Aftermarket Business

The New Sexy

Social media is now a serious player in employee recruitment, in many cases significantly reducing the cost per hire for companies while simultaneously bringing in higher-quality talent, according to many recruiters.E-Mail Retains the Title

While digital marketing always seems to have its own version of the “It Girl” each year, one thing has remained constant for nearly 30 years: E-mail is still the new sexy. According to a barrage of studies released during the past year, e-mail marketing still surpasses all others in the digital realm when it comes to return on investment (ROI) and increasing sales. And companies still see e-mail marketing as a stalwart when they’re looking to hang on to customers, build loyalty and increase website traffic.

SEMA’s International Vehicle Measuring Program

Offering Access to Hard-to-Obtain Vehicles What do a Toyota HiLux, a Ford Ranger T6, an UAZ Hunter and a Mitsubishi L200 have in common? For one thing these vehicles are known for being aftermarket-accessory friendly, are extremely popular with enthusiasts and are typically upgraded by owners who seek to take them off-roading. Another thing they have in common is that none of these vehicles are sold in the United States, but being very popular throughout the much of the rest of the world, they offer export marketing potential for U.S. companies.

The Industry’s Data Game-Changer

Perhaps the most exciting news for SDC members is the debut of SEMA Search, a new online tool developed to deliver retailers and counter people in part stores, web businesses and warehouses a one-stop reference for SDC-member products.An Exclusive Progress Report on the SEMA Data Co-op

When SEMA launched the SEMA Data Co-op (SDC) a little over two years ago, the goal was admittedly ambitious: to revolutionize the way automotive specialty-equipment manufacturers (data suppliers) convey product information to warehouse distributors and resellers (data receivers) for the benefit of all. Now, according to Jon Wyly, the co-op’s CEO, the SDC is delivering thousands of data sets a week, representing millions of part numbers and tens of millions of vehicle applications, through a database that continues to grow by leaps and bounds daily.

Retailer Spotlight

Never Enough Auto Accessories Blossoms From the Owner’s Enthusiasm

From its inception, the automotive specialty-equipment industry has been built in large measure by enthusiasts who followed their passions. Brad Vlastuin fits that mold.

Vlastuin enjoyed cruise-ins and car gatherings around his hometown in Michigan back in the days when neon lighting and exterior accessories were the hot ticket for import cars. He owned a Toyota Matrix and found that others who attended the same events were in search of products similar to those he was interested in. He began to track down and offer accessories to his fellow enthusiasts, and he was soon running what was essentially a small business out of the trunk of his car.

Clearing the Air on Product Data Management, Part II

Jon Wyly

Questions From Your Industry Peers

Continuing the theme from our last column in the October issue of SEMA News, let’s look at some questions that came from the Council Summit in Pomona, California, back in July. The folks attending this event represented a great cross-section of the industry, and all were very inquiring minds that made for some great conversation and questions.

Standing Tall

The message is clear: Automotive customization is thriving, and American-based businesses are at the forefront of product technology and innovation for the industry. As highlighted in the recent “SEMA Annual Market Study,” the automotive specialty-equipment market now represents $33 billion in annual sales—a 7% increase over the previous year.

Hot Rodders of Tomorrow: Grooming Talented Youth For an Automotive Future

Last March, Team Derale from Forsythe High School set the record for fastest time of 19:10 at the Georgia International Convention Center in Atlanta.Now in its seventh year of existence, Hot Rodders of Tomorrow (HROT) enables young automotive enthusiasts to develop and show off their mechanical skills while being exposed to the automotive specialty-equipment industry. The organization’s purpose is to replenish the aging automotive field with essential future talent by expanding high-school education programs and providing career guidance to students while promoting the value of teamwork.

“We started out recruiting high-school and college students and soon realized where the need was,” said Jim Bingham, HROT chairman and president/CEO of Winner’s Circle Speed & Custom based in Joliet, Illinois. “At the high-school level, we can get kids pointed in the right direction; we’re actually changing lives. It sends a chill down your spine when you see what you’ve done for these kids; we’re getting them to go to school.”

A Steal

Shelby American had a presence at the High Performance and Custom Equipment Trade Show at Dodger Stadium in 1967, the event that would go on to become the SEMA Show. It’s interesting to see what’s in the Shelby booth—as well as what’s not. Shelby’s iconic Cobra roadster and the GT350 Mustang are represented only by photos on the booth’s back wall. Note, too, the “wanted” poster on the easel soliciting for manufacturer’s representatives to handle Shelby’s parts and equipment.

The engine in the center of the booth is a small-block Ford outfitted with a Paxton supercharger. Shelby began offering the blower on ’66 GT350 models, though the expensive option found few takers. Only 11 GT350s left the factory as supercharged models.

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