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

Special Discounts and Details on What Buyers Will See in SEMA360

DIAMOND BAR, CA (10.12.2020) – Manufacturing companies are gearing up for SEMA360, where they will showcase new products for the automotive specialty-equipment industry and prepare to meet with resellers from all over the world. Here are details on what some manufacturers have planned:   

With many new and unique products in store for the coming year, Curt Group’s New Product Spotlight Page will be the first to reveal the company’s new products, and include photos, videos, key features for each product, custom vehicle builds, as well as downloadable key-feature fliers.
  • ORACLE Lighting will showcase new lighting products for the ’20 Chevy Camaro and ’19–’20 Chevy Silverado. Both the ’20 Chevy Camaro SS/RS Oracle Colorshift RGB+A Headlight DRL Upgrade and the ’19–’20 Chevy Silverado 1500 Oracle Colorshift RGB+W Headlight DRL Upgrade can make hundreds of different colors and dozens of patterns.
  • Redline Detection is introducing SpeedSmoke—a diagnostic leak detector designed to address the proliferation of boosted vehicles in the aftermarket. SpeedSmoke can pinpoint faults in naturally aspirated engines as well as pinpoint high pressure turbo, diesel, supercharged, boost leaks, with 100% reliability in just minutes. 
  • Sharpline Converting Inc. will offer special discounted pricing on its latest products to buyers during SEMA360. The company manufactures roll striping, graphics, paint protection film and chemical protection products to every segment of the automotive industry.
  • Curt Group will showcase its newly introduced New Product Spotlight Page. With many new and unique products in store for the coming year, the New Product Spotlight Page will be the first to reveal CURT’s new products and include photos, videos, key features for each product, custom vehicle builds, as well as downloadable key-feature fliers. 
  • Diode Dynamics will have its new SSC2 2-in. LED Pod, featuring high-output intensity and designed for maximum functionality, with custom-engineered TIR optics shining in highly useful beam patterns. With four standard backlight options, these pods are a powerful light option that can be mounted virtually anywhere on a vehicle, including spots where LED Light Bars are not an option. 
  • Supreme Suspensions is featuring its new 1.6-in. Ratchet Tie-Down Strap Kit. Made from professional-grade, high-tensile polyester with triple-stitched webbing, the Ratchet Tie-Down Strap Kit features a 1,460-lb. Safe Working Load and a 4,400-lb. Max Breaking Strength. Easy-to-use “S” hooks constructed of ASTM equivalent 1045 structural steel help to resist deformation and deflection under heavy loads. They are also stratch-resistant, waterproof and UV-protected.
  • AEM Performance Electronics will featuring its new VCU300, along with other new EV products, during SEMA360. The VCU300 is used on both the Ford Performance CobraJet1400 (the fastest door-slammer drag EV in the world), and the Huff Motorsports EV Dragter (the first EV dragster to eclipse 200 mph in the quarter-mile). 
  • BlueDevil Products is showcasing its BlueDevil Gasket Sealer and its BlueDevil Radiator Flush. The gasket sealer will repair and seal leaks in blown head gaskets, warped or cracked heads, heater cores and freeze plugs. The radiator flush restores efficiency to vehicles by helping remove grease, rust, grime or any other buildup that occurs during normal vehicle use.
  • TRAK Machine Tools will feature its new Toolroom Machining Center and demonstrate how easy it is to transition from manual work, such asmachining a prototype or test piece in Toolroom Ops, to full production machining in Production Ops. It’s a full feature three-axis machining center when you need to run low-volume production, and with the flip of a switch will work like its popular TRAK DPM.
  • Bully Dog and SCT Performance will offer SEMA360 specials and give away $50,000 in tuners as part of its Great Tuner Giveaway. Staff will showcase the SCT Livewire Vision Performance Monitor, and share information about the new vehicle coverage added to the SCT X4 Performance Programmer and the Bully Dog GT.

As a 100% online event created to fill the void of the in-person SEMA Show not taking place in Las Vegas, SEMA360 provides the industry with a trade-only platform that provides manufacturers and resellers an opportunity to connect and focus on new products, vehicles, education and doing business. Learn more by visiting www.sema360.com.  

Manufacturers who have special SEMA360 discounts, or who would like to promote their SEMA360 plans and be included on the list above, should email Kelly Clancy at kellyc@sema.org.  

Truck Hero Selling SEMA Show Truck for Charity

DIAMOND BAR, CA (10.09.2020) – Truck Hero, a manufacturer of truck and Jeep accessories, announced it will offer its 2018 SEMA Show truck build, “Ultimate Tailgate,” a custom ’19 Ford F-350 Lariat, at the Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction in Scottsdale, Arizona, October 23, with all proceeds from the sale benefiting the Building Homes for Heroes organization.

Truck Hero design engineers created the Ultimate Tailgate truck as a platform to display many of the company’s truck accessories at the 2018 SEMA Show in Las Vegas. The basis for the build is a ’19 Ford F-350 Super Duty dually pickup in Lariat trim, equipped with the 6.7L Power Stroke diesel, producing 450 hp and 935 lb.-ft. of torque.

Truck Hero design engineers created the Ultimate Tailgate truck as a platform to display many of the company’s truck accessories at the 2018 SEMA Show in Las Vegas. The basis for the build is a ’19 Ford F-350 Super Duty dually pickup in Lariat trim, equipped with the 6.7L Power Stroke diesel, producing 450 hp and 935 lb.-ft. of torque.

This build’s tailgating claim-to-fame is found in the bed, where an Extang Solid Fold 2.0 folding bed cover conceals a 65-in. LG OLED 4K TV that is remote controlled and fully articulates on a custom bed slide system, complete with a gaming table, YETI cooler and grill. A pair of UnderCover SwingCases swing out from the bed, via remote control, and supply the sounds through Maxxsonics MB Quart speakers.

The truck was turned over to Washtenaw (Michigan) Community College so the crew enrolled in their Custom Cars & Concepts program could work on the truck’s body and paint. Students shaved the exterior door handles before applying the AkzoNobel Modern Classikk Black Hole Black paint. Sikkens Autoclear was also applied, as well as a slew of custom touches, including billet emblems and copper-plated badges.

The truck rides on an ARFT Speed Shop custom-dropped air suspension with a four-link rear and a full Air Lift Performance 3P air management system. The power is put to the pavement through custom 24-in. Fuel Off-Road Dually Maverick wheels that have been copper-plated and accented with black-painted spokes wrapped in 285/40R245 Dilente Bandit tires.

Building Homes for Heroes is a national nonprofit organization that builds and modifies homes and gifts them, mortgage-free, to veterans and their families.

Visit sema.org and truck-hero.com for more.

Vehicle Builders Invited to Participate in SEMA360 Builder Showcase

DIAMOND BAR, CA (10.08.2020) – Applications for the SEMA360 Builder Showcase are now open. In the absence of the in-person SEMA Show, the new SEMA360 was created as a 100% online trade-only event that focuses on an eCommerce marketplace, new products, vehicle builds and education for the automotive specialty-equipment industry.

Click here to apply for the Builder Showcase

Unlike the SEMA Show, where vehicle space is limited and vehicle applications must be submitted by a participating manufacturer, the SEMA360 Builder Showcase allows vehicle builders the opportunity to enter vehicles directly into the program.

“We’re excited to open up the SEMA360 Builder Showcase to all the talented builders across our industry,” said Tom Gattuso, SEMA vice president of events. “We wanted to put a spotlight on the trends and innovation that go into these vehicle builds every year while highlighting the people that bring the creations to life.”

The SEMA360 Builder Showcase will enable all builders, including seasoned and new builders, to reach an unlimited audience. “This is truly a worldwide platform to show off the passion and creativity SEMA week has become known for,” continued Gattuso. “The support we have had for SEMA360 has been tremendous, and we can’t wait to see what this new Showcase feature will bring.”

Click here to apply for the Builder Showcase

Applications to participate in the Builder Showcase must be submitted online by October 9. Builders must submit a complete application that includes vehicle information, up to 10 photos and an optional 90-second builder highlight video. Builders may also apply through a SEMA360 participating manufacturer.

All entries in the SEMA360 Builder Showcase may also participate in SEMA Battle of the Builders. Now in its seventh year, SEMA Battle of the Builders is the foremost competition that recognizes and celebrates the accomplishments of SEMA vehicle builders.

Select vehicles from the competition will be featured in the television special and in SEMA publications and websites, and plans are for the top vehicles and builders to be flown to Los Angeles for filming.

Applications and details for SEMA Battle of the Builders can be found at www.semabotb.com.

Five Young Entrepreneurs Advance in SEMA Launch Pad Competition

DIAMOND BAR, CA (009.29.2020) – After a public online voting, five young business owners and executives have been selected to compete in the final stage of the 2020 SEMA Launch Pad Competition. They will now pitch their products and ideas to a panel of industry experts, who will select and announce a winner during SEMA360 on Monday, Nov. 2, at 5:00 p.m. PST.

Available to business owners, executives and entrepreneurs under the age 40 who are launching new automotive products, the SEMA Launch Pad Competition supports young innovators and encourages future industry growth. This year’s finalists will be pitching products that improve a vehicle owner’s safety, convenience and overall driving experience.

“We are excited to support our young industry innovators by providing a platform to showcase their new ideas and products,” said Nathan Ridnouer, SEMA vice president of councils and membership. “This year’s finalists represent a diverse group of products. We continue to be amazed and inspired by the ingenuity, talent and skills that the younger generation possesses.”

The finalists who will be competing and pitching their ideas to a panel of industry experts and leaders on Monday, Nov. 2, during SEMA360 are:

Justin Bradshaw, Director of REVER
Product: Mobile App
REVER is a mobile app and website for powersports enthusiasts to discover, track and share routes. The company has thousands of recommended roads for sports cars and off-highway users as well as offline maps, turn-by-turn directions, a friend tracker to view other people in your group in real-time, weather alerts and the first CarPlay-compatible app of its kind for this specific audience.

Khanjan Desai, Director of Alchemy
Product: ExoShield
ExoShield is a thin, transparent film that stops rock chips by increasing the impact resistance of the windshield by six. The advanced safety features in most modern cars use sensors that sit behind the windshield, which has driven up windshield replacement costs by three to five times, even for mid-level vehicles. ExoShield is powered by Alchemy’s proprietary nanocoatings, which allows it to be both impact and scratch resistant and prevents expensive windshield replacements for vehicle owners.

Roland Hence, Director of FrontLane Inc.
Product: Impulse – Emergency Brake Light
The Impulse is a wireless, battery-powered emergency brake light that reduces rear-end collisions by pulsing eight ultra-bright LEDs under extreme braking situations to alert the following driver up to 50% quicker. Impulse can be installed on any passenger vehicle with a standard back windshield in seconds and has a four-year battery life.

Matt Rafeld, Director of Beachcomber Offroad
Product: Stowaway Door
The Stowaway Door is designed for Jeep owners to enjoy door-free days without worrying about rain, cold or a little mud on the seats. When not in use, the soft-door folds to fit under the rear seat or anywhere you could store a small tent.

Eric Rivera, Director of Dirt Dynamix
Product: Truck Accessories
Established August 2019, Dirt Dynamix designed and brought to market its Universal Truck Bed Mount—a simple and cost-effective way to offer shade via umbrella and/or mount any flag pole in the bed of any truck. Work, race or play—utilize your truck bed in any truck manner and one could benefit from this mount.

Industry professionals can watch as the five finalists compete on Monday, Nov. 2, at 5:00 pm (PST) by registering for SEMA360. Taking place 100 percent online, SEMA360 is the industry’s new event that was created to fill the void of the in-person SEMA Show not taking place in Las Vegas.

To learn more about the competition and finalists, visit www.sema.org/launchpad. To register for SEMA360 and watch the finalists compete, apply at www.sema360.com.

SEMA Opposes California Gas Vehicle Proposal

DIAMOND BAR, CA (09.28.2020) – California Governor Gavin Newsom issued a controversial Executive Order this week instructing the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to draft regulations requiring that all new cars and passenger trucks sold in the state be zero-emissions by 2035.

Once drafted, CARB’s proposed regulations will be subject to a lengthy regulatory process, including legal, economic, and environmental analyses, public comment and hearings. The Governor’s order is also expected to face numerous legal challenges from opponents.

“SEMA is deeply disappointed in Governor Newsom’s decision to escalate his ongoing feud with the Trump Administration at the expense of the consumer and California’s small businesses,” said Daniel Ingber, SEMA vice president of government and legal affairs. “SEMA will work with the industry and enthusiasts in opposing the Governor’s proposal on all fronts.”

According to the California Energy Commission, zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) currently make up approximately 2% of the over 28-million vehicles in use in the Golden State. It is estimated that at least 8% of new vehicle sales in California will be ZEVs and plug-in hybrids by 2025.

California’s ZEV program falls within the state’s greenhouse gas rule that is being challenged in court by the Trump Administration. The federal government is seeking to withdraw EPA recognition of the California rule under the Clean Air Act because it effectively establishes fuel economy standards, which are the sole jurisdiction of the federal government. The challenge could eventually be decided by the Supreme Court.

Visit sema.org for more.

SEMA360 Educational Seminar Schedule Announced

DIAMOND BAR, CA (09.24.2020) – The SEMA360 Education Program will feature more than 30 professional development seminars and candid conversations with industry-leading celebrities and personalities.

Each session will take place in SEMA360, the new industry event that is 100 percent online on November 2-6. Attendees will be able to sign up for an unlimited number of seminars at no additional cost, when registering to participate in SEMA360.

“While circumstances have refrained us from meeting in person this year, SEMA remains committed to helping our industry members succeed and prosper,” said Gary Vigil, SEMA senior manager of professional development. “Each educational session in SEMA360 was carefully crafted to help attendees make smarter business decisions, and offers the exciting opportunity to hear stories and advice from a diverse collection of highly successful, entrepreneurial leaders.”

View the SEMA360 Seminar schedule document here.

The program includes sessions on online marketing and business management, vehicle accessorization, aftermarket trends and research, advanced vehicle technology and more. Each session is designed to help businesses succeed and automotive aftermarket professionals advance their careers.

“Now more than ever, our members are looking for new and effective ways to come together and build on their industry knowledge and create long-lasting business relationships,” said Vigil. “SEMA360 Education will open new doors to those who are looking to enhance their expertise and get more involved in the industry.”

Register for SEMA360 to get access to the full seminar and event schedule. Additional details: www.sema360.com.

SEMA Announces eMarketplace Solution to Take Place November 2 – 6

DIAMOND BAR, CA (08.31.2020) – The Specialty Equipment Market Association is offering an online marketplace to allow manufacturers and resellers in the specialty automotive segment to connect and conduct business. Taking place Nov. 2-6, SEMA360 was created after industry members expressed a need for a viable marketplace solution in the absence of the 2020 SEMA Show.

“Creating a platform where the industry can gather and discover new products and trends has always been a SEMA priority,” said Chris Kersting, SEMA president and CEO. “SEMA360 is the ideal solution to bring the industry together, at a time when we’ve all been kept apart. The platform allows qualified buyers to interact with manufacturers, see innovative new products, check out top SEMA Show builds, and take in industry-leading educational offerings.”

Show organizers gathered input from industry members who registered concerns with typical “virtual trade show” solutions. The result is SEMA360, a simplified platform where SEMA will help manufacturers create a straightforward brand presence that will reach quality domestic and international buyers. With a focus on helping the industry grow their businesses, participating resellers will have access to product offerings and demonstrations, and manufacturer personnel.

“The industry made it clear there is a void to fill,” said Tom Gattuso, SEMA vice president of events. “SEMA360 addresses that need by leveraging SEMA’s exclusive buyer database to connect manufacturers with resellers.”

Key features of SEMA360 include:

  • A simplified platform for manufacturers to showcase their new products and innovations
  • Efficient interaction between manufacturers and resellers for quality business exchange
  • SEMA vehicle reveals from world-class builders
  • Industry-leading education focused on professional development and new strategies
  • SEMA’s unrivaled media contacts amplifying news, products, and innovations to a world-wide audience
  • Manufacturer applications for SEMA360 will open Sept. 3, 2020, at a SEMA-member rate of $495, and a nonmember rate of $1,495. Attendee registration, which opens mid-September, will be free to qualifying buyers who are SEMA members, and $25 to nonmembers. Qualifying media will be able to register at no cost.

To learn more about the SEMA360 or to register, visit www.sema360.com.