International Resources

Fast-Tracking Export Sales

An often-overlooked resource for SEMA members seeking new overseas markets for their products are export management companies (EMCs). A growing number of SEMA members are already selling their products directly overseas, many with great success. But an even larger number are not fully tapping their export potential.

2011 Global Media Awards

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The seventh annual Global Media Awards program found 150 companies being recognized by an international panel of automotive journalists at the 2010 SEMA Show. Twenty-four of the top automotive journalists hailing from 15 important world markets for specialty products rolled up their sleeves, and each selected 10 products from the New Products Showcase that they thought would most appeal to consumers in their home markets. We talked to some of the winners about being selected, their overseas sales plans and how important these established and emerging markets are for their bottom lines.

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Selling to the World’s Most Populous Country

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Distributors and retailers from throughout China gathered in Beijing to meet with 21 SEMA-member companies that were participating in the first SEMA China Business Development Conference. The hotel-based program held in Beijing in September was built around a series of one-on-one meetings with pre-selected Chinese buyers who traveled to the event from cities throughout China, including Beijing, Shanghai, Ha’erbin in the far north, Guangzhou in the south and Hubei in the center of the country.

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Global Media Awards

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For the sixth year, a panel of top automotive journalists from 15 countries throughout Asia, Europe, South Africa and South America served on the SEMA Global Media Awards (GMA) panel. 

SEMA recognizes that automotive personalization and customization is growing worldwide. Though the appeal of making cars and trucks fit one’s lifestyle has strong roots in the United States, this enthusiast attitude is universal—and growing. SEMA introduced the Global Media Award program in 2004 to highlight the wide appeal to enthusiasts on every continent of specialty-equipment products that are on display at the SEMA Show.

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Laws on a Global Scale

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Specialty-equipment companies have begun utilizing new tools made available to businesses to ensure that the sale and use of accessories and performance products currently marketed in Europe are allowed to be freely sold throughout the continent. Concerned that national governments were either banning products or adding local requirements in violation of the Mutual Recognition Treaty, the European Parliament implemented measures in May 2009 to promote a single market for automotive specialty equipment. The measures would restrict national decisions that prevent products lawfully manufactured in one member state from being sold within the borders of the others. The new regulations also created resources—including designated points of contact in each country—for businesses to use in case of problems.

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Gaizhuang - The Specialty-Equipment Market in China

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Thirteen SEMA-member companies recently traveled to Beijing, China, for a firsthand look at the developing Chinese market for specialty products—or, as referred to in Chinese, Gaizhuang.

In its infancy, the Chinese market for performance and accessory products is not so unlike the U.S. market of 40 or 50 years ago. On one hand, it is brimming with opportunity as millions of consumers develop a growing taste (and the necessary disposable income) for vehicle personalization. But a closer look at the market reveals a sector riddled with sporadic government crackdowns on car modifications (in Shanghai in 2007 and most recently in Beijing); numerous performance products still technically illegal; far-flung population centers only partially served by the fragmented network of distributors; and the presence of frequent intellectual-property violations. It’s essential that companies take the necessary steps to minimize their potential IPR vulnerability in China and worldwide. Yet, despite this, the delegation overwhelmingly concluded that the largest mistake SEMA members could make would be to underestimate the market and the potential it holds for many SEMA members.

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