The 50th anniversary SEMA Show brought resounding confirmation that the original idea was good back then and perhaps even better today. For many of us, this year’s Show was a mix of past and present, of new beginnings and a moment to pause and consider memories from years past—all within the greater understanding that the our industry trade week in Las Vegas is about important business in the years ahead.
Those of you who attended our SEMA Show seminar on emissions compliance were reminded that the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have the combined authority to enforce anti-tampering regulations in all 50 states—and not just against manufacturers but industry resellers as well. For those who were not able to attend this annual briefing session, attendees had the opportunity to learn more about important new SEMA resources to help members stay in compliance with the law.
The SEMA Show is the one time each year when we all come together to do business, renew bonds with old friends and make as many new friends as possible. Proudly celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, the SEMA Show has also been our industry’s primary location to learn about new technologies and gain new perspectives. This year’s Show is exceptionally rich in innovative business insights.
As you read this, thousands of automotive specialty-equipment manufacturers are working in full-frenzy mode, finalizing their latest automotive innovations for the 2016 SEMA Show. For 50 years now, the basic premise of the Show has remained unchanged: unite automotive specialty-equipment buyers with parts manufacturers for a four-day marketplace to grow sales and the industry. And yet the SEMA Show is also ever-changing, introducing new ways to make this marketplace more productive, informative and interesting.
Many of us have seen studies indicating that today’s young people are less interested in owning and driving cars than were prior generations. The statistics suggest that kids might be more likely to hot rod their cell phones and spend money on video games than buy cool stuff for cars.
An important element of SEMA’s mission is to undertake challenging projects that many individual member companies could not afford on their own. Establishing a data co-op, building an emissions-compliance center and maintaining a comprehensive legislative/regulatory team in Washington, D.C., are all examples of significant programs SEMA delivers for its members. Another valuable member benefit—market research—is intended to help member companies better understand their marketplace, plan for the future, and take advantage of emerging trends.
A couple of years ago, SEMA rolled out the SEMA Data Co-op (SDC) to help SEMA manufacturers and resellers market our industry’s cool products online. Through the SDC, members can easily keep up with a fast-moving marketing environment to get quicker, broader exposure for their products.
A lot has happened since December, when we first learned of a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposal that would effectively outlaw conversion of street cars into race cars. We filed opposition comments later that month. We then met with agency officials in January asking the EPA to reconsider their position. When that failed, we alerted the public in February.
A surprising number of SEMA-member companies know their association for only one thing—the SEMA Show. True, producing a world-class trade show is one of SEMA’s most important functions, as the Show enables tens of thousands of buyers and sellers to come together to do business. But in addition, the association is working on many fronts, to deliver programs and information in response to the needs of our members and the industry as a whole.
For years now, decades even, industry leaders at SEMA have undertaken initiatives to help reach and inspire the enthusiast, the semi-enthusiast and more than ever, the consumer who doesn’t yet identify as an enthusiast. The goal has been to introduce them to cool cars and trucks, the automotive lifestyle, and to spark the idea to use our industry’s great products. Together with our members’ own marketing efforts, we aim to help grow the specialty auto parts market.