Chris Kersting

Tapping Trends: Knowledge Is Power

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Market conditions dictate how companies develop their operating strategies. Evaluating the business environment becomes increasingly important when the economy goes through the kind of turbulence we’ve seen over the past two years. Part of SEMA’s mission is to help member companies assess current conditions and make choices based on hard facts and real trends. The association’s market research programs have been developed and honed to provide that type of real-world analysis. The most recent of these initiatives—the Enthusiast Opinion Leader Program—was unveiled at the 2009 SEMA Show as an exclusive benefit free of charge for members who exhibited or attended the Show. The program is yet another example of the added value realized by SEMA Show participants.

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Green Racing: Why Should You Care?

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Automakers spent a good deal of effort at this year’s auto shows focusing on electrics, plug-in hybrids and a range of alt-technology hopefuls. Interesting future-view sort of stuff. Here in the present tense, there is a quiet reality that warrants the focus of the performance aftermarket: the great majority of vehicles that are on the road today, and those we will be buying in the coming 5, 10 or even 15 years, will involve an internal combustion engine and a consumer looking for efficiency without sacrificing performance. And that means some solid opportunities for our industry. Not surprisingly, “green performance” technologies are advancing full-throttle in the world’s racing garages.

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Working Together for the Best Possible Return on Investment

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There were 290 tire exhibitors at the 2009 SEMA Show in Las Vegas last November, and tire buyers accounted for 9.4% of the total buyers who attended. In fact, their ranks made up the second-largest buyer group at the Show. This issue of SEMA News focuses on tire and wheel business. From the new products article that showcases some of the best technology and innovation the segment has to offer to the trends story where tire and wheel industry experts weigh in on the trends and challenges that face the segment, this issue is filled with information about the marketplace and the companies that have built it.

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A High-Quality SEMA Show

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Quality is our mantra. It is the theme underlying everything we do at the association, and it was our goal for the 2009 SEMA Show. The feedback we’ve received indicates that the Show was a success by any measure, and we’ll use the information we’ve collected to produce an even better event for 2010.

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ProPledge: Knocking Down Barriers and Opening New Channels

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Opportunity. Diversity. Confidence. Profits. Those are a few of the keys that lock in the continuing partnership between the automakers, the vehicle dealers and SEMA-member companies. Giving consumers the right vehicles with their preferred options is what each arm of the distribution chain strives for.

One huge chunk of that process is accessory-friendly vehicles—cars and trucks that are designed from the get-go to encourage owner personalization. A driver’s experience with a car or truck skyrockets when he or she can equip it to suit personal wants and needs. When that owner can buy the vehicle and select from a vast array of specialty-equipment accessories and have them professionally installed with complete confidence, another sales channel opens.

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Changing With the Times to Provide Value

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While change is ongoing, value is a steady standard. You know that your business must change with the times, and the best way to survive and flourish is to provide consistent value. The SEMA Show is the same. We’re actively evolving the Show to increase the value proposition and ensure that participants get a solid return on investment.

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ROI at the SEMA Show?

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The SEMA Show is a reflection of our specialty-equipment industry—an industry fueled by passion, perseverance, and a gut-sense that people who love cars and trucks will always demand outstanding, innovative products. It is a challenging time for our member companies, and you can expect exhibitors will adjust their Show presence wisely. But SEMA members know that eventually the market will turn, and those ready with the best products will reap substantial rewards. Case in point: At press time, we are still two months from the Show and already there are more than 1,500 manufacturers exhibiting and a tremendous list of buyer registrations to match. And matching is what it is all about!

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You Can’t Afford to Miss This

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Value. Every jobber/retailer recognizes that value attracts customers. Consumers will pay a premium price if they believe that they’re receiving a premium product, and they will rush to a sale if they recognize they’re receiving more than they’re paying for. Value is also the goal of the SEMA Show — value for exhibitors and value for the jobber/retailers who expect to find truly innovative new products, outstanding educational opportunities and services that help their stores thrive and grow. Value is what the SEMA Show delivers—especially in this uncertain business climate.

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At Your Service

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Each of the programs and benefits offered by SEMA is spawned by individuals who imagine a better way of doing things. More often than not, those creative thinkers are members of the SEMA Board of Directors—volunteers who give of their time, energy and vision to help guide and grow the automotive specialty-equipment industry. While these people come from diverse demographic backgrounds in every segment of the marketplace, all share a passion for business and a desire to see the people and companies that make up the association succeed and prosper. While they may not always agree completely with one another, they share a respect for their peers and the notion that multiple minds can find solutions where a single mind may not.

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See Where You Are to Understand Where You Are Going

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The automotive world is in flux. While it is impossible to foresee every wave in the sea change that is upon us, it is imperative that we understand where we are today in order to chart the best course for tomorrow. SEMA’s research reports offer crucial insights into consumer purchase intentions, vehicle registration patterns and market niche trends.

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