SEMA 2018 Event Report

We are several weeks past the amazing 2018 SEMA Show, and I want to thank everyone that made this event so special for the industry.  As I reported back to my Chevrolet Performance team, this year’s SEMA show put a spotlight on the future of electric powertrain use in an aftermarket setting; gave us insight into how the industry will adapt to a coming fleet of CUVs; and raised the bar (again) for custom car quality and creativity.  

As part of my SEMA Board of Directors responsibilities, I was able to participate in a number of activities that I normally don’t attend.  These included a meeting with global SEMA partners; an Emerging Trends and Technologies Network meeting chaired by Marla Moore and attended by SEMA Chair-Elect, Tim Martin; the NHRA breakfast hosted by Brian Lohnes; and, the highlight of the week, the SEMA Awards Banquet hosted by SEMA Board of Directors Chairman, Wade Kawasaki.

While the Chevrolet team worked the display, I was busy walking the floor looking for trends and the next big products in the industry.  Still, I had time to have some good conversations with the likes of Jeff Leonard from Classic Industries, Steve Wolcott from NMCA, fellow BoD member James Lawrence of Power Automedia, famed car collector Reggie Jackson, Farm Truck and Asian from Discovery’s Street Outlaws TV show, collector car auction expert Gary Bennett, Brian Reese of Race Winning Brands, Robert Simons of Edelbrock, Jonathan Ward of Icon, Patrick Topolinski of Powernation TV, Justin Keith from Street Car Takeover, master car designer Peter Bock, Scooter Brothers of Comp Cams, Eric Schwab of TEN, Ken Lingenfelter, Chris Johnson from Derive, Kim Pendergast of Magnuson Superchargers, and many more.  Thank you to everyone who took time to say hello and share your opinions on where we are headed as an industry.  

What’s next?

For most of you reading this, Indianapolis and the Performance Racing Industry trade show will be the next time we get together as a community.  I have been attending PRI for more years than I really want to share, but let’s just say that it’s a great show, putting a rightful focus on the racing, the racers themselves, and the manufacturers who keep this great American pastime going.  Safe travels to the Midwest, and please say hello if you see me.

There is a full, SEMA Board of Directors meeting scheduled for Wednesday, December 5, and I’m looking forward to getting back in the boardroom with your other representatives to get to work for you.  

A Campaign Promise Update

When running for the SEMA Board of Directors, I had three promises:  Fortify our performance rights, engage our youth, and prepare a bright future for the automotive aftermarket.  I want to update you on each one of these promises.

Fortify our performance rights:  I am actively engaged in SEMA’s lobbying activities to protect your right to modify vehicles.  These decisions are happening quickly, and I am giving Chris Kersting, CEO of SEMA, input from a manufacturer’s point of view to help drive toward more freedom in the auto industry.  Still, your best action is to join SEMA, get involved in a council or network, and fight for your right to modify cars and trucks.

Engage Our Youth:  For the past two years, I have worked with the leadership team at the School of Automotive Machinists & Technologies (SAMTech.edu) to help expand their curriculum to include basic marketing elements.  Our goal is to better prepare their well-educated engine builders and tuners to be successful in the high performance industry with a solid foundation of marketing, social media, advertising, and communication skills.  Partnered with Justin Cesler, and some of the brightest marketing minds in the industry, we are working to ensure that the next generation of engine builders, shop owners, and industry experts has the marketing skills required to compete against an ever-increasing level of competition.

Prepare a Bright Future for the Automotive Aftermarket:  During my campaign, I promised that I was going to bring insight to the automotive trends that will affect the SEMA membership.  I am working to deliver on that promise by actively discussing with SEMA Board members and SEMA leadership how the quickly changing automotive industry will impact the aftermarket.  How will your company adapt to electric-powered cars, autonomous vehicles, and ride sharing? Together, we need to answer those questions.

Thank you for reading through this blog as I continue to try to update you on the latest from the high performance industry.  We have had a great 2018 with reports of record sales in automobiles, accessories, and performance parts. If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, I invite you to respond to this post.  And, I want to take this time to wish all of you a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year.

Dr. Jamie Meyer

SEMA Board of Directors