display at the SEMA Show, rolled out of the convention centre in the SEMA Cruise and assembled at SEMA Ignited. Unlike the trade show in which the consumers clamour to attend year after year, SEMA Ignited is always open to the public.
The special event offered enthusiasts, hobbyists, and consumers a chance to share in the excitement of the trade-only show. There, the public had the rare opportunity to view hundreds of customised vehicles featuring the newest and most innovative products from the SEMA Show. The special event also had food, music, drift demonstrations, celebrities, iconic builders and displays that included hundreds of one-of-a-kind, custom vehicles.
It also saw the culmination of the SEMA Battle of the Builders competition. More than 300 applications were submitted for the 2017 SEMA Battle of the Builders contest, which were whittled down to the Top 40, then the Top 12 by industry judges before the 12 finalists judged their fellow competitors in front of an audience at the 2017 SEMA Show. The participants included competitors vying for the title of the Ultimate Vehicle Builder including an entirely new Young Guns Category for builders under 27 years of age.
Troy Trepanier was announced winner of the 2017 SEMA Battle of the Builders competition. Trepanier’s 1929 Ford Model-A Tudor sedan edged out the amazing builds of fellow Top 3 finalists Alan Johnson (1932 Ford Tudor) and Troy Ladd (1936 Packard roadster) for the title. For many of the builders, SEMA Battle of the Builders is their chance to prove that they are among the industry’s best.
The Next SEMA Show will be conducted between October 30 and November 2, 2018.