Mike Imlay

George Lathouris Named 2013 SEMA Person of the Year

Presented annually at the SEMA Show Industry Awards Banquet in Las Vegas, the SEMA Person of the Year Award ranks among the association’s most prestigious honors. At the 2013 SEMA Show, the award went to George Lathouris, a 36-year marketing veteran. Lathouris was recognized for his volunteer leadership contributions, philanthropy and overall influence on the marketplace.

Lathouris is currently senior category manager at Keystone Automotive Operations in Scranton, Pennsylvania. He started his career working in a warehouse for American Speed Equipment in New York and worked his way up to the position of national sales and advertising manager.

SEMA Data Co-op Case Studies

How Robust Data Has Improved Business

The SEMA Data Co-op (SDC), the industry-owned data repository, moved from Beta phase into full operation just last summer. Since then there’s been a lot of talk about “clean data” and the need for manufacturers within the specialty-equipment industry to “take control” of it. ACES, PIES, long descriptions and even product photos and videos are now critical to sales in today’s digital age.

Meet the 2013–2014 SEMA Board of Directors

Elected by the trade association’s membership at large, the SEMA Board of Directors is composed of industry leaders representing the wide spectrum of businesses found within the specialty-equipment aftermarket.

“Board members volunteer considerable time, talent and effort to bettering the industry for all, from manufacturers to distributors, and from sales to service suppliers,” said SEMA President and CEO Chris Kersting.

“We appreciate the dedication and insight that our Board of Directors brings to setting priorities for SEMA and addressing issues that promote industry growth.”

SEMA Show Guide for Buyers

Encompassing well over a million square feet of product innovations, aftermarket trends and unmatched business opportunities, the annual SEMA Show in Las Vegas is a buyers’ paradise. Make sure you have a game plan for getting the most of it. As the world’s premier automotive aftermarket trade event, the annual SEMA Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC) can seem overwhelming. How do you cover well over a million square feet of display vehicles, product innovations and special events in just a few short days? The secret, according to SEMA Show Director Tom Gattuso, is to start strategizing ahead of time.

“The SEMA Show is like the Super Bowl,” said Gattuso. “A buyer can’t just show up and hope to win. You have to have a strategy. The more you plan ahead, the more productive you will be. We talk to buyers extensively after each Show and find that those who had a plan are substantially more successful.”

The New Products Showcase

Connecting Buyers, Sellers and Media at the SEMA Show

If you’re a SEMA Show exhibitor, product exposure is the name of the game. Your number-one goal is attracting buyers and media to your booth, where you can discuss and demonstrate your new and featured products in person. If, on the other hand, you’re a buyer or media attendee, your priority is saving time and legwork in discovering the latest and greatest product innovations amid more than a million square feet of booths and exhibits vying for your attention. Fortunately, there’s an efficient solution for everyone: The SEMA Show’s New Products Showcase.

Retailer Spotlight

Evasive Motorsports has built a thriving e-Commerce/brick-and-mortar mix through active participation in racing and other motorsports events. Evasive Motorsports Builds e-Commerce Through Event Participation

What does it mean to be brick-and-mortar in the modern aftermarket business scene? Does it mean having a shop with a traditional storefront filled with inventory and displays to attract walk-in clients? Or does it mean a building stocked with inventory, with items often previewed or even ordered online, with a simple reception counter for a cadre of customers who come through the door to pick up and install those items? And what about having a full-service shop for building and tuning cars, complete with two-post lifts, fabrication facilities and a dynamometer?

Four Who Made a Difference

George Barris, Eric Grant, Wade Kawasaki and Joe Schubeck Enter SEMA’s Hall of Fame

Often, those who truly make a difference never really set out to do so. They’re simply pursuing a dream, a passion. And yet, through sheer perseverance, innovation, dedication and a high dose of excellence, they somehow suddenly find themselves changing everything, revolutionizing an industry and inspiring a legion of followers.


Insuring Specialty Vehicles

Whether actually “roadworthy” or built to be trailered and displayed only, specialty project vehicles carry a unique set of risks to your business and therefore require specialized insurance to match.How to Cover the Basics and More

Whether they be OEM “dollar vehicles” or shop display cars, the aftermarket loves to promote itself through project builds and other collectible autos. Many retailers or garages will have one or more in the lot or showroom to wow customers. Manufacturers, of course, use them to showcase products at consumer automotive events and trade shows. At the annual SEMA Show, you’ll scarcely find a booth without one.

Build vehicles are valuable commodities, so whether your business keeps them on display at the shop or takes them on the road to tout your brand, you’ll want to have them properly insured. Yet, adequately covering them can be complicated.

Smartphones and Hotspots

The Mobile Connectivity Trend Continues

“Vehicle connectivity” remains the buzz phrase in the mobile-electronics market segment. Whether via OEM head units, smartphones, tablets, iPads or mobile hotspots, the cloud’s literally the limit for infotainment.For 2013 and the immediate future, the buzz phrase in the mobile-electronics market remains “vehicle connectivity.” At least, that seems to be the consensus of a variety of category observers within the field, from journalists to marketing professionals.

“Just as we’ve seen in past years, in-vehicle technology has been driven by the iPhone and the efforts to either connect with it, integrate with it or make it part of the environment,” said Mobile Electronics Magazine Editor in Chief Solomon Daniels. “Manufacturers know that consumers carry their music around with them. The vehicle is no longer the central point for entertainment; it’s more of an offshoot.”

Manufacturing Reps 101

Why and How to Hire the Best

Let’s say you’ve launched a start-up company and are ready to sell your first line (or lines) of new product. Or perhaps you are a small to medium manufacturer looking to take sales to a whole new level. Or maybe you head the marketing department of a company in need of growing its sales force. In each case, you’re likely considering the ability of a manufacturer’s rep to help you reach your goals. If so, you won’t be the first who employed the services of an expert to gain entry to key markets and increase sales of established lines.


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