Everywhere we look, prices are on the rise. From gasoline to milk, costs are escalating quickly, which of course, means that we have to absorb the difference. But, despite all of the doom and gloom perpetuated by economic analysts, it seems that at least one industry is making a solid recovery – and, because this isn’t a home building blog, you can guess which one…yep, the automotive industry.
Last year’s SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) show was bursting at the seams in Las Vegas. More than 130,000 visitors descended on the desert oasis to talk, shop, and lay eyes on everything from repair equipment to car modifications. While the show has been working in coordination with the Aftermarket Products Exposition, or AAPEX, the staggering number of attendees signals an uptick on the automotive front.
Organizers were sure to note that more than half of the visitors had a “purchasing interest”, which is great for the more than 2,100 exhibitors. The 17% increase in attendance bodes well for the future prospects of the event and the automotive industry as a whole.
Several Groups Getting Involved:
SEMA and AAPEX have long been a draw for domestic and international auto industry personalities, but that clout is rapidly increasing, given the inclusion of other popular groups. SEMA is beginning to include several sub-factions on the showroom floor, which makes for a very diverse event. The Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) is now being SEMA, and the event organizers have responded by relegating a portion of the floor to PBE (Paint, Body, and Repair Equipment).
These changes to the show’s format and organizational inclusion are likely attributed to the International Autobody Congress & Exposition (NACE) pulling out of the show and hosting their own event. The NACE’s displeasure with the inclusion of PBE aisles on the exhibition floor is another likely candidate for the true reasons behind the NACE/SEMA separation.
What does all of this mean for the automotive industry? When we combine the 17% increase in attendance, the increase in exhibitors, and the sales increases (some as much as 20%) reported by several automakers, it’s apparent that the entire industry is enjoying an upswing. The 2011 event noted that collision repair shops were out in full-force, with a 30% increase in the amount of groups attending in an effort to stay “on top” of the changing industry.