The SEMA Battle of the Builders competition has grown by leaps and bounds, and interest in this year’s edition was at an all-time high, thanks in part to more than 250 vehicles that were entered and the new Young Guns distinction for builders who were 34 years old and under.
As we have come to expect, the Show offered both the original and the improved, the ingenious and the astonishing, and it housed an unprecedented array of business possibilities and enlightening educational opportunities. Too, the Show this year was tinged with nostalgia and memories of the past, even as it was rich in optimism for the future.
Every year, the New Products Showcase serves as a resource for manufacturers to advertise their latest and greatest innovations. One of the top SEMA Show attractions for buyers and media alike, it’s no surprise that the number of entries this year surpassed 3,000 in 16 categories ranging from street-performance, racing and off-roading to mobile-electronics, interior and exterior products.
No retrospective of 2016 SEMA Show highlights would be complete without the annual SEMA Industry Awards Banquet. Taking up the 50th anniversary Show theme, “We Built This,” the Thursday-evening event celebrated standout leaders who exemplify the passion and drive for excellence at the heart of the automotive specialty-equipment industry. Emceed by Dennis Pittsenbarger and Jessi Combs, the evening also featured entertainment by comedian Larry the Cable Guy, known for his catchphrase “Git-R-Done” as well as his voice work as Mater in the animated films Cars and Cars 2.
Qian Guohui bought his first Jeep—a Compass—in 2010. The model choice was dictated by his wife’s tastes. But Guohui hankered after a tougher-looking Jeep, and he wanted to go off-road. In 2014, with his wife’s blessing, he bought a Jeep Wrangler.
While hackers regularly make digital corpses of computer systems run by global giants and mom-and-pops alike, the hard fact is that few businesses have a plan in place to handle a cyber break-in.
Fueled by 2.5 million new-pickup sales last year, there are now more than 51 million pickups on U.S. roadways. But how much do aftermarket businesses really know about pickup consumers, their shopping habits and, ultimately, the parts they purchase? Assumptions are one thing, but manufacturers and resellers who truly want marketplace facts to drive their efforts will be interested in the newly released “2016 SEMA Pickup Report” from the association’s market research department.
Over the past five decades, SEMA has become world renowned for its annual SEMA Show, but its core mission as a trade association goes much further, extending benefits 365 days a year. To help its members succeed and prosper, SEMA’s year-round work extends to legislative and industry advocacy, the promotion of technology and innovation, market research, education, member services and a host of other important initiatives to encourage marketplace growth. Those goals take leadership, and each year, the SEMA Installation Gala gathers the association together to install newly elected SEMA Board of Directors and council members, say thanks to outgoing officers, and celebrate SEMA’s latest Hall of Fame inductees.
Every company must do at least one thing better than its competitors in order to survive and grow. This is the company’s competitive advantage. This competitive advantage might come from a special formula, a unique part, a cheaper manufacturing process or simply a better-quality product.
Before there was a SEMA Show, there was an association—a loosely knit group of speed-equipment manufacturers who came together with a common interest. It was the Speed Equipment Manufacturers Association’s shared obstacles to building their businesses that brought them together, and the foundation of the industry was born.