SEMA: New Research Looks at Shifting U.S. Vehicle Landscape and Hottest Models for the Aftermarket

DIAMOND BAR, CA (04.08.2021) – Just about any vehicle on the road can be modified with aftermarket parts. However, with more than 281 million vehicles currently on the road in the United States, knowing where the greatest opportunities for customization are can be challenging. In the new “SEMA Vehicle Landscape Report,” the SEMA Market Research team looks at changes in the vehicle landscape, where the greatest opportunities are for the aftermarket industry and trends that may impact businesses.

What does the current vehicle landscape look like? What are the latest trends? Where is the opportunity for the specialty-equipment industry moving forward? The SEMA report answers these questions and more. Readers will find:

  • An overview of the current vehicles on the road in the United States today.
  • New light-vehicle sales and powertrain projections.
  • The hottest models for the specialty-equipment industry.
  • The latest vehicle trends, including electrification and advanced vehicle technology.

Download the new 2021 SEMA Vehicle Landscape Report today at www.sema.org/research and register here for the upcoming webinar “Vehicle Landscape: Which Cars and Trucks are Hot?,” as the SEMA Market Research team provides an in-depth overview of the report and answers questions.

Written by Kyle Cheng for sema.org

SEMA’s Live, Interactive Sessions for April’s Virtual Education Calendar – Register Today

DIAMOND BAR, CA (05.06.2021) – SEMA Virtual Education remains committed to empowering industry professionals by sharing innovative strategies, information and learning through new and engaging webinars.

Mark your calendar for the following upcoming webinars and stay tuned to SEMA eNews as additional sessions are announced throughout the year. For a comprehensive library of upcoming and on-demand sessions that members can access anytime, visit www.sema.org/virtual-education.

Thursday, April 8 – Vehicle Landscape: Which Cars and Trucks are Hot?
Track: Trends & Research
Series: SEMA Industry Insight Series  

Learn about the current vehicle landscape and emerging trends and opportunities in the automotive aftermarket industry as the SEMA Market Research team provides an overview of what vehicles are currently on the road, shifts in new vehicle sales and trends, and the hottest car and truck models for customization in the industry—followed by a live Q&A with the webinar speakers.

Click here to register.

Wednesday, April 14 – Facebook Live Chat featuring Chris Blair, presented by SEMA YEN
Track: Industry Talks

Tune in to a Facebook Live Chat featuring Chris Blair, executive vice president and general manager of World Wide Technology Raceway. Since joining WWTR in 2012, Blair has overseen the growth and development of the once-shuttered St. Louis track from a 150-acre, racing-only complex to a multi-purpose entertainment venue in excess of 600 acres. As host of the Facebook Live, Blair will discuss steps racetracks have taken to overcome the state lockdowns and their plans moving forward.

Location: SEMA Facebook page

Wednesday, April 21 – Tire Knowledge 301: Common Causes of Balancing Process Errors and How to Avoid Them
Track: Industry Segments, Powered by SEMA Councils and Networks
Series: Wheel and Tire Industry Insights, Powered by WTC

Understanding causes for vehicle vibration and the mechanics of balanced vs. unbalanced tires is critical for helping tire professionals ensure their customers have a smooth ride, even tire wear and proper tire weight distribution around their vehicle. Learn about the common causes of balancing process errors, how to avoid them, and best practices to minimize customer vibration complaints.

Click here to register.

Story written by Ashley Reyes for sema.org.

Update on SEMA’s Legal Fight Against EPA Overreach

By SEMA Washington, D.C., Staff

As previously reported, SEMA has intervened in an EPA enforcement case to protect the rights of racers.

The U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona, while acknowledging the fundamental issue raised by SEMA, declined to make a ruling in the lawsuit between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Gear Box Z. Inc. (GBZ). While pursuing GBZ for tampering allegations, the EPA made statements in its court filings that the Clean Air Act (CAA) does not allow a motor vehicle to be converted into a racing vehicle used solely for competition and that equipment installed to make the conversion is illegal. SEMA challenged this flawed interpretation of the CAA first made by the EPA in 2015 and now repeated in the court filing.

The Court ruled that the EPA produced evidence that the subject products sold by GBZ were being used on highway vehicles, with no evidence of use on motor sports vehicles. Therefore, lacking evidence of the converting of road vehicles to dedicated race cars, which would have necessitated the Court address the issue, the Court declined to rule on whether the CAA disallows conversions of street vehicles to dedicated racing machines.

While not settling the street-to-racecar conversion issue, SEMA’s filing of the amicus brief was impactful for several reasons. First, it demonstrates the need for the U.S. Congress to enact the “Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports Act” (RPM Act), bi-partisan legislation to clarify that it is legal to make such conversions and to produce, market and install racing equipment. Second, the Court’s opinion did offer some favorable language with the Court confirming that it is the EPA’s burden to produce evidence that emissions-related equipment is being used illegally on highway vehicles when making such a claim.

SEMA will continue to work tirelessly to settle the EPA’s overreach by passing the RPM Act.

Ask Congress to pass the RPM Act.

Younger Generation of Classic Car Enthusiasts, New Technology Pave Road for New Business Opportunities

DIAMOND CAR, CA (03.17.2021) – With more than 9.4 million pre-1990 vehicles estimated on the road today, more consumers and businesses report that they are modifying classic cars with modern parts and technology. While a significant number of consumers and businesses continue to restore classic cars to their original factory specifications, a growing number are customizing the vehicles to include upgraded engines with enhanced performance, increased efficiency, and modern-day comforts (a practice often referred to as “restomodding”).

The “Classic Cars, Modern Markets” report from SEMA Market Research reveals new data on market sizing, purchasing habits, and vehicle usage of classic car vehicle owners and explores how modern consumers feel about, work on, and engage with their fellow enthusiasts about classic vehicles.

“Classic cars and trucks have been a key part of the specialty automotive aftermarket since it began, and for many people who own older vehicles, fixing them up or modifying them into something new is a passion project that can span decades,” said SEMA Director of Market Research Gavin Knapp. “This report will help businesses understand this unique customer base, how to reach them, and where the current and future opportunities are for the vintage and automotive restoration aftermarket.”

The report, which researched classic car owners and businesses, found:

  • A growing number of businesses (62%) see restomodding on the rise and, on average, say that half the work they do on classics is part of a restomod job
  • Younger classic car owners are more likely to seek a restomod build, with 38% of owners under 45 going for a restomod, compared to 22% of older owners
  • Owners tend to view a classic as a long-term investment, with 44% saying they want to keep the vehicle forever
  • While 50% of owners use their classic vehicles for running errands, classic vehicles are much less likely to be used as commuter vehicles with 15% of classic car owners doing so (compared to 64% of the general population)
  • 80% percent of classic owners are comfortable doing at least some of the work on their vehicle on their own
  • Unrestored ‘60s muscle cars and pony cars remain popular barn finds among collectors, but the emerging market for ‘70s and ‘80s vehicles represent an important opportunity
  • Despite loving old-school cars, classic owners are not shy about going online to learn and shop for parts – especially younger owners

To learn more about the current state of the classic vehicle market and where the opportunity is for your business, download the “Classic Cars, Modern Markets” report for free today at www.sema.org/market-research.

SEMA Challenges EPA’s Motorsports Regulations in Court

DIAMOND BAR, CA (03.09.2021) – SEMA filed an amicus brief in a lawsuit between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Gear Box Z. Inc. (GBZ) arguing against the EPA’s contention that the Clean Air Act (CAA) does not allow a motor vehicle to be converted into a racing vehicle used solely for competition. In the lawsuit, the EPA asserts that once a vehicle has been certified as a street vehicle, it cannot be converted into a racing vehicle even if that vehicle is trailered to the track and is never driven on public roads.

In its brief, SEMA asserts that the Clean Air Act does not apply to converted street vehicles used exclusively on the track. SEMA states that “the agency’s interpretation breaks from the plain language of the CAA, the legislative history, and EPA’s regulations and guidance.” The amicus brief notes that the EPA’s position contradicts its longstanding guidance and regulations and that the EPA previously stated that it “has no interest in vehicles that begin their existence as normal, EPA-certified production vehicles used on public roads and are then permanently converted to sanctioned competition-use only vehicles.”

The EPA first pursued this controversial interpretation of the CAA as part of a 2015 draft rulemaking, but it withdrew the provision following a huge public outcry initiated by SEMA. The following year, members of Congress introduced SEMA-sponsored legislation to confirm what had already been understood for the previous 45 years, that the Clean Air Act does not apply to vehicles modified for racing use only. The “Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports Act” (RPM Act) is bi-partisan legislation that clarifies that it is legal to make emissions-related changes to a street vehicle for the purpose of converting it into a dedicated racecar. It also confirms that it is legal to produce, market and install racing equipment. The RPM Act will require the voice and support of every racing enthusiast together with the industry and SEMA as we fight to pass this important legislation to counter EPA overreach.

“The recent lawsuit reinforces the importance of the RPM Act,” said Daniel Ingber, SEMA Vice President of Legal and Government Affairs. “The legislation is consistent with the intention of the Clean Air Act and the way it was interpreted for decades. It is vital that Congress pass the RPM Act to put an end to EPA overreach. SEMA remains committed to passing this important legislation.”

The GBZ case is before the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona. SEMA will continue to fight the EPA’s flawed interpretation in court while urging the U.S. Congress to end the debate by enacting the RPM Act.

Click here for details about the RPM Act.

Click here for a copy of SEMA’s amicus brief.

Visit sema.org for more.

SEMA News 35 Under 35 Nominations Open – Honor Your Company’s Rising Star

DIAMOND BAR, CA (03.01.2021) – The September 2021 issue of SEMA News will highlight rising stars in the automotive aftermarket industry who are age 35 and younger. If you know a leader in that age range as of September 1, 2021—whether they are in manufacturing and design, marketing, retail, events and media, or distribution—we would like to hear from you.

Many SEMA members are currently working with creative young professionals who are already industry trailblazers. They may have played key roles in leveraging new and emerging technologies with a traditional automotive aftermarket business to expand company reach, improve product development, energize marketing efforts or upgrade customer interaction.

They could be budding talents at an established company, entrepreneurs building their own brands or innovators who have launched companies that might become big names in the future. What they all will have in common are fresh ideas, enthusiasm, charisma and the drive to succeed.

Nominate a candidate now for the 2021 SEMA News 35 Under 35. Nominations are due May 31.

SEMA News looks for candidates drawn from diverse industry segments who are already making a significant impact through their leadership within their organizations or businesses. Entrepreneurship, commitment, insight, innovation, integrity, responsibility, demonstrated skill, involvement and success within the marketplace weigh heavily in the decision-making process. We’ll honor the winners in the September issue of SEMA News and on www.sema.org.

2021 SEMA Hall of Fame Nominations Now Open

DIAMOND BAR, CA (01.27.2021) – The Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) is accepting nominations for its Hall of Fame at www.sema.org/hof

Established in 1969, the SEMA Hall of Fame recognizes people who have contributed a significant body of work to the industry over a long period of time and is the most prestigious award presented to an individual by the association. It is designed to honor the leaders, innovators, creators, and enthusiasts who transformed small, burgeoning businesses into an industry worth more than $46.2 billion annually.

To nominate an individual who epitomizes the essence of ingenuity in action, visit www.sema.org/hof before the deadline on Friday, March 19.

To see the complete list of SEMA Hall of Fame Members, click here.

To learn more about the SEMA Hall of Fame and for a list of inductees, contact Lindsay Bianco at lindsayb@sema.org or 909-978-6692.

Visit sema.org for more.

SEMA Accepting Scholarship and Loan Forgiveness Applications

DIAMOND BAR, CA (01.07.2021) – SEMA is now accepting applications for the 2021 SEMA Memorial Scholarship and Loan Forgiveness Program at www.sema.org/scholarships. Scholarships are available to students pursuing a degree or certification that leads to a career in the automotive industry, and loan forgiveness is available to employees of SEMA-member companies.

Current students and recent graduates who are paying off student loans may now apply for the 2021 SEMA Memorial Scholarship Fund, which helps support the future leaders of the automotive aftermarket industry.

“It’s no secret that this past year has had its challenges. Now more than ever, SEMA is available to help support future industry innovators by providing financial assistance to current students and recent graduates who have outstanding student debt,” said SEMA Senior Manager of Professional Development Gary Vigil. “There are thousands of talented, hard-working individuals seeking careers in the automotive aftermarket. The SEMA Scholarship is designed to support this next generation and allow them to focus on their studies and work, rather than be burdened with tuition costs. The Loan Forgiveness program is intended to provide financial assistance to employees of SEMA member companies with outstanding student loans.”

Awards of up to $5,000 are available to qualified individuals. Complete details and the online application are available until March 1, 2021, at www.sema.org/scholarships.

For more information, contact SEMA Project Manager, Member Services Byron Bergmann at 909-378-4859 or byronb@sema.org.

SEMA Industry Indicators: U.S. Economy Continues to Recover, But Growth is Slowing

LONG BEACH, CA (12.24.2020) – The end of 2020 is finally here. While the economy continues to recover, growth is slowing as COVID-19 cases rise across the country. There is still significant uncertainty moving into 2021 that makes it difficult to predict the long-term economic outlook, but there is optimism as vaccines are beginning to roll out.

A key bright spot in the economic recovery has been the auto sector, which has outpaced many other industries. Overall, the auto industry has brought nearly 80% of the jobs it has lost over the last year.

Want more information on the trends affecting the specialty-equipment industry? Check out the “SEMA Industry Indicators” report each month to learn how movements in the broader economy may impact your business strategy. In this report, published monthly, you’ll find:

  • Overall Economic Outlook
  • New Vehicle Sales and Statistics on Auto Parts Production
  • Consumer Sentiment and Spending
  • Economic Growth and Unemployment
  • Other Important Industry Insights

Download the December “SEMA Industry Indicators” report for free today at www.sema.org/research.

Article written by Kyle Cheng

SEMA “She Is” Spotlight: Oracle Lighting’s CEO Tiffanie Hartenstein on Growing a Successful Business

The SEMA Businesswomen’s Network (SBN) named Tiffanie Hartenstein as this week’s #SheIsSEMA Spotlight Member. Hartenstein is the CEO of Oracle Lighting, which manufactures designer lighting products and technologies for the automotive powersports, motorcycle and marine markets.

SEMA: What is most challenging part of running your business or job?

TH: Keeping our teams motivated and communication flowing throughout all departments. We are lucky to have top-notch staff this year, which makes it a bit easier. Keeping our team’s morale high is key to providing the best service possible to our customers.

SEMA: How many years have you been in the industry and what was your first industry job?

TH: This was my first industry job. Our business was very small when it started so there were no titles. My husband, who founded Oracle Lighting, and I wore all the hats. We were sales, shipping, customer service, marketing, product development, all at once, between the two of us. Thankfully now we have a large and talented team of people who can take over each of these departments.

SEMA: What are three qualities that got you to where you are today? How have these qualities benefited you?

TH: Stamina, resilience and faith. Building and growing a successful business is a monumental task. The saying “heavy is the head that wears the crown” really fits how I felt over and over again during the past 15 years. Thankfully I have the stamina to stick through the difficulties and resiliency to bounce back if we take a hit. I have always carried unbreakable faith that our business will be successful. There is never any doubt that we cannot achieve each goal we set.

SEMA: Being a woman in the industry, what have been your biggest challenges and accomplishments? Do you have a specific situation that comes to mind?

TH: There have been many challenges as a woman in this male-dominated industry. I see these same struggles for the females in my sales and customer service team as well. Unfortunately, we come in contact with men who prefer to speak with another male, assuming that we cannot answer their question with the same depth of knowledge. Thanks to SBN pushing for female advocacy in our industry, I’ve seen this improving greatly in the past few years.  

SEMA: Who are your role models or mentors in the industry? How have they helped you along the way?

TH: I think Donna Foulger is a great role model in the industry. As the first female inducted into the SEMA Hall of Fame, her presence was felt as an important part of SEMA’s established growth. Her faith and dedication to build something that could last through generations is inspiring.

SEMA: Have you always wanted to work in the automotive industry? What keeps you here?

TH: As much as I love this industry, I didn’t know it until I was in it. The automotive enthusiast culture is fast-paced and ever-changing. I love the innovation and family feel of our industry.

Visit sema.org/sbn for more.

Story written by Ashley Reyes