The Nov. 4-7 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show in Las Vegas is where automakers and tuners roll out some of their gaudiest wares. It’s a feast for the senses – especially if you like huge wheels, crazy paint jobs and over-the-top performance. But don’t let the glare from all that chrome blind you or distract from a buttoned-downed reality: the SEMA show is big business.
Last year it attracted more than 60,000 buyers from around the world, and nearly 2,000 products were introduced in one of the show’s spotlight sections, called the new product showcase. It’s ground zero for the $30-billion automotive aftermarket in North America, which has been steadily growing the last five years.
Naturally, car companies want a piece of that.
“It lets us show all of the things we have, but also develop pieces and parts,” said Mark Trostle, head of Mopar and SRT design. “SEMA is the perfect place to show what we can do.”
It’s also a venue to show what automakers are thinking of doing. Mopar will show off 19-inch bronze-colored wheels on a Chrysler 200S next week, and they’re expected to be available as an aftermarket offering in 2015.
While Mopar, which specializes in parts and customization, places major emphasis on the SEMA Show, it’s become a significant event on the global auto show calendar. Many major automakers, including Ford, GM, Hyundai, Kia, Toyota, Honda and Mazda, have large presences at the show, and they use it as a way to connect with enthusiast customers.