SEMA Opens Phase Two of Innovation Facility

July 15, 2013 by · Comments Off on SEMA Opens Phase Two of Innovation Facility 

The Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) recently opened phase two of its automotive innovation facility in Southern California, according to a press release.

Located at SEMA headquarters near Los Angeles, the SEMA Garage gives more than 6,000 businesses targeting the automotive aftermarket in California and across the country access to the special high-tech tools and equipment they need to get their products — whether a $10 set of replacement wiper blades or a $10,000 engine modification — off the drawing board and into customer hands.

Covering 15,000 square feet and filled with nearly $2 million of equipment, the SEMA Garage now includes the tools need by specialty product developers, 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 measurements, and a dynamometer for power output measurements.

The SEMA Garage also offers a fully certified Executive Order (EO) aftermarket part certification lab. Any company wishing to sell aftermarket powertrain parts in the very lucrative California market must get an EO certification. Working in conjunction with the Auto Club, SEMA is able to provide its members with this valuable, low-cost resource for testing and obtaining such certifications.

This temperature-controlled test cell can simulate winter in the mountains, summer in the desert or anything in between. Testing meets all federal EPA and California Air Resources Boards (CARB) standards. Capabilities include emissions, fuel economy, acceleration, brake stopping distance, interior/exterior noise levels and handling.

“SEMA is in a unique position to provide members with a reliable and affordable way to develop and test their products, thereby helping them get their products to market quickly,” said Mike Spagnola, SEMA VP of the Product Development Center. “We’re excited to expand on the capabilities of the SEMA Garage and look forward to putting them to good use.”

The SEMA Garage originally opened May 9 when the aftermarket part certification lab was first made available to members. The latest expansion marks the second phase of the organization’s ongoing effort to better serve the industry. In the coming months, a suite of marketing support tools will be added to complete the three-phase opening, in the form of a media center complete with a photo cove, photography center and media coordination services.

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SEMA Show Seeing Strong Exhibitor Signups

July 12, 2013 by · Comments Off on SEMA Show Seeing Strong Exhibitor Signups 

Organizers for this year’s edition of the Specialty Equipment Market Association Show (SEMA) are reporting that more than 2,100 companies have already secured space for the event, including 500 manufacturers that have never showcased their products at the event.

According to a press release, more than 130,000 industry professionals are expected at the upcoming SEMA Show, a trade-only event open only to those employed in the automotive industry. The show is set to run Nov. 5-8 at the Las Vegas Convention Center

SEMA also announced that the Show Exhibitor Services Manual (ESM), an informative guidebook for preparing for the event, has been redesigned to feature a new look and easy navigation. Available online at, the resource includes general information about exhibiting at the upcoming event, a list of cost-saving deadlines and all the online forms an exhibitor needs to secure booth items at the show.

“While every exhibitor will find the ESM to be a vital resource, we strongly encourage first-time exhibitors to find some time in July to familiarize themselves with the manual,” said Peter MacGillivray, SEMA vice president of events and communications, in a press release. “Deadlines start appearing at the end of the month; in many cases, exhibitors will see significant cost-savings and generate maximum exposure by beating those deadlines.”

He added, “The redesigned ESM comes at an ideal time, as exhibitors are now gearing up to register staff, book hotel rooms and planning the physical layout of their booths. Of particular interest at this time is the information under ‘About the Show’ section, where exhibitors will find a list of frequently asked questions, a glossary of terms and details about what is included with a booth.”

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SEMA Show Seeing Strong Exhibitor Interest

April 23, 2013 by · Comments Off on SEMA Show Seeing Strong Exhibitor Interest 

Nearly 2,000 exhibitors are confirmed to participate in the 2013 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show priority booth selection process taking place later this month. According to a press release, the number represents a 6% increase over the number of companies that participated in the process in 2012.

“With the increased commitment exhibitors are demonstrating earlier in the year, it’s apparent the SEMA Show provides unmatched brand-building visibility and sales exposure in one venue,” said Peter MacGillivray, SEMA vice president of events and communications, noting the show takes place Nov. 5-8 in Las Vegas.

Manufacturers exhibit at the event each year to showcase new automotive parts and accessories, and to connect with more than 60,000 buyers from throughout the world. Through programs and features such as the New Products Showcase, product demonstrations and sectionalized floorplan, exhibitors are able to connect with the most relevant buyers.

“The earlier a company signs up, the more likely they are to take part in all the added-value programs we have available,” MacGillivray said. “We’ve seen direct connections between the amount of planning a company does to the level of success they achieve.”

Nearly 70% of buyers visit the SEMA Show with a plan and identify the exhibitors they want to meet with in advance, according to a 2012 SEMA Show survey. The most influential factors that buyers reported as having an impact on their decision to visit an exhibitor were participation in the New Products Showcase, the Show directory listing, and pre-Show contact from an exhibitor.

Companies may still sign up to exhibit at the upcoming show at Attendee registration will be available from the site in early May.


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Registration Now Available for ’12 SEMA Show

April 16, 2012 by · Comments Off on Registration Now Available for ’12 SEMA Show 

Attendee and media registration for the 2012 SEMA Show is now open at According to a press release, the annual trade-only event takes place October 30-November 2 in Las Vegas.

“Preregistering online is the easiest and most economical way for buyers to obtain credentials to the SEMA Show,” said Peter MacGillivray, SEMA VP of events and communications.

Buyers registering before the early registration deadline pay just $25. They will also be sent their badges in the mail in advance of the event, allowing them to hit the show floor immediately when the SEMA Show opens on Oct. 30.

While media credentials will be available for pick up on-site in the Media Center, preregistering will avoid delays and ensure that media are able to maximize their time at the show. Preregistered media will also ensure that media receive updates and press releases in the days leading up to the Show.

The SEMA Show is the leading automotive trade gathering in the world, where manufacturers and buyers of automotive specialty parts and equipment gather to do business each year. The event attracts more than 100,000 industry professionals from more than 100 countries each year. For more details, visit



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SEMA Appoints Wyly to Manage New Data Co-op

March 8, 2012 by · Comments Off on SEMA Appoints Wyly to Manage New Data Co-op 

Bringing 30 years of specialty parts aftermarket experience to the table, Jon Wyly has been hired to launch and manage the new Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Data Cooperative.

“We are pleased and excited to have Jon taking the lead as we roll out this key industry initiative,” said SEMA President and CEO Chris Kersting. “Jon brings a unique mix to the table, combining broad experience in the specialty parts arena with exceptional insight when it comes to data management applications that will be needed in the future.”

Wyly’s career spans 30 years and has included key roles in sales, marketing, e-commerce, business technology and data management. A lifelong automotive enthusiast, he is well known to the specialty parts industry, having co-founded the SEMA Business Technology Committee and having served six years on the SEMA board. His background includes 25 years at Arrow Speed Warehouse, ending as executive vice president, and more recently as VP of e-Commerce at Keystone Automotive Operations, Inc. He was named SEMA Person of the Year in 2005.

Wyly’s immediate priorities will include launching a “beta” phase of the Data Co-op, which will precede a full-scale rollout. The SEMA board has identified the Data Co-op as a critical strategic issue, and has authorized funding to support the infrastructure necessary to accommodate the system.

“Our ability to get information about the industry’s products to more data users—more WDs, more jobber-retailers, more auto parts stores—is the key to expanding our total market,” said Kersting. “Better data means more sales. You’ve got to have clean, standardized product information easily available to the channel partners.”

SEMA is also collaborating with leading aftermarket associations on data standards, and with the hard-parts industry’s OptiCat data repository, so that complete product information for both specialty and hard parts can be accessed from either system.



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SEMA Show Suggests Aftermarket Still Healthy

November 9, 2011 by · Comments Off on SEMA Show Suggests Aftermarket Still Healthy 

Car manufacturers might still be struggling to emerge from the depths of the industry’s worst downturn since the Great Depression, but the so-called “aftermarket” is firing on all cylinders – perhaps in part because of the weak economy.

As reported by MSNBC, with American motorists forced to hang on to their cars longer than normal, they’re spending more on maintenance, and that’s a big portion of the estimated $30 billion in annual revenues generated by some 6,700 car parts manufacturers, distributors and retailers who make up the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA).

Car owners can shake off their boredom by dressing up their old car with some new features, perhaps some new alloy wheels, a custom grille, sports seats or even an entirely new, high-performance crate motor, like the one introduced by Chevrolet at this year’s SEMA trade show.

The annual event is a showcase of just about everything automotive — everything from air fresheners to wild (and sometimes wacky) concept vehicles.

Nearly 2,000 different exhibitors crammed into the sprawling Las Vegas Convention Center last week to pitch their wares to more than 135,000 wide-eyed attendees from over 100 countries.

“It certainly demonstrates there’s a reason to be optimistic about the future of the auto industry,” said Peter McGillivray, the trade group’s vice president of marketing, as he stared out at one of the convention center’s crowded halls.

With one of the largest stands at the million-square-foot show, Chevrolet created a life-size “Hot Wheels” track to show off a custom Camaro painted in an eye-popping metallic green. Dubbed the “Chevy Hot Wheels Camaro Concept,” it’s currently a one-off for the annual automotive extravaganza, though executives of the carmaker hinted they could find a place for it in the growing Camaro line-up.

MSNBC reported that the Chevrolet display also featured a dozen different concepts based on its new Sonic subcompact — from the Sonic All Activity Vehicle, designed by racing great Ricky Carmichael, to the Sonic Boom, a prototype featuring two large subwoofers and 10 six-inch midrange speakers mounted in the rear hatch in a pair of turbine engine-like clusters.

The annual SEMA show was originally designed as a showcase for automotive suppliers and vendors, and sure enough there were plenty of exhibitors who’ve come up with a great idea, cobbled together a prototype in their garage and showed up hoping to sell some of their new widgets.

But automakers like Chevrolet have also ramped up their presence in recent years.

Chris Perry, Chevy’s vice president of marketing, suggests the show provides “a great canvas” to pitch its products to those who influence market trends. Indeed, SEMA’s McGillivray contends that the show and other organization events “can influence as (many) as one million vehicle purchases a year.”

The SEMA Show has evolved in other ways.

While performance parts — like fast-shifting gearboxes and supercharged motors — were the show’s original focus, there has also been what McGillivray calls a “mind-boggling” growth in the number of vendors showing off their mobile electronics gear.

That’s no surprise. With roads more crowded than ever, fuel prices hovering just below record levels and tough new mileage standards going into effect, motorists are looking for other ways to improve the performance of their cars.

Like completely updating a car’s interior.

“We’ll manufacture the interior in a day” and install it a day later, suggested Brooks Mayberry, the CEO of Katzkin — a SEMA member that produces customized replacement leather seats and finishes for more than 2,000 different vehicles.

The firm recently signed a deal with national dealer chain CarMax to offer both used and new car buyers the chance to upgrade their vehicles. And the company was at SEMA hoping to drum up even more business.


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