The number of automakers tapping into the customization and specialization craze at this year’s SEMA Show has reached a record high. There will be 15 manufacturers representing 32 nameplates exhibiting sophisticated displays, making major announcements and debuting new vehicles during the week.
Regarded by many as the strongest indicator of automotive specialty-equipment trends, the SEMA Show has become a must-attend event for the world’s automakers. Unlike any other event in the auto show circuit, the SEMA Show is unique because it is a trade-only event that caters to key decision makers, designers, media and businesses that form a powerful voice in the automotive industry.
“Recognizing the demand for personalization and customization, automakers are collaborating more and more to discover how they can attract niche consumers effectively,” said Bill Wolf, SEMA senior director of OEM relations.
The SEMA Show, which is dedicated to the accessories market, is designed to help SEMA members increase accessory sales. By collaborating with automakers, SEMA members are able to take advantage of new business opportunities while helping automakers sell more vehicles.
General Motors will play a major role this year with the debut of the production 2010 Chevrolet Camaro, the official vehicle of the 2008 SEMA Show. Through several of its vehicle brands, including Chevrolet, GMC, Cadillac and Saturn, GM is a long-time supporter of the SEMA Show. The automaker has exhibited at the event since 1996 and also demonstrates a strong commitment to vehicle personalization by collaborating in numerous SEMA programs that make it easier and more cost-effective for its members to develop products.
Among the new exhibitors for this year is Mercedes-Benz, who has participated in the SEMA Show in past years through various partnerships and programs. The automaker is increasing its level of involvement by becoming an exhibitor for the first time. In addition to having a customized GLK unveiled by Renntech, the well-known American tuner, there will be a Mercedes-Benz Lounge located on the 2nd level between Halls C1 and C2.
“It’s great to have Mercedes-Benz as a first-time vehicle manufacturer at the Show. It reinforces the fact that owners of luxury vehicles that typically come “fully loaded” still want to personalize their cars after it’s purchased,” added Wolf.
Joining GM and Mercedes-Benz at the SEMA Show are: Ford Motor Company, Hyundai Motor America, American Honda, Kia Motors America Inc., Lexus, Mazda North America Operations, Chrysler, Nissan North America, Scion, Subaru of America Inc., Suzuki, Toyota and Volkswagen.
In addition to exhibiting, automakers support the SEMA Show through a number of programs. SEMA’s Project Vehicle Program is an example of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and exhibiting member companies working together to attract buyers, media and, eventually, consumers. The program begins with OEM brand teams providing stock vehicles to SEMA-member companies.
SEMA members equip the stock vehicles with those accessories that best suit the vehicle’s lifestyle, adventure or general-use applications. For participating automakers, the modified vehicles illustrate design versatility and utility while adding flair and performance not available from the stock equipment catalog.
“Early collaboration between OEMs and SEMA suppliers can make the difference between built-in profits and reverse-engineered costs,” said John Waraniak, SEMA’s vice president of vehicle technology. “Customization validates the platform’s authenticity. OEMs make cool products. SEMA members help make those products cool. This new dynamic enables OEMs to better connect with, and profitably serve, customers by having immediate access to cutting-edge, purpose-built aftermarket goods.”
Press conferences and sponsored media events make up a significant part of automaker activity at the SEMA Show, where manufacturers have access to a global media pool ranging from key industry communicators to the latest lifestyle broadcast programs.
The 2008 SEMA Show will be held November 4-7 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. For more information or to register for the Show, please visit www.SEMAShow.com.