Aftermarket Business

Launch Pad Competition Returns for 2014

Jonathan Mill (second from right), was named the 2013 Launch Pad winner. He was congratulated by Bryan Harrison (left), Lindsay Hubley (second from left) and Dan Kahn (right). The SEMA Launch Pad competition, in which automotive innovators under the age of 40 showcase their business plans for marketing a product or service, has returned for 2014. Last year’s inaugural winner was Jonathan Mill for the E-Stopp, a pushbutton emergency brake and anti-theft device for custom vehicles.

For the 2014 competition, the top 10 competitors will gather votes through the SEMA Facebook/YouTube voting platform. The top five individuals will then receive invitations to pitch their business ideas during a special event in front of an industry-fueled crowd at the 2014 SEMA Show.

New SEMA Report Uncovers UTV Purchase Patterns

SEMA’s “Powersports: UTV Accessorization” report highlights the UTV market’s potential for a wide range of specialty-equipment companies.According to a SEMA study on the utility task vehicle (UTV) market, nearly 82% of UTV owners have purchased or plan to purchase equipment upgrades for their vehicles. This means that 410,000 households in the United States buy UTV accessories, with the average enthusiast spending $1,700 on parts.

This means that 410,000 households in the United States buy UTV accessories, with the average enthusiast spending $1,700 on parts.

The Hot-Rod Market

One of the great things about the hot-rod market is the wide range of customizations embraced by enthusiasts. Vehicles such as this Cutworm Specialties rod get tricked out with every imaginable category of aftermarket parts.A Classic Segment, Still Growing Strong

Who isn’t thrilled by the look and performance roar of a classic hot rod? Virtually synonymous with the earliest days of the automotive specialty-equipment industry, hot rodding never seems to grow old. In fact, the market segment has remained incredibly resilient, even in the face of the recently bumpy economy.

Heard in the SEMAsphere: SEMAx Leaders

John Waraniak, SEMA Vice President of Vehicle TechnologyThe Vehicle Technology Center (VTC) is more than an exhibit at the SEMA Show; it is a lab. It’s a social networking marketplace and a step into the future.

“The VTC sessions bring together successful entrepreneurs and a wide spectrum of movers and shakers from both inside and outside the automotive specialty-equipment industry to offer valuable insights and ideas for members to create their own preferred futures,” said John Waraniak, SEMA vice president of vehicle technology. “Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, calls these people ‘wicked smart.’ I call these folks ‘SEMAx leaders.’ They are the multipliers and catalysts, the connectors and amplifiers. They challenge the status quo. They come together to collaborate, to share fresh ideas and to find inspiration. They are optimistic about our future. They believe SEMA’s best days lie ahead.”

Hot-Rod Products

Performance Is Premium

Hot rods are at the heart of the automotive specialty-equipment industry. From the dry-lakes racers that flourished after World War II to the modern musclecars rolling out today’s factories, improved performance has always been at a premium. The New Products Showcase at the 2013 SEMA Show featured dozens of innovative introductions as well as featured products from performance companies throughout the industry.

Recruiting Via the Web

Even Easier With a New Crop of Tools

With technology’s relentless evolution, businesses have a fresh crop of digital tools that they can use to pinpoint hot recruiting prospects in cyberspace and grab la crème de la crème before they get away. Social-media sniffers, mobilized career websites and video interviewing have all received major upgrades in the past year, making it even easier for businesses to snag prime candidates.

Mobile-Electronics Products

Aftermarket Business, Car Audio Installers,Car Stereo Retailers, Connected Vehicle, New Products, Mobile ElectronicsPowerful Accessories That Boost Vehicle Efficiency and Functionality

New, more advanced electronic features are added to vehicles each year, both from the automakers and from specialty-equipment companies. No wonder that some of the most sought-after innovations were displayed in the Mobile Electronics section of the New Products Showcase at the 2013 SEMA Show. From navigation consoles to rearview cameras and from vehicle-tracking devices to some of the world’s loudest horns, the aisles were replete with entertainment, information and connectivity devices—along with the power cells, chargers and batteries to run them.

SEMA Search Is on the Way!

Jon WylyIt’s been quite a year for SEMA on the technology front. Just last May, the SEMA Data Co-op (SDC) went live for the first time with a fully functioning Product Information Management System. Since that time, more than 300 industry suppliers have engaged with the SDC to gather, validate, store and distribute their product data to more than 350 data receivers—a number that is growing every week.

In order to eliminate as many roadblocks to data distribution as possible, the SDC is providing free unlimited data exports to all SEMA-member receivers, along with proactively helping suppliers improve their data sets with expert Help Desk services and powerful, online, do-it-yourself data-management tools.

2014 SEMA Middle East Trip

Top Speed was the first stop on a day-long trip to tour local tuning shops. Pictured are (left with back to camera) Rick Trudo, president and CEO of SCT Performance; Adrian Croot (center), marketing director of Bully Dog Technologies; and (right) Saeed Al Al Marzouqi, managing director of Top Speed.Record Number of SEMA Members Participate in Third Annual Visit to the United Arab Emirates

Whether the motivating factor is to hedge against future downturns in the U.S. economy or to sell to the 95% of consumers residing outside the United States or a combination of the two, SEMA members are increasingly reaching out to overseas resellers. Todd Lindblade, regional sales manager for Extang, based in Michigan, explained one of the reasons why his company and 41 other SEMA members recently spent a week in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) meeting with buyers from throughout the region.

Blowin’ and Goin’—SEMA Data Co-op Powering Industry Sales

The SEMA Data Co-op (SDC) is now completing its first year in full-operations mode, and we thought you might like to see that your industry-owned data management resource is now well–established and helping companies increase sales every day. As a reminder—the SDC is operating a centralized product data service for manufacturers that organizes, houses and then distributes online product catalog information to WDs and retailers to help power all manner of business systems, ultimately driving sales growth.

What does the Data Co-op progress report card look like? Consider these results from the first year of operations.

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