Is the SEMA Show Still Relevant These Days? Yes!

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A.R.E. SEMA Truck - 2015-07-01 11.50.57

As I’m typing this, the 2015 SEMA show is getting ready to get started at the Las Vegas Convention Center. SEMA is a showcase of specialty equipment makers and aftermarket parts suppliers, and it’s also a place where business gets done. But as a spectator, do you find the show to still be relevant?

For a parts supplier, SEMA does make a lot of sense. People go there to close business deals. At shows like this, aftermarket manufacturers can have their equipment snapped up by OEMs and included as original equipment or available in the parts catalog.


Ford F-150 TKO by MRT

But much like CES, which has become as much a showcase for consumers as it is for a place for suppliers and vendors to do business, SEMA has followed a similar route. Heck, at one point access for the media was extremely controlled. It wasn’t supposed to be a show that got a lot of press, but a show to do business.

If you’ve followed any of our sites, you’ll know we’ve covered a lot of different OEMs bringing special concepts to the show that’ll never see production. Many of these concepts are, “Look what we can do, when we can be bothered to build it.”

On the flip side, the larger automotive OEM presence has helped a lot of aftermarket suppliers really grow their business. If you remember earlier this year, we took a tour of A.R.E. and highlighted the program that allowed them to buy a new Ford F-150 Platinum for virtually nothing that they could outfit with all their stuff. In addition, the truck was on display with Ford at SEMA, and not in some corner.

OEMs can put the spotlight on some cool projects, that ultimately put the spotlight on some aftermarket suppliers. In the case of Ford, many of those suppliers are selling stuff for the Ford trucks. Trucks are often the most-customized vehicles do to the overall sales of trucks, the availability of parts, and the desire by truck owners to make their truck unique. The SEMA show, and the subsequent media coverage, helps customers reach out to new brands and products that they might not have ever known about.

AIRDESIGN USA Ford F-150 Supercrew

So while the SEMA show is different these days than it was in the past, I’d say it’s still completely relevant. It’s one of the largest automotive shows on the planet, and it’s by far the largest where enthusiasts are catered to.

Even though I may have poo poo’d the concepts earlier, since they’re unlikely to see production, the SEMA show is the one show where it’s cool, and expected, to have concepts there.

The other auto shows are focused on the consumers going to buy cars. They are less concerned about concepts, and more concerned about fuel economy, performance, and stuff they can actually go and purchase today.

The SEMA show fills a void in the automotive industry, and is just as important today as it ever has been. We’ll have more SEMA coverage as the week goes on, but in the meantime feel free to sound off with your comments and SEMA discussion over in our forums!

Chad Kirchner is a regular contributor to Corvette Forum and Ford Truck Enthusiasts, among other auto sites.

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