Registration Now Open for SEMA Battle of the Builders

DIAMOND BAR, CA (06.11.2021) – Applications are now available for SEMA Battle of the Builders, the coveted competition that unites and recognizes SEMA Show vehicle builders. Open exclusively to those with a car or truck displayed at the annual trade show taking place in November, the competition celebrates and honors top builders for reaching what many consider to be the pinnacle of automotive events. The competition, now in its eighth year, tells the stories behind the builds, and it provides builders with additional exposure and a chance to be recognized and named as the industry’s top builder.

With vehicle space available only to qualified exhibitors, SEMA Show vehicle builders represent an elite group of individuals who have the distinction of superior craftsmanship and proven excellence. Exhibitors are highly selective on the vehicles and builders they choose to showcase their products, capture attention, and drive traffic to their booths.

Registration for SEMA Battle of the Builders, the coveted competition that unites and recognizes SEMA Show vehicle builders, is now open at www.semabotb.com.

“Exhibitors rely on vehicles at the SEMA Show to optimally showcase their products in use and generate buzz,” said Tom Gattuso, SEMA vice president of events. “When an exhibitor chooses to showcase a vehicle, whether it’s in their booth or elsewhere in the Show, that exhibitor is investing in the build and the builder. They’re choosing the best builders to represent their brands and tell their stories.”

The SEMA Battle of the Builders competition will award one winner in four different categories—Hot Rod, Truck/Off-Road, Import/Sport Compact, and Young Guns—before crowning an overall top builder during SEMA Ignited, the official SEMA Show after-party that takes place on Friday after the weeklong trade show ends.

Click here for the online application

As part of SEMA’s initiative to support and encourage the younger generation in the industry, the association will continue its SEMA Young Guns Regional Qualifiers. Applications for the Young Guns Regional Qualifiers are also available online, making the program open to builders who may not already have a vehicle displayed at the SEMA Show, provided they are 27 years and younger. Young Guns Regional Qualifier winners will receive an all-expenses-paid trip for two to the 2021 SEMA Show, transportation of the winner’s vehicle, a designated feature vehicle spot at the Show, and entry into the SEMA Battle of the Builders competition, where they will compete alongside established vehicle builders from the industry.

“Each year, we meet amazing young builders through the Young Guns Program,” said Gattuso. “It’s inspiring to witness the passion they have for all things car-related, and to see the industry embrace them as they build a network of contacts and connections that will fuel a lifelong career.”

To register, or for more information on the SEMA Battle of the Builders competition, log on to www.semabotb.com. The deadline to register is October 15.

Recently Released On-Demand Virtual Education for Aftermarket Professionals

DIAMOND BAR, CA (06.08.2021) – Available when you need them, where you need them; SEMA’s On-Demand Virtual Education library includes dozens of recorded sessions that SEMA members can access anytime, anywhere.

Below are newly added and popular recordings that are available. For a complete list of sessions and registration information for upcoming webinars, visit www.sema.org/virtual-education.

SEMA Industry Insight Series
The Growing Diversity of the Light Truck-Market, Powered by TORA
Truck and off-road professionals will be able to make more informed, strategic business decisions using new research on the vehicle landscape and trends facing the market for pickups, SUVs, CUVs and vans. Find out where sales are shifting toward and how this may impact aftermarket sales.

Team Management Series, Powered by SBN
Reducing Micromanagement and Increasing Employee Self Sufficiency
Learn about the dangers of micromanagement and how to increase employee self-sufficiency. During this webinar, Allison Harding from Vintage Air is joined by one of her personal mentors, Christine Ashmore from Morgan Stanley, as she shares tips for improving efficiency and productivity within work departments.

Wheel and Tire Industry Insights, Powered by WTC
Preparing for National Tire Safety Week
National Tire Safety Week, a consumer tire safety awareness campaign by the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association (USTMA), will take place June 28–July 4. Listen in as experts share important information that tire companies can use to participate in the campaign, prepare their staff and marketing in advance, and educate consumers on proper tire care and maintenance.

Track: Industry Segments, powered by SEMA Councils and Networks
More Than Just Jeeping: Other Ways People Go Off-Road
While Jeeps continue to dominate the off-road market, the growing popularity of overlanding and related outdoor activities represents a huge opportunity for companies to expand their selection and grow their businesses. Learn about the evolving landscape of the off-road market, the different ways people are going off road, and what related products businesses may want to consider.

For a complete list of sessions and registration information for upcoming webinars, visit www.sema.org/virtual-education.

New ADAS Webinar Series for All Aftermarket Parts Manufacturers and Installers

DIAMOND BAR, CA (06.02.2021) – SEMA members that manufacture or install products for Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS)-equipped vehicles are invited to join the SEMA Garage as they kick off a new three-part ADAS webinar series.

Ideal for businesses who manufacturer or install parts that alter a vehicles body, suspension, or wheels and tires, the series will cover ADAS technology, resources, and case studies, information on how ADAS systems work and how they are affected by various vehicle modifications or repairs.

During Part 1 “ADAS Technologies: Real-World Systems & Trends,” taking place June 16, at 11:00 a.m. (PDT), attendees will hear and learn from top industry experts as they provide a high-level look at current ADAS systems’ function, technology and trends.

Register for Part 1 – ADAS Technologies: Real-World Systems & Trends.

This article was written by Ashley Reyes for sema.org

SEMA News 35 Under 35: One Week Left to Submit Nominations

DIAMOND BAR, CA (05.24.2021) – 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.

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.

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

PowerBass Trips to the SEMA Garage Are Very Productive

DIAMOND BAR, CA (05.19.2021) – “It’s always a great day when we can spend time at the SEMA Garage in Diamond Bar. Their location is fairly close to the PowerBass HQ in Ontario so we make the trip frequently to get hands on with new and upcoming vehicles before they hit the market. It’s a great perk for being a SEMA Manufacturer Member. The time Dave Myers and I just spent at the SEMA Garage was very productive,” Erik Harbour, PowerBass VP of Product Development & Global Marketing stated.

During sessions at the SEMA Garage PowerBass staff has an opportunity to work with site engineers and employees of OEM’s like Nissan, Ford, Toyota, GM and More.

“Time spent at the SEMA Garage was very productive as we were working to bring the PowerBass OE Direct Fit Speakers to market,” Harbour added.

“Access to the SEMA Garage was very helpful as we developed the PowerBass Direct Fit replacement speakers like the OE652-GM 6 coaxial speakers,” Harbour stated.

Each year SEMA members introduce thousands of cutting-edge tools and accessories designed to add enjoyment to vehicle ownership. While some have universal fitments, many have model-specific applications that require significantly more research and development.

The SEMA Garage gives SEMA member businesses access to the special high-tech tools and equipment they need to get their products-whether a $10. set of wiper blades or a $10,000 engine modification-off the drawing board and into customer hands. It is the only known facility of its kind in the United States.

Covering 15,000 square feet and filled with nearly $2 million of equipment, the SEMA Garage includes all the tools specialty product developers could hope for and then some, including two vehicle lifts, a portable coordinate measuring machine (CMM) for 3D scanning, a 3D printer for fast prototyping, digital race car scales for the most precise vehicle weight and measurements, a dynamometer for precise emissions measurements and  more.

Visit semagarage.com and powerbassusa.com for more.

RPM Act Introduced in U.S. House of Representatives

WASHINGTON, DC (05.19.2021) – SEMA President & CEO Chris Kersting today commended U.S. Representatives Patrick McHenry (R-NC) and Raul Ruiz (D-CA) for introducing H.R. 3281, the Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports Act of 2021 (RPM Act). The bipartisan bill includes 48 original sponsors. The RPM Act protects Americans’ right to convert street vehicles into dedicated racecars and the motorsports-parts industry’s ability to sell products that enable racers to compete.

The RPM Act reverses the EPA’s interpretation that the Clean Air Act prohibits a motor vehicle designed for street use—including a car, truck, or motorcycle—to be converted into a dedicated racecar. This American tradition was unquestioned from 1970 until 2015 when the EPA took the position that converted vehicles must remain emissions-compliant, even though they are no longer driven on public streets or highways.

“SEMA looks forward to working with Congress to enact the RPM Act and make permanent the Clean Air Act’s original intention that race vehicle conversions are legal,” said Kersting. “We thank Representatives McHenry and Ruiz for standing up for racing and the motorsports parts industry by introducing a bipartisan bill to protect racing and the businesses that produce, install, and sell the parts that enable racers to compete.”

There has already been an unprecedented outpouring of support for the RPM Act this year, with Americans sending over 1.1 million letters asking Congress to pass the legislation. It is imperative that enthusiasts and motorsports businesses keep up this momentum by reminding their lawmakers in Washington, D.C., that they must act now to protect the right to convert a motor vehicle into a racecar.

“I am proud to support automobile racing and will work to ensure motorsports enthusiasts here in North Carolina and across the country can continue the time-honored tradition of modifying stock vehicles for competitive racing,” said Rep. Patrick McHenry. “I look forward to working with my colleagues to help ensure the RPM Act becomes law.”

“Growing up, I spent countless hours at the racetrack with my father,” said Rep. Raul Ruiz. “Racing has always been close to my heart. I am delighted to introduce the Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports (RPM) Act, which will keep our American tradition of vehicle racing alive and give enthusiasts and their children the same opportunity that I had to create memories at the racetrack.”

Motorsports competition involves tens of thousands of participants and vehicle owners each year, both amateur and professional. Retail sales of racing products make up a nearly $2 billion market annually. Most of the vehicles raced on the estimated 1,300 racetracks operating across the U.S. are converted vehicles that the EPA considers to be illegal.

It is important that members of Congress hear from the racing and automotive enthusiast communities about the importance of passing the RPM Act into law in 2021. To write a letter to your members of Congress, visit www.sema.org/rpm.

Diversity of Light-Truck Market Primes Automotive Aftermarket for Future Growth

DIAMOND BAR, CA (05.18.2021) – Following SEMA’s recent market research on the changing vehicle landscape, SEMA released a research report dedicated solely to the light-truck market. The 99-page study includes in-depth sales information for pickups, SUVs, CUVs, and vans, as well as aftermarket parts for these vehicles.

The new Light-Truck Market Snapshot from SEMA Market Research shows that in 2020 more than 90% of U.S. Ford, GM, and Stellantis (formerly FCA) vehicles sold were light trucks. Pickups remain a large part of the specialty automotive aftermarket and accounted for more than 30% of specialty-equipment part sales in 2019.

SEMA’s new Light-Truck Market Snapshot report includes in-depth sales information for pickups, SUVs, CUVs, and vans, as well as aftermarket parts for these vehicles.

CUVs have not been fully embraced by specialty-equipment consumers and businesses but remain a big part of the overall light-truck market. They have become the fastest-selling vehicle segment in the United States, and also a very fragmented one with more than 170 CUV models projected to be sold from 2021-2028.

The report helps businesses understand the overall truck market and includes a snapshot of trends for the light-truck, off-road, overland, outdoor recreation, powertrain, and technology segments.

“Light trucks are used for a wide variety of activities and continue to be shaped by trends in vehicle sales, technology, and consumer behavior,” said SEMA Director of Market Research Gavin Knapp. “We anticipate this growth to continue over the next decade as vehicle manufacturers prioritize their light-truck models.”

Trends in powertrains and vehicle technology are also shaping the light-truck market:

  • Engines are getting smaller overall: 52% of pre-1990 light trucks have a 5L or larger engine, compared with 22% of 2010 and newer trucks
  • Forced induction is becoming more common, especially on smaller engines. Less than 1% of pre-1990 light trucks have a turbocharger or supercharger, but 22% of 2010 and newer trucks come with some sort of forced induction
  • Alternative fuels like hybrid or electric powertrains have been slower to catch on with trucks than with cars, but they are coming — several electric trucks have been announced in recent years, including an all-electric Jeep Wrangler and several electric pickups
  • New-vehicle technologies like ADAS are also becoming more common and may affect how specialty truck parts are designed, produced, and installed

To learn more about the evolving diversity of the light-truck market and find insights that can help your business succeed, download the SEMA Light-Truck Market Snapshot for free today at www.sema.org/research

2021 SEMA Hall of Fame Inductees Announced

Jessi Combs, Rick Love, Bob Moore, and Carl Schiefer will be honored as new SEMA Hall of Fame members during the 2021 SEMA Installation & Gala on July 30.

DIAMOND BAR, CA (05.07.2021) – Four dedicated individuals who contributed to and have had an impactful influence on the automotive specialty equipment industry are being honored as new SEMA Hall of Fame members. They will join an elite group of icons who comprise the SEMA Hall of Fame, as they are officially inducted at the SEMA Installation & Gala on July 30 in Las Vegas, Nev.

The four newest SEMA Hall of Fame members are Jessi Combs, Rick Love, Bob Moore, and Carl Schiefer.

Jessi Combs

Jessi Combs: Jessi Combs built an accomplished career in the automotive industry as the host of several television programs, founder of a variety of businesses, and an accomplished fabricator and racecar driver. With an infectious passion and youthful enthusiasm for the industry, Combs served as a host for many SEMA events, including the SEMA Installation & Gala and the SEMA Awards Banquet at the SEMA Show. As a lead in the historic 2012 SEMA Businesswomen’s Network (SBN) All-Female Ford Mustang Build, Combs served as a role-model for women in the industry and continued to inspire women through the launch of The Real Deal, a collaboration with fellow SBN member Theresa Contreras designed to inspire confidence, break stereotypes, and motivate other women to pursue their passions. In 2019, Combs set a land speed record for women, 522.783 mph, on a dry lake bed in Oregon – a feat that resulted in an accident that led to her untimely death at the age of 39.

Rick Love

Rick Love: While freelancing as a writer/photographer for Rodder’s Digest magazine in 1982, Rick Love created a home workshop and leaned on his electronics degree to do wiring and air conditioning installations for other hot rodders. It was this A/C work that caught the attention of SEMA Hall of Famer and founder of Vintage Air Jack Chisenhall. Chisenhall asked Love to assist the company at rodding events, and continued to promote him over the years to his current position of president, in charge of overseeing the day-to-day operations of the entire company. Despite his busy schedule at Vintage Air, Love never wavers to volunteer his time, expertise, and energy to helping the industry. As a true car guy, he advocates for the industry. Having served multiple terms as chairman of the SEMA Hot Rod Industry Alliance (HRIA), Love is an ambassador for SEMA and constantly recruits and encourages businesses to get involved.

Bob Moore

Bob Moore: Bob Moore appropriately authored a monthly column in Aftermarket Business magazine titled “Ahead of the Curve.” As electronic catalogs evolved and the Internet began to dominate the way consumers researched and purchased products in the early 2000s, Moore was a pioneer in establishing standards for product data in the automotive aftermarket. As a SEMA Board Member and the co-founder and chairman of the SEMA Business Technology Committee (which has evolved to what is now the SEMA Data Co-op), Moore was instrumental in creating standardized data for the specialty-equipment industry. He spent years scrutinizing the specialty-equipment industry’s needs to determine the attributes that consumers look for that will help businesses sell more products, resulting in the first-ever one-stop product information data pool. Moore was awarded the 2010 SEMA Chairman’s Service Award from then-Chairman of the Board Rick Rollins, who noted, “We are fortunate to have someone with his leadership and determination driving some of our industry’s most critical initiatives.”

Carl Schiefer

Carl Schiefer: As the son of the first SEMA Hall of Fame recipient Paul Scheifer, Carl Schiefer built a legacy of his own by founding one of the first marketing agencies dedicated to automotive brands. Schiefer Media was created in 1985 as an enthusiast media agency with an original focus on automotive aftermarket and related enthusiast categories. With an impressive list of clients, including Edelbrock, Mother’s, Bilstein, and Royal Purple, Scheifer Media was instrumental in bringing motorsports brands to the mainstream public. He initiated advertising for automotive brands on television – a practice that may seem standard today, but was unusual at the time and significantly expanded market reach to a nationwide audience. Perhaps what sets Carl apart from other marketers is his passion for the industry; Carl raced Top Gas and Top Fuel dragsters amongst the greats, including Don Garlits, Tommy Ivo, and the Smothers Brothers. Although retired from Schiefer Media, the agency continues to operate as SCS, with Carl’s son James as CEO.

In addition to formally introducing Combs, Love, Moore, and Schiefer as SEMA Hall of Fame members during the 2021 SEMA Installation & Gala, the annual event on July 30 will include recognitions of the newly elected and the outgoing SEMA Board members.

All SEMA members and industry professionals are invited to join the celebration and can purchase tickets at www.sema.org/gala.

SEMA Doubles Down on Commitment to Help Auto Parts Manufacturers Meet CARB, EPA Compliance

DIAMOND BAR, CA (04.30.2021) – SEMA is advancing its commitment to help automotive aftermarket parts manufacturers meet established standards for emissions compliance by investing millions of dollars into a second SEMA Garage Emissions Compliance Center.

In 2014, SEMA established a groundbreaking SEMA Garage Emissions Compliance Center in Southern California. The state-of-the-art facility features high-tech equipment, including a CARB-recognized lab that has helped hundreds of SEMA manufacturers—more than 100 of which have secured 431 CARB Executive Orders (EO) through the SEMA Garage. The Center is currently operating two full shifts, and demand from manufacturers seeking to obtain compliance remains at an all-time high.

To help meet the compliance needs of the $46.2 billion automotive aftermarket parts industry, SEMA recently announced the purchase of a building just outside Detroit that will be used as a second SEMA Garage Emissions Compliance Center. At 45,000-sq.-ft., the Detroit facility is three times the size of the existing SEMA Garage in California and will feature millions of dollars of new OEM-quality tools and equipment, including a CARB-recognized testing lab, as well as an Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) Research and Development Center.

“The SEMA Garage Emissions Compliance Center sets out to remove any mystery or confusion over the rules and regulations related to emissions compliance,” said Mike Spagnola, SEMA vice president of OEM relations and product development. “Since opening the Southern California SEMA Garage seven years ago, automotive aftermarket parts manufacturers have poured through our doors seeking help with the complicated and confusing compliance requirements.”

With the Detroit SEMA Garage opening in early 2022, SEMA will help dramatically more members obtain CARB and EPA compliance, as well as shorten the processing time so that manufacturers remain competitive. Additionally, the Detroit Garage is expected to continue, and increase, the long-standing tradition of collaboration between OEMs and the aftermarket industry for the benefit of the consumer experience.

“The California Air Resources Board applauds SEMA for investing in this second testing and resource facility designed expressly for the performance aftermarket industry,” stated Annette Hebert, California Air Resources Board deputy executive officer. “We appreciate SEMA’s commitment to provide its members with the tools and services needed to ensure that products sold for California vehicles meet our requirements. CARB looks forward to our continued communication and cooperation with SEMA in this important area.”

“I congratulate SEMA for continuing to be a resource for the industry and setting the example for compliance,” said California State Senator Josh Newman (D-Fullerton). “I have visited and continue to support the SEMA Garage in Diamond Bar, and I am proud that SEMA is opening this new facility, which extends the excellent work done by the folks in Diamond Bar.”

Like the SEMA Garage in Southern California, the Detroit Garage will hire and train staff dedicated solely to helping aftermarket parts manufacturers understand and navigate the emissions-compliance process. Whereas manufacturers previously reported a significant delay to obtain a CARB EO, manufacturers working through the SEMA Garage average about four months.

“While we have made great strides towards reducing emissions from motor vehicles, the aftermarket industry is thriving,” said California State Assembly Member Phillip Chen (R-Yorba Linda). “The new SEMA Compliance Center will help make it possible for the industry—particularly small businesses—to continue to meet California’s stringent air-quality standards and succeed in today’s regulatory environment.”

Although there are a handful of other CARB-recognized test labs throughout the country that offer similar services, many manufacturers choose to go through the SEMA Garage because SEMA offers its members the benefits of aiding with the application process. Annually, SEMA submits more than 200 aftermarket product applications to CARB’s Aftermarket Parts Division, representing approximately 50% of the volume received. By working closely with CARB and EPA throughout the year, SEMA staff are intimately familiar with CARB EO requirements and able to successfully assist manufacturers with the entire process, from application to testing.

“By meeting regularly and communicating openly with regulators, we are able to better understand what their concerns are and develop programs that will ultimately help manufacturers get their products to market faster,” said Spagnola. “We value and appreciate the collaborative relationship we have with CARB and EPA.”

Visit semagarage.com for more.

Iconic SEMA Celebration Set for Las Vegas in July

DIAMOND BAR, CA (04.23.2021) – SEMA leadership, volunteers, and industry icons will gather in Las Vegas for the 2021 SEMA Installation & Gala on Friday, July 30.

The SEMA Installation & Gala is a long-established tradition where individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to the industry are recognized and celebrated. Since 1976, the SEMA Gala has served as a formal gathering where new SEMA Hall of Fame inductees are introduced, incoming Board of Directors are sworn in, and outgoing Board of Directors are honored.

Individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to the industry will be recognized and celebrated on July 30 during the SEMA Installation & Gala. The annual event will be held in the new West Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center.

This year’s event will take place for the first time in Las Vegas, Nevada. Specifically, the event will be held in the new West Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center, the same facility where thousands of industry professionals will gather for the 2021 SEMA Show in November.

“SEMA has a deep history and connection with the city of Las Vegas,” said Chris Kersting, SEMA president and CEO. “We could not be more excited about celebrating the industry in Las Vegas, and christening the West Hall with such a noteworthy event.”

The SEMA Installation & Gala will be one of the first events held in the West Hall since construction of the 1.4 million-square-foot facility was completed in January. The event, which is expected to include about 400 individuals, will also mark SEMA’s first mass gathering to take place in more than a year.

“I look forward to the SEMA Gala each year – even more so this year than any other year since it will be a reunion for our industry’s friends and family,” said Kersting. “The SEMA Installation Gala is important to the association, the members, and the industry, and it’s about much more than just introducing new Hall of Fame members or recognizing our Board of Directors. The event is about community, family and celebration, with people who share a common passion and love for the industry.”

Tickets to the 2021 SEMA Installation & Gala are available to all SEMA members and can be purchased at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2021-sema-installation-and-gala-tickets-92403153319.

Details about the honorees (new Hall of Fame members and incoming Board of Directors) will be announced in May.