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Cover Story

The SEMA Show is all about innovation and creativity. For a taste of what’s coming at the 2014 event, check out the more than 70 new products previewed here.

During the Show on November 4–7, 2014, head to the upper level of South Hall for a look at the New Products Showcase in the Las Vegas Convention Center.



Business Technology

  • Jon WylyQuestions From Your Industry Peers

    Back in July, my team and I had the opportunity to meet with the SEMA council leadership at its annual Council Summit in Pomona. We were invited to join the meeting to talk about the SEMA Data Co-op (SDC) and get feedback from this diverse gathering. What was particularly fascinating was that this group—made up of smart folks who do a great job of running their businesses—had widely varying understandings (and thus opinions) about product data management. After an hour of very productive discussion, the entire room merged onto the same page, and we came away with a group that was better able to relate product data management to their individual businesses while helping us at the SDC to realize that a lot of hand-to-hand education still needs to happen.

Chris Kersting

  • Chris Kersting, SEMA President and CEO If you’re not registered to participate in the SEMA Ignited event, now is the time to get in. The event concept is simple. After four days behind closed doors in the Las Vegas Convention Center, visible only to industry professionals, participating cars and trucks from the SEMA Show will roll out on Friday, November 7, to assemble at one of the newest landmarks in the city, the High Roller observation wheel at the LINQ entertainment district. There, from 4:00 p.m.–10:00 p.m., consumers and the media will be able to experience the hottest cars, products and personalities from the SEMA Show and enjoy food and music in a culminating celebration. Participation in the event will be free of charge to SEMA exhibitors, attendees and consumers.


  • Every automotive specialty equipment company should also take the time to understand how television can efficiently and effectively deliver marketing messages.Experts Counsel Industry on the Hurdles and Benefits 

    Any media outlet—print, the Internet, radio, billboards and more—can be used to market the businesses of automotive aftermarket companies. But there may be none that offers the reach and cost-per-thousand (CPM) advantages of television. To help manufacturers, retailers, installers and even warehouse distributors learn about the benefits, perceived hurdles and costs of TV marketing, the SEMA Show will present a super-session seminar entitled “Understand and Maximize Investments in Automotive TV Programming.” The event will be presented Monday, November 3, (the day before the official opening of the SEMA Show) from 3:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m. in room N258 adjacent to the North Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center.

  • Throughout the SEMA Show, leading advanced vehicle technology experts will discuss SEMA’s vehicle technology programs, partners, solutions and benefits. Learn what participating members are doing to gain competitive advantages, reduce product development costs, leverage new technologies for growth and ensure compliance of aftermarket-modified vehicles for vehicle emissions and dynamics. For more information, visit SEMA Vehicle Technology Briefing Seminar program is designed to connect SEMA members to the benefits of vehicle technology and performance product-development solutions, resources and partnerships. From racing and performance design to branding and driving green, connected, safe and cool, cutting-edge technologies will be the focus of discussions at this year’s SEMA Show by industry leaders and innovators who will explain current and future systems and technology applications.

  • The SEMA Memorial Scholarship Fund has awarded $152,000 to 61 individuals. The awards include 44 SEMA Scholarships, which are presented to current students, and 17 loan-forgiveness awards presented to employees of SEMA-member companies. In addition, one student was awarded a full-tuition scholarship for the 2014–2015 academic year to Ohio Technical College.

    On behalf of the industry, we offer congratulations and continued success!


  • If you’re an exhibitor with a significant revelation and you want to let the cat out of the bag, holding a press conference is the best way to get in front of the media. Hours of planning, preparation and strategy are required to successfully pull it off, but the results can be well worth it. It’s best to ensure that you have the necessary staffing and resources at your disposal to optimize your chances of convincing the media to show up and connect with you, and getting the coverage you seek.

  • Since its official open house in July, the new SEMA Garage—Industry Innovations Center has garnered high marks from the SEMA’s membership. In fact, its summer-evening debut attracted more than 700 industry professionals for a firsthand tour of the comprehensive facility designed to help members bring fresh specialty-equipment products to market, from concept to complete photographed state.The SEMA Garage Opens to Industry Wows

    As the saying goes, you never get a second chance to make a good first impression. In recent months, the new SEMA Garage—Industry Innovations Center has officially thrown its doors wide open to SEMA members, welcoming them to let their creativity flow within the new facility. In return, the initial industry response has been incredible. Clearly, SEMA membership is intrigued with the possibilities.

  • Exhibiting at the SEMA Show—especially for the first time—can be a logistical labyrinth. But a bit of planning and forethought can result in a straightforward map to success.The SEMA Show Director Provides Insights to the 2014 Event

    With nearly 20 years in the production of both consumer and trade automotive events, the SEMA Show’s Tom Gattuso is well versed in ensuring that attendees and exhibitors receive the greatest return on their investments. He holds a certification in event management, and the 2014 SEMA Show will be his fourth as its director. SEMA News was pleased to talk with him about the Show, its features and his expectations for this year’s venue.

  • More Than a Trade Show, It’s an Automotive Paradise

    The SEMA Show is a business event, as everyone in the industry knows. It’s the venue where buyers and sellers come together to provide products to installers and stock the shelves of retail outlets throughout the nation and the world. But it’s also so much more than that. It’s one of the world’s greatest custom car shows. It’s a four-day university of automotive knowledge. It’s a carnival, complete with wild rides and sideshows. There’s more going on at the SEMA Show than at many of the planet’s amusement parks, and there’s only so much time in each day. Attendees have to plan ahead if they want to catch every nuance available. Here’s a brief look at some of the major points of interest.

  • SEMA Members Celebrate Fifth Annual Collector Car Appreciation Day

    Colby Martin, Collector Car Appreciation Day, Aftermarket Parts Laws, Aftermarket Parts RegulationOn July 11, 2014, SEMA members joined with SEMA staff and thousands of enthusiasts to celebrate the fifth annual Collector Car Appreciation Day (CCAD). A wide range of official events were held in the United States, Canada and Australia to commemorate the day, designated by SEMA-requested U.S. Senate Resolution 493, which was sponsored by Senator Jon Tester (D-MT), Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) and Senator Mark Begich (D-AK).

    The U.S. Senate Resolution recognized “that the collection and restoration of historic and classic cars is an important part of preserving the technological achievements and cultural heritage of the United States.” Lawmakers in states, counties and local areas all over the country and Canada followed the Senate’s lead. The states of California, Louisiana and New Mexico, along with the Canadian Provinces of British Columbia, Manitoba and Nova Scotia, adopted their own resolutions commemorating the day.

  • Veteran Show attendees know that every first-time exhibitor represents a business opportunity. At the 2014 SEMA Show, attendees will come face-to-face with more than 415 new exhibitors. Visit for a listing of SEMA Show exhibitors.The Keys Are Collecting, Qualifying and Following Up

    According to a report entitled “2013 SEMA Show Research”—a post-Show survey of exhibitors and attendees—almost 90% of exhibitors at the 2013 SEMA Show said that they exhibit in order to generate leads and increase awareness of their companies. Slightly higher percentages said that those objectives were met at the 2013 Show.

Government Affairs

  • Law and Order is an update of some of the most recent federal and state legislative and regulatory issues that could potentially impact the automotive specialty-equipment industry. These include issues affecting small-business owners and their employees.

Industry News

  • Breaking news from SEMA member companies, including Hastings Manufacturing, J&L Marketing, Flaming River Industries, Kit Car Builder, The Hybrid Shop, Drake Automotive Group and more.

  • GM Duramax Turbo Diesel, Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat, ’16 Chevy Camaro and Dodge Challenger SRT8

  • Light Truck Accessory Alliance (LTAA) - SEMA CouncilPrior to the official opening of the 2014 SEMA Show, members of the media can get a head start on coverage by attending the Light-Truck Accessory Alliance (LTAA) Media Preview. Registered and credentialed journalists can attend the first-ever pre-Show media event and avoid the rush of 60,000 buyers to get a sneak peek at some of the newest parts and accessories for the truck and SUV segment.

  • Nearly 25% of buyers attending the SEMA Show reside outside the United States. Show attendees are invited to participate in three interactive sessions regarding emerging international markets where top specialty-equipment distributors and retailers will discuss business challenges and opportunities and identify the best-selling products for street-performance, off-roading and other growing niches.

  • 3M has challenged all graphics experts to showcase their talents using 3M Wrap Film Series 1080 and face off in the Wrap2Wrap Battle. Installers began competing in online knockout rounds in August, and two finalists will go head-to-head, Thursday, November 6, at the 2014 SEMA Show.

  • Digital Lizard, an official service provider of the 2014 SEMA Show, is offering Showgoers 20%–50% off of printed materials.Digital Lizard is offering 2014 SEMA Show exhibitors and attendees 20%–50% off of printed materials. As an official SEMA Show partner, Showgoers will benefit from lowered costs and on-site customer service at the Show.

    Exhibitors can send files directly to Digital Lizard, and the company will print the job for the event and even deliver materials to their Show booths. They can do this within hours, ensuring that exhibitors have the amount of handouts, fact sheets and other materials required for the entire Show


  • In the past, the creation of an Interest-Charge Domestic International Sales Corporation (IC-DISC) has allowed U.S. manufacturers from a number of industries to greatly reduce the amount of tax paid on their exports—and the automotive industry has been no exception. For example, tax specialist alliantgroup recently helped one company that produces LED lights for a variety of motor vehicles receive $235,600 in tax savings on their exports. Another company that creates fabrics and composites for automotive applications was eligible to receive $539,000 in tax dollars for its IC-DISC.


  • IBM continues to spin off projects from its Watson analytics computer, which gained fame after beating top human contestants on the game show “Jeopardy.”The Latest Tools for Getting the Most From Your Web and Social-Media Marketing

    Businesses looking to evaluate the return on their efforts in web and social-media marketing can take heart: There are scores of analytical tools available that can precisely show them how well their campaigns are doing.

    In social media, those just getting started in analytics would do well to check out Hootsuite. A powerful social-media dashboard that allows users to manage all of their postings and other activities on all the major social-media networks, Hootsuite is also packed with a wide variety of analytical tools that show how well you’re doing on social media.

New Products

  • The SEMA Show is all about innovation and creativity. For a taste of what’s coming at the 2014 event, check out the more than 70 new products previewed here.

    During the Show on November 4–7, 2014, head to the upper level of South Hall for a look at the New Products Showcase in the Las Vegas Convention Center.



Required Reading

  • The SEMA Garage is officially open and ready for business. After months of planning and renovation, SEMA recently held a party to introduce the SEMA Garage to the automotive industry. Many were able to see firsthand such features of the Garage as the photo cove, 3-D printer, training center and emissions lab. The Garage has been so well received and generated such interest that media from New York to Los Angeles are taking notice, and the SEMA Garage is making headlines.

Retail Store Review

  • The tuner shop has six lift-equipped bays, including a four-poster with alignment and balancing systems. Kaizen Tuning also has a dyno and full fabrication capabilities.Kaizen Tuning Partners With Suppliers for Success

    “It was brutal, but we really saw a need,” he recalled. “I took delivery of one of the first Nissan GTRs on the East Coast. I’ve been to Japan many times and have seen how that car is treated over there. You don’t even need an appointment at a Nissan dealership for service. Here in the United States, [the dealership] didn’t really know how to handle a $100,000 supercar. They were treating it like a Sentra or a Maxima. That wasn’t going to work for me, so I started servicing it out of my home garage. After we were probably a month in, I had about five of them in my driveway. My wife told me it was about time to find someplace to do the business full time.”

SEMA Heritage

  • Were you to park a ’14 Chevy Malibu next to a ’56 Bel Air and open the hoods of each, the contrast would be remarkable. The Malibu’s short, wide engine bay is so full of plastic covers, tubes, hoses, wires, bottles and other equipment that the car’s four-cylinder engine is barely visible—if at all. Were you to park a ’14 Chevy Malibu next to a ’56 Bel Air and open the hoods of each, the contrast would be remarkable. The Malibu’s short, wide engine bay is so full of plastic covers, tubes, hoses, wires, bottles and other equipment that the car’s four-cylinder engine is barely visible—if at all.

    The Bel Air’s Turbo-Fire V8, on the other hand, stands out in the ’56 Chevy’s spacious engine compartment, covered in bright orange paint and hooked to a canister air cleaner, a couple of radiator hoses and little else. Ask any shadetree mechanic why he prefers to work on old collector cars over today’s computer- and emissions-controlled vehicles and the answer usually comes down to: “They were so much simpler then.”