The numbers from the 38th annual SEMA Show indicate that the Specialty Equipment Market Association is on pace to becoming the most successful SEMA gathering of automotive industrialists and aftermarket innovators ever. The 2004 show will break the 2003 show's impressive attendance of 105,000 industry professionals. And if the business in the isles is any indicator of the momentum of the industry, the automotive aftermarket is also going to have a record-breaker this year.
"From the outset, we knew the 2004 SEMA Show was going to break all attendance and display records," said Christopher J. Kersting, SEMA president and CEO. "Early analysis of show activity and reports from our members suggest a significant increase in buyer participation and business. And, it was the perfect place for our featured vehicle manufacturer, Ford Motor Company, to add to the Mustang's 40th Anniversary celebration and roll-out of the all-new 2005 model."
SEMA represents the $29 billion automotive aftermarket industry and its annual Las Vegas show brings together automakers and leading innovators from all segments of the car and truck communities, mobile electronics, performance marine business and more. This year, SEMA recognized the building relationship between vehicle manufacturers and the aftermarket with the awarding of the inaugural 2004 SEMA Design Awards for Accessory-Friendly vehicles.
"SEMA has encouraged the original equipment manufacturers to share engineering and other confidential data with our members. This has resulted in unprecedented cooperation and the ability to introduce new vehicles and purpose-built aftermarket products at the same time," Kersting continued.
Winners of the SEMA Design Awards included the all-new Ford Mustang for Best Redesigned Vehicle, the Ford F-150 for Best Truck and Chevrolet Tahoe for Best SUV. The 2005 Ford Mustang comes to market with over 50 performance and aftermarket accessories already available to consumers. During its SEMA Show press conference Ford previewed 15 newly accessorized 2005 Mustangs.
"If any one car epitomizes the relationship between the enthusiast owner, the aftermarket and manufacturer, it is the Mustang," said Carl Sheffer, vice president, OEM relations. "The 2005 model will be no different and clearly deserves our recognition as an accessory-friendly new model."
The vehicles weren't the only stars at the 2004 SEMA Show. Spotted among the crowds were car enthusiast celebrities Jay Leno, Hulk Hogan, Snoop Dogg, Usher and many others from professional sports and auto racing circles. Television production companies like Overhaulin, Pimp My Ride and American Chopper were on-site producing feature content and were joined by news and automotive programming crews of every sort. Big-name celebrities alongside racing legends Mario Andretti, Johnny Rutherford, Wally Parks and others made their coverage more exciting then ever. SEMA Show has become a magnet for anyone connected with the automotive culture. Like many of the other established car culture gatherings the SEMA Show has become an important international industry event.
With steady annual growth, SEMA's 5,727 member companies are looking forward to another robust year. Since 1994, the specialty equipment industry has grown 89.10 percent, for an average of 8.9 percent per year. Over time, the SEMA Show has served as an indicator of the business year to follow. Increased buyer attendance at this year's show suggests the business outlook for aftermarket sales in 2005 will be positive.
For the fourth consecutive year, SEMA Show premiered over 1,100 new automotive products in the New Product Showcase. Of these, 12 category winners ranging from best new tool and interior accessory, to hottest merchandising and packaging designs were selected as SEMA's Best New Products for 2004. In a world where reinventing the wheel has become something of a catch-phrase, SEMA member companies manage to do exactly that year-after-year.
Only at SEMA Show can you find: a classic roadster alongside the newest in off-road racing and performance technologies, tires designs or communications; a place where Shaquille O'Neal's DUB-customized Cadillac Escalade competes for attention with the hot new Dodge Magnum or Chrysler 300C; a week week-long industry village that uses Jay Leno's totally unique Oldsmobile Toronado or the Toyota Tacoma Mayan Hunter as waypoints; a cultural automotive bash where industry princes rub shoulders with the whiz kids; and low-rider cruisers compete with accessorized Bentleys for crowd attention and buyer appeal. For its 39th celebration, SEMA Show will return to Las Vegas, November 1-4, 2005.