Restylers: Master Your Craft at PRO’s Installer Training on August 18

DIAMOND BAR, CA (08.11.22) – Technicians, installers, shop management and shop owners still have time to sign up for a one-day installer training and general membership meeting, hosted by the SEMA Professional Restylers Organization (PRO).

Taking place at Auto Image in Plainwell, Michigan, August 18, 2022, the training is the only program of its kind where technicians and shop owners connect directly with accessory manufacturers and get educated on industry standards and installation best practices.

This year’s event will include trainings from Katzkin, Llumar, Brandmotion, Voxx and Champion Auto.

If you are a shop owner or installer, you are invited to sign up for the free event to:    

  • Get facetime with accessory manufacturers in an intimate setting.
  • Level up your product knowledge and invest in your team.
  • Learn tricks of the trade from manufacturers to get a competitive edge.
  • Network and learn in a real shop environment instead of your typical trade show.
  • Explore revenue opportunities and get introduced to products you may not know.
  • Meet and learn from other shop owners and sales personal throughout the area.

All attendees are also invited to attend a PRO networking event at Old Burdick’s in Kalamazoo from 7:00 p.m.–9:00 p.m. the same evening, as well as attend a Cars and Coffee at the SEMA Garage Detroit on August 19 and stay for the Woodward Dream Cruise on August 20. Auto Image is a two-hour drive from SEMA Garage Detroit and the Woodward Dream Cruise.

Don’t wait. Save your seat by clicking here

SEMA to Recognize Social Media Creators Who Have Helped Build Enthusiasm for Car Culture with Automotive Influencer of the Year Award

DIAMOND BAR, CA (08.09.22) – SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) announces a new program that recognizes content creators and social media influencers who have significantly impacted the automotive industry and car culture. The new SEMA Automotive Influencer of the Year award will be presented at the 2022 SEMA Show Industry Awards Banquet to honor an influencer who has built an engaged audience and uses his or her platform to positively impact car enthusiasts of all ages.

The award is a result of the rise and impact of content creators and social media influencers on the industry. Finalists for the award will be selected based on their presence and influence across social media channels, including YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and will be recognized for the first time at the SEMA Industry Awards Banquet.

“So many automotive influencers have built up a tremendous voice to help promote, shape, and protect the automotive industry,” said SEMA Chairman James Lawrence. “Each of them has the ability to share their stories and connect with their fans in a unique and impactful way. They also generate tons of excitement and enthusiasm for the automotive industry. They are a big part of being an automotive enthusiast today, and it’s time we recognized them for their contributions.”

Fueled by the SEMA Show’s energy and passion, hundreds of influencers head to Las Vegas each year during the first week of November to connect with manufacturers and builders, learn about new products, witness vehicle unveilings, and attend industry gatherings while sharing their experiences for the world to see.

Five finalists for the Automotive Influencer of the Year award will be announced in September and then honored on-stage at the 2022 SEMA Show Industry Awards Banquet in November. As part of the Banquet’s celebratory recognition and in front of the industry’s most involved influential leaders, videos will play to highlight each finalists’ positive impact and pay tribute to their unwavering passion for the automotive culture before a final winner is revealed.

“Automotive influencers embody the passion that makes being a car person so special,” continued Lawrence. “The content they create is a great representation of what car culture is all about.”

Finalists and the winner will be based on their creativity of original, entertaining, and informative automotive media content. Qualifications also include a loyal and substantial following of passionate and engaged automotive enthusiasts and having used a social media platform to promote positive automotive content that has benefited the automotive aftermarket and culture.

To submit a recommendation or for more information on the award, visit www.sema.org/influencer-of-the-year.

SEMA High School Vehicle Builds Raise More Than $148K for Youth Initiatives

DIAMOND BAR, CA (08.05.22) – Three customized third-generation Toyota 4Runners and two Jeep Wrangler TJs were sold via auction as part of SEMA High School Vehicle Build Program in late July. All five builds, which were built by high-school students with the help and direction of their shop teachers, raised a grand combined total of $148,250 to benefit automotive youth engagement initiatives through SEMA.

John Hersey’s ’97 Toyota 4Runner

The builds were auctioned through program partner Bring a Trailer (BaT)—an online auction marketplace for buying and selling special vehicles. One vehicle was released a day for five consecutive days and held a seven-day auction life in what was called the “SEMA Week of Customs.”  

Career Center High School’s ’01 Jeep Wrangler TJ

“Bring a Trailer is proud to support this SEMA program and all the schools and students involved,” said Randy Nonnenberg, co-founder and president of Bring a Trailer. “Many of us at BaT started wrenching on cars at high-school age, and it is important to invest in those who are just getting started at that age today. The proceeds from these vehicles will play a pivotal role in inspiring even more youth to preserve and promote this amazing hobby.”

OPS Career Center’s ’96 Toyota 4Runner

Participating schools were John Hersey High School, Arlington Heights, Illinois; Career Center High School, Winston Salem, North Carolina.; OPS Career Center, Omaha, Nebraska; Comstock High School, Kalamazoo, Michigan; and Santa Fe ECO, Santa Fe, New Mexico. Fifty-three automotive aftermarket companies sponsored parts for the builds, which gave students real-world, hands-on auto-tech skills and lessons on the manufacturers’ products.  

Santa Fe ECO’s ’02 Jeep Wrangler TJ

“The students not only learned new skills but were taught to develop a cohesive plan for each vehicle and follow it out to execution,” said Byron Bergmann, project manager, member services at SEMA. “Each school should be extremely proud of their work and for going above and beyond to create a one-of-a-kind vehicle.”  

Comstock HS’ ’97 Toyota 4Runner

Ten vehicles were selected to participate in the 2020 program, which was put on hold due to COVID-19 before resuming earlier this year.

To learn more about the SEMA High School Vehicle Program and the five remaining student builds set to auction off in late September, visit www.sema.org/student-builds.

Connect with Off-Road Racer Sara Price During SBN’s Live Chat

DIAMOND BAR, CA (08.02.22) – SEMA members will be able to connect with notable off-road racer, entrepreneur and professional stuntwoman Sara Price during a Facebook and Instagram live chat on Wednesday, August 3, at 12:00 p.m. (PDT).

Sara Price was the first factory-supported female racer under Monster Energy Kawasaki, as well as an X-Games medalist.

Named the 2016 Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame Rising Star, Price’s racing career is unlike any other. A versatile competitor, she was the first factory-supported female racer under Monster Energy Kawasaki, as well as an X-Games medalist. She has also competed in a vast array of competitions, and has many wins under her belt for motocross, rallying, the X Games and Stadium Super Trucks. Today, Sara can be found competing with RPM Offroad in a Trophy Truck Spec. in Baja, Mexico, in the SCORE International Desert Series.  

Sara Price was the first factory-supported female racer under Monster Energy Kawasaki, as well as an X-Games medalist.

Tune into the SBN Facebook page where you will have the exclusive opportunity to ask Price questions on her career accomplishments, anecdotes and the challenges she’s overcome.  

Live Chat Location: SBN Facebook page and SBN Instagram page (@sbn_sema).

RSVP Now to Attend the SEMA Garage Grand Opening, August 18

DIAMOND BAR, CA (07.29.22) – The grand opening of the SEMA Garage Detroit will be held Thursday, August 18, from 5:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m. (EDT), in the new facility at 14655 Jib St., Plymouth, MI 48170.

Be one of the first to view this state-of-the-art facility that will bring automotive aftermarket products to market even faster. Attendees will have the opportunity to explore all the innovative services the new SEMA Garage Detroit will offer and tour the brand-new facility while enjoying food, drinks, music, giveaways and more.

RSVP by August 1 to reserve your spot

Visit www.semagarage.com for more.

Legend Richard Petty Visits Capital Hill With SEMA to Advocate for the RPM Act

DIAMOND BAR, CA (07.26.22) – On Tuesday, July 19, “The King” Richard Petty joined SEMA CEO Mike Spagnola in the nation’s capital to advocate for Congress to pass the Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports Act (RPM Act). The bipartisan bill (H.R. 3281/S. 2736) 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.

Like most NASCAR drivers, Petty competed in racecars that started out as street-legal vehicles. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) maintains the position that such modified race vehicles are not legal under the Clean Air Act, threatening many classes of racing along with an industry that employs tens of thousands of Americans and contributes more than $2 billion to the U.S. economy each year.

Petty and Spagnola sat down with key members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives to advocate for the interests of racers, enthusiasts, builders, tracks, sanctioning organizations and businesses, while also looking to gain stronger congressional support to protect one of America’s oldest pastimes and hobbies: motor-vehicle racing. In an effort to curtail the EPA’s overreaching and extreme enforcement of the Clean Air Act, Petty and Spagnola appeared in Washington, D.C., to push for passage of the RPM Act, which awaits committee action in the House of Representatives and Senate.

“The EPA is overstepping its jurisdiction and penalizing small motorsports parts businesses,” said Petty. “The RPM Act is essential to the racing industry and protecting the careers of young racers all over the country. During most of my racing career, my fellow NASCAR drivers and I competed in racecars that started out at as street-legal vehicles.”

Petty and SEMA met with several key congressional members to discuss the importance of the bipartisan RPM Act. Meetings included Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), RPM Act lead sponsor; Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC), RPM Act original cosponsor; Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), Senate Republican Conference Chairman and RPM Act cosponsor; Indiana Sens. Todd Young (R-IN) and Mike Braun (R-IN), RPM Act cosponsors; Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), RPM Act original cosponsor; House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA); House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA); Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC), RPM Act lead sponsor; Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC), RPM Act lead Republican cosponsor; and RPM Act original cosponsors Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), Rep. Ted Budd (R-NC), Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-CA), and Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL).

The RPM Act reverses the EPA’s interpretation that the Clean Air Act does not allow 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 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.

“The RPM Act will save the livelihood of thousands of Americans, including many young racecar drivers,” said Spagnola. “SEMA is dedicated to ensuring our industry remains viable. Racers and the businesses that make motorsports possible deserve clarity in federal law that protects the ability to convert street vehicles into dedicated racecars and sell products for these track vehicles without fear of enforcement.”

Both Petty and Spagnola were optimistic about their meetings with key RPM Act supporters in Congress. “Motorsports has many strong allies in Congress. It was valuable for Mike and me to sit down with these lawmakers to discuss how we can work together to pass the RPM Act this year,” shared Petty.

Watch the video here.

For more information visit www.saveourracecars.com.

Entrepreneurs and Innovators of Automotive Products Vie for $92,000 SEMA Launch Pad Prize Package

DIAMOND BAR, CA (07.22.22) – Fifteen entrepreneurs and small business leaders recently gathered at the SEMA Garage in Diamond Bar, Calif., to pitch their automotive-related products for a chance to win prizes, cash, and business support as part of the 10th annual SEMA Launch Pad competition.

The 15 semifinalists who were chosen from a vast array of applicants presented impressive sales pitches, interactive demonstrations, amazing product innovations, and answered tough questions from four massively successful industry leaders serving as this year’s Launch Pad judging panel: Chip Foose (Foose Design), Jared Hare (Addictive Desert Designs), Myles Kovacs (TIS Wheels), and Alex Parker (Redline Detection). The judges spent hours carefully listening, learning, and evaluating the diverse products that included custom accessories and tools, performance aftermarket products, tire kits, retrofit kits, and mobile apps for the automotive community. Products also included those targeting the growing electric vehicle (EV) community and demands related to advanced driver assist systems (ADAS).

From left, Jared Hare, Myles Kovacs, Chip Foose, and Alex Parker recently listened to product pitches from the 15 semifinalists in this year’s SEMA Launch Pad competition at the SEMA Garage.

“This year’s SEMA Launch Pad competition is fierce,” said Launch Pad judge Parker. “The judges were blown away by the level of innovation, creativity, and sheer grit that these competitors brought. Their passion and their products are so inspirational, and each of these competitors should be very proud.”

The 2022 SEMA Launch Pad semifinalists who recently pitched their products are:

• Fabian Araujo, COO, Armadillo Designs Inc.
Armadillo Shell: Camper shell with a retractable roof aimed primarily at the construction industry and for outdoor enthusiasts.

• Andrew Auble, President/Co-founder, GlueTread
Sidewall Repair Kits: Kit that allows consumers to repair the sidewall of their off-road tires without removing the tire from the vehicle.

• Robert Carale, Founder, Airflex Tire Inflator Systems
Automatic Tire Inflator: An aftermarket adapter system that can be installed between a rotor and a wheel to allow air from an onboard compressor to inflate and deflate tires while a vehicle is moving.

• Jesse Freeman, CEO, True Blue Motorsport
6 Speed Automatic Transmission Retrofit Kit: System used to retrofit older-model RWD and 4WD vehicles with small transmission tunnels with a 6-speed automatic.

• Dustin Golat, Co-owner, GolaTTaylor Tools
Thread Wizard: Tool that removes all grime, dirt, surface rust, and fouling from a bolt in a fraction of the time when compared to traditional methods.

• Jake Hamann, Founder and CEO, Autix Automotive Inc.
Autix: Platform dedicated to highlighting not just a vehicle, but the owner behind the wheel, their unique story, and a curated value metric for their specialty ride.

• Jacob Hawksworth, CEO, Hypercraft
Hyper-Pack: Modular EV battery pack system that allows builders to easily configure a custom high-voltage battery system for their electric vehicle project.

• Conrad Mohr IV, CEO, ACME HPL
ACME Big Stick Traction Enhancement Module: Rear suspension module that rearranges factory IRS into a 4-link suspension for better traction and adjustability on Dodge/Mopar performance vehicles.

• Susan Pieper, Founder and CEO, DMOS Collective Inc.
Stealth and Delta Car Shovels: Premium indestructible shovels that are easy to stow and mount on various vehicle racks and platforms.

• Frank Terlep, Co-founder and CEO, Auto Techcelerators LLC
Test Drive CoPilot Technology Platform: System designed to help properly perform, document, and invoice for ADAS safety system verification testing, dynamic calibrations, seat belt function tests, and more.

• Irvin Vance, Founder, Vance Product Design LLC
Quick Lift Engine Stand: Tool that gives users the ability to lift an engine without the use of an engine crane for inspection, repair, or modifications.

• Daniel Whittington, Owner, VenomAire LLC
Smart Air Intakes: Air intake that uses a patented Force Air Induction (FAI) technology to improve air intake stability for volumetric efficiency.

• Andrew Wiess, President, ROV LLC
Truck Trolley: Roller tray accessory that improves the convenience and accessibility of truck beds by allowing users access to items that would normally be a challenge to reach.

• Kevin Robinson, President, TRAC LLC
TRAC Tire Jack: Tool designed to make removing or installing a wheel/tire from a vehicle safer, simpler, and easier.

• Kai Tan, CEO, RevMatch LLC
RevMatch Smartphone App: Digital app that allows gearheads the ability to manage vehicle projects from end-to-end with real-time parts data and inspirational content, all in the palm of their hands.

Each semifinalist will receive a one-year SEMA membership, a complimentary booth in the SEMA Launch Pad Pavilion at the 2022 SEMA Show in November, as well as other items totaling to a prize package valued at $4,000. Five finalists, who will be announced later this year, will advance to pitch their products at the 2022 SEMA Show, where they will compete for a grand prize that includes free advertising space in SEMA News, use of the services from the SEMA Garage, discounts on SEMA Data, and thousands of dollars in cash for a total value of up to $92,000.

The competition will be featured in a nationwide TV special airing after the SEMA Show. To learn more about SEMA Launch Pad, including details on the 15 semifinalists, visit www.sema.org/launchpad.

BaT Auctions Presents: SEMA Student Builds

As part of an ongoing partnership with SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association), BaT is excited to auction a collection of 4x4s modified by automotive shop classes participating in SEMA’s High School Vehicle Build Program. This year’s builds are particularly special, as they were initiated in January 2020 but were delayed through lockdowns and school closings. Because of those delays, the program offered the hundreds of students who contributed to the builds the opportunity to receive hands-on, in-person instruction and training during a time when much of their learning had moved online.

The platforms for this year’s builds are five TJ-generation Jeep Wranglers and five 3rd-generation Toyota 4Runners. Aftermarket components were donated by dozens of manufacturers, including Warn, Skyjacker, ARB, Rancho, ICON, Rugged Ridge, and True North Fabrications, to name just a few. We’ll be auctioning the vehicles in two groups, with the first group of auctions beginning next week. A second group will hit the site in October. All of the vehicles are offered at no reserve and carry clean titles listing SEMA as the owner.

Proceeds from the auctions will be reinvested back into the program and other SEMA Education initiatives. BaT buyers’ fees will be donated to the SEMA Scholarship Fund, a 501(c)(3) charity.

Vehicles in the first group are listed below and will be updated with live links as auctions go live.

  • 1997 Toyota 4Runner – John Hersey High School in Arlington Heights, Illinois
  • 2001 Jeep Wrangler – Career Center High School in Winston Salem, North Carolina
  • 1996 Toyota 4Runner – OPS Career Center in Omaha, Nebraska
  • 2002 Jeep Wrangler – Automotive Program at Santa Fe Early College Opportunities (ECO) in New Mexico
  • 1997 Toyota 4Runner – Comstock High School in Kalamazoo, Michigan

Congratulations to the students and their capable instructors! We are so excited to support SEMA Education and the High School Vehicle Build program, and we can’t wait to share these builds with the BaT community.

SEMA High School Vehicle Builds Get Ready for Auction

DIAMOND BAR, CA (07.08.22) – Auto-shop students from schools around the United States are making final customizations to their Jeep Wrangler TJs and 3rd-Gen Toyota 4Runners, as part of the SEMA High School Vehicle Build Program.

The program, which was put hold on 2020 due to COVID-19, uniquely connects high school automotive shop classes with specialty-equipment manufacturers’ products to build one-of-a-kind customized vehicles. Five of the ten vehicles will be auctioned off in late July, while the remaining five will be auctioned off in late September via Bring-a-Trailer.

Students from Career Center Highschool, work together to install a winch on an ’01 Jeep Wrangler.

The 10 participating high schools are:

Career Center Highschool, Winston Salem, North Carolina; ’01 Jeep Wrangler
Comstock Highschool, Kalamazoo, Michigan; ’97 Toyota 4Runner
John Hersey High School, Arlington Heights, Illinois; ’97 Toyota 4Runner
McGavock High School, Nashville, Tennessee; ’04 Jeep Wrangler
Mon Valley Career & Technology High School, Charleroi, Pennsylvania; ’02 Jeep Wrangler
Omaha Public Schools Career Center, Omaha, Nebraska; ’96 Toyota 4Runner
R.L. Turner High School, Carrollton, Texas; ’97 Toyota 4Runner
Santa Fe ECO, Santa Fe, New Mexico; ’22 Jeep Wrangler
Santa Ynez Valley Union High School, Santa Ynez, California; ’96 Toyota 4Runner
Wichita Falls Career Education Center, Wichita Falls, Texas; ’99 Jeep Wrangler

Through the program, students are exposed to real-world, hands-on auto-tech skills while becoming engaged in the accessorization and customization lifestyle. The hands-on-learning opportunity will expose hundreds of students to the $50.9 billion automotive specialty-equipment industry.

The vehicles will be auctioned through the online platform and enthusiast community at Bring a Trailer.

More information is available at Bringatrailer.com.

This article was written by Ashley Reyes for SEMA.org

SEMA Industry Awards Expand to Recognize Contributions of Growing Community

DIAMOND BAR, CA (06.22.22) – Updates to the SEMA Industry Awards reflect changes in the automotive specialty-equipment industry and give winners greater recognition for their contributions.

As e-commerce expands and data-driven transactions become more routine, the SEMA Warehouse Distributor of the Year award has evolved and is rebranded as the new Channel Partner of the Year award. This award honors the contributions of sales, distributors, retailers, and e-commerce channel(s) in the industry, while still continuing to recognize beneficial efforts by distribution companies as they support retailers.

The SEMA Show Kickoff Breakfast, held Tuesday morning, November 1, before the start of the 2022 SEMA Show, will honor the Best New Products at the SEMA Show and recognize the Manufacturer of the Year and the new Channel Partner of the Year.

The Channel Partner of the Year award, along with the Manufacturer of the Year award, will be presented for the first time at the SEMA Show Kickoff Breakfast on Tuesday morning, November 1, before the SEMA Show officially opens. Previously known as the New Products Awards Breakfast, the morning event on the first day of the Show makes it possible for winners to promote the honor while the industry is gathered in Las Vegas, and makes it easy for the industry to connect and honor the winners all week long.

Other industry awards, including the SEMA Person of the Year and GEN-III Innovator of the Year, will be presented at the Thursday evening SEMA Show Industry Awards Banquet. Nominations for all four awards are now being accepted at www.sema.org/awards.

“The SEMA Industry Awards represent the industry, and as the industry evolves, we’re pleased to be able to evolve the awards as well,” said Chris Standifer, SEMA Project Manager of Recognition Programs. “We’re also excited to recognize the valuable contributions of leading companies at the SEMA Show Kickoff Breakfast for the first time this year. As businesses connect throughout the week of the Show, it will be great for winning companies to be able to be recognized in Las Vegas.”

Nominating an individual or business for a SEMA Industry Award is the best way to show appreciation for one’s significant and positive impact on the specialty-equipment market. Submit a nomination by July 15 at www.sema.org/awards.