SEMA Show Feature 2006

Where “everything new makes its debut,” 2006 SEMA Show

By Vince Bodiford

SEMA Show Feature 2006For the car enthusiast, there simply is nothing quite like the SEMA Show. It is certainly the biggest single dose of chrome and gadgets to be found anywhere on the planet – with the occasional (okay, frequent) scanty-clad model for good measure.

After soaking my aching feet for six hours and taking three long naps, I feel I’m recovered enough to file this report. Like the end of all SEMA shows I’ve attended, I’m left with words like “wow,” “amazing,” and “huge” to describe the whole thing.

2006 was SEMA’s big 40th Anniversary, and the theme of the show was “American Muscle.” There was no shortage of vintage muscle cars on display as the world celebrated the Americans addiction to horsepower and big displacement engines.

At that first show forty years ago, the industry gathered to promote cutting-edge racing products. At that time, the eyes of motorsports professionals were drawn to SEMA. Still today, many of those same innovators continue to draw attention at the SEMA Show and they are joined by thousands more colleagues from leading companies around the world.

Attracting more than 2,000 manufacturers in 11 market categories ranging from Racing and Performance to Mobile Electronics and Trucks, SUVs and Off-Road, the annual SEMA Show is the industry barometer for consumer tastes.

The show’s New Products Showcase best represents the industry’s enthusiasm for innovation. Featuring more than 1,400 new products ranging in function from style, to performance, to convenience, the showcase is the central focal point around which the rest of the show revolves.

Organized in industry-specific categories, it is a comprehensive introduction of what’s hot and new in the industry as well as the premier opportunity for manufacturers to get their product in front of more than 100,000 international and domestic buyers and media. Over the years, more than 30,000 new products have made their debut at the SEMA Show – where it’s said, “everything new makes its debut.”

The specialty equipment market is developing more new products than at any other time in the show’s 40-year history. Emerging product categories such as diesel performance continue to fuel the industry’s reputation for innovation and trend-setting. Over two dozen new diesel performance products are registered for the 2006 Show already, nearly the total number of diesel products exhibited last year.

Other notable trends include entries in the Performance & Racing categories, up three percent from last year’s total, and on track to comprise almost 25 percent of all products on the show floor. These products comprise performance parts across the domestic, import and off-road industries, and demonstrate that the state of performance enthusiasm is hot and healthy.

“The notion of personalization and customization has started to take hold among mainstream automotive consumers,” said Christopher Kersting, SEMA president and CEO. “The $34 billion industry is driven by enthusiast-based businesses that utilize the show to attract attention to their new products. Year after year we have seen the most significant items hit the market here in Las Vegas,” said Kersting.

The SEMA Show, the annual showcase of technology, trends and products for the $34 billion automotive accessories industry, was held October 31-November 3, 2006 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

This year’s event, open only to verified industry professionals and media, featured more than 2,000 exhibitors in over one million square feet of space. Over 100,000 trade professionals attended this year to walk through the 11 market-based sections and view 1,400 never-before seen products displayed in the New Products Showcase.

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