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.

SEMA: Learn Current Technology and Resources for Product Development

DIAMOND BAR, CA (06.21.22) – Automotive aftermarket engineers and program developers are invited to a first-ever event designed to help them advance their companies and learn about industry technology.

Through the SEMA Emerging Trends & Technology Network (ETTN) Networking, Education, Resources and Development (N.E.R.D.) Symposium, engineers will connect with product and service providers, and engage in networking and education opportunities unlike any other.

Below are highlights of the N.E.R.D. Symposium taking place at the new SEMA Garage Detroit facility, August 16–19:

Engineer and Service Provider Meetings
As technology evolves, the tools and resources to help engineers develop products faster, more accurately and cost-effectively has increased. Engineers will be able to meet and sit down in quality one-on-one meetings with product and service providers, to learn about the resources available and how they are relevant to their individual businesses. Nowhere else will engineers and service providers be able to connect in so many high-quality conversations about the latest offerings for 3-D printing, CNC or CMM equipment, testing labs for ADAS, emissions, the suspension lifecycle and more.  

In-Depth Education
Hear from industry experts as they share the latest developments about topics such as ADAS and vehicle technology. From the latest research to the newest innovations, you’ll learn important information that will help you develop products that will succeed in the marketplace.

Peer-to-Peer Networking
Meet and connect with other engineers who share common concerns and challenges. Get to know one another over complimentary breakfast and lunch on Wednesday and Thursday of the event.

SEMA Garage Detroit Private Tour
With access to OEM-quality equipment and procedures, the SEMA Garage in Detroit makes it possible for product developers to troubleshoot software/hardware obstacles as well as dynamic testing in conjunction with local facilities. Engineers will be able to see first-hand the capabilities of the SEMA Garage in Detroit, and discover how the facility is the first-of-its-kind to assist with compliance with ADAS features, emissions requirements and complex vehicle technology, as they tour the new facility during the official Grand Opening celebration.

Engineers, programmers, product developers and product and service providers interested in attending the event can learn more and register here by July 22.

Last Chance for Automotive Entrepreneurs to Win $92,000 Grand-Prize Package for Budding Business

DIAMOND BAR, CA (06.10.22) – Emerging entrepreneurs and inventors have until June 13 to submit their applications for the SEMA Launch Pad. Through the SEMA Launch Pad, those with a functioning automotive-related product or accessory will vie for a chance to win a grand-prize package valued at $92,000 to help launch their product or service into the marketplace.

SEMA Launch Pad is the ultimate product-pitching competition for automotive entrepreneurs, and helps elevate budding businesses though brand exposure, access to business resources, face time with key industry influencers and more. Cash prizes are awarded to the top three finalists, while other semifinalists and their products are promoted on SEMA websites, publications and social-media networks throughout the duration of the competition.

Fifteen semifinalists will be selected in June to participate in the first round of pitching and be invited to exhibit at the 2022 SEMA Show in Las Vegas in November. The top five finalists will pitch their products to a panel of industry judges during the SEMA Show, where a final winner will be selected.

Past products included have been selected from segments such as vehicle technology, restyling, truck and off-road and more, although the program is not limited to any product that has the potential to positively impact the future of the aftermarket industry.

Apply now for SEMA Launch Pad

To qualify, applicants must be a business owner or company-leading executive (president, CEO, CFO, COO or vice president), and must offer a product or service that is a functioning prototype or concept or currently available for sale.

This article was written by Ashley Reyes for sema.org

SEMA Returns to Its Roots to Honor Industry Legends

DIAMOND BAR, CA (06.07.22) – Tickets to the 2022 SEMA Awards Gala, a prestigious celebration where industry leaders and SEMA Hall of Fame members are recognized, are now available at www.sema.org/gala.

Formerly known as the SEMA Installation Banquet & Gala, the annual SEMA Awards Gala is open to the industry and will take place July 29, 2022, at the brand-new Westin Anaheim Resort in Anaheim, Calif., in what will be a sort of homecoming for the industry. Following the inaugural SEMA Show at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles in 1967, the trade show was held at the Anaheim Convention Center from 1968 to 1976 before moving to Las Vegas the next year.

“The SEMA Awards Gala is a great opportunity for the industry to come together at mid-year to connect in person and have meaningful conversations in an intimate setting,” said SEMA CEO Mike Spagnola. “Our roots extend to the city of Anaheim, so it will be exciting to return with friends and colleagues to honor industry leaders.”

Among those honored at this year’s Gala are incoming and outgoing board members and 2022 SEMA Hall of Fame inductees Walker Evans, Jack Roush, and “Gene” Winfield.

The SEMA Cares Pinewood Drags, a cherished Gala tradition, will also return to offer industry participants the chance to sponsor a child-built pinewood racecar or challenge industry colleagues in head-to-head competition. The races, which are run throughout the Friday reception and into the evening, support SEMA Cares, a group that unites the automotive aftermarket’s fundraising efforts to raise money for various charities.

To secure one of the limited number of available seats and tables available for the 2022 SEMA Awards Gala, visit www.sema.org/gala. For more information about the SEMA Pinewood Drag Races or to sponsor a car, visit www.sema.org/pinewood.

SEMA: Automotive Specialty Equipment Sales Increase to $50.9 Billion

DIAMOND BAR, CA (06.06.22) – Sales of specialty-equipment parts reached a new high in 2021, increasing to $50.9 billion in retail sales for the first time in history—up from $47.9 in 2020.

The finding comes from the new “2022 SEMA Market Report,” which is available for download at www.sema.org/research, and provides the automotive aftermarket industry a comprehensive review of the specialty-equipment market in 2021. The report includes new data on the U.S. market size, consumer profiling, industry trends and changes in the vehicle population.

SEMA estimates that the growth was driven by strong consumer interest in working on their car or truck, as more than 80% of specialty-equipment consumers reported spending as much, if not more, time working on their personal vehicles as they did during 2020.

“The 2022 SEMA Market Report can help member companies identify key areas of interest for consumers, and where the most money was spent on parts in 2021,” said SEMA Director of Market Research Gavin Knapp. “As our biggest research report of the year, this is a must-read for any business that wants to make strategic, data-driven decisions.”

Restrictions on in-person shopping eased in 2021, prompting consumers to become more comfortable going back into stores to buy parts. The split of in-store versus online sales is 2021 was roughly 50/50 versus 54% online in 2020 and 45% online in 2019. This normalization is expected to continue in 2022.

Pickups remain the single biggest segment in the specialty-equipment parts market. An estimated 13.6 million pickups were modified by consumers in 2021, accounting for a combined 31% of specialty-equipment parts sales.

Ongoing supply-chain issues are also a concern in 2022. More than 90% of specialty-equipment manufacturers, distributors and retailers feel that their business has been impacted by supply-chain-related challenges. This, is turn, is softening expectations regarding 2022 sales.

For more data on the opportunity available in the automotive specialty-equipment market, download the 2022 SEMA Market Report for free today at www.sema.org/research.

This report is the focus of an upcoming SEMA webinar on June 8. Register for the webinar by clicking here.