What Is SEMA?

And why you might be interested in knowing more — by Cam Benty

sema_logoFor most car and truck enthusiasts, SEMA (the Specialty Equipment Marketing Association) is simply an annual trade show in Las Vegas. They see it on the TV and read about it on the internet and in magazines. Despite exhibiting lots of cool vehicles and new performance parts, the SEMA show has little real connection to most enthusiasts . . . other than feeding their great desire to one day attend this amazing show.

But like an iceberg, that’s just the most visible part of SEMA – which is in fact a trade organization of members and companies. The programs, council meeting and events staged by SEMA affect everyone with an interest in cars – right down to car show attendees in your own hometown.

Begun by a group of enthusiasts who loved their cars and trucks and wanted to turn that love into more than just a hobby, SEMA began 46 years ago and today offers a huge number of services and benefits for over 7000 members and companies. At its core, SEMA protects the interests of businesses offering customized parts for sale throughout the world. Per the SEMA website, “SEMA works hard to protect consumers’ rights to drive accessorized, customized and vintage vehicles. SEMA keeps close tabs on legislators in Washington, D.C. and also in each state within the United States. SEMA members and anyone who loves cars and trucks can protest pending legislation that might harm our hobby, as well as endorse legislation that’s good for car lovers.”

A key ingredient in SEMA’s efforts to help car enthusiasts and businesses are the huge number of special SEMA-based council’s dedicated to addressing special interests of SEMA members and car enthusiasts everywhere. SEMA offers an amazing number of services for manufacturers including Tech Transfer and Measuring Sessions that help companies obtain specifications and information about new vehicles so they can develop new aftermarket parts. From new custom wheels and body components to engines and powertrain systems that further enhance the stock power of these new vehicles, these two SEMA programs have had a dramatic effect on the market today.



For the automotive-oriented business owner, SEMA offers an amazing number of leadership and educational programs to help them succeed. From better marketing and accounting practices to creative ideas for Point of Purchase displays, SEMA stages online classes that anyone can attend. The creation of the new ever-growing SEMA Data Co-Op helps create a uniform database so all companies can communicate on an equal plane about their newest and most profitable products.

A look at the www.sema.org website will help give perspective as to just what SEMA means beyond that “killer car show” they stage every November. SEMA works 365 days a year to the benefit of the car enthusiasts and automotive businesses worldwide.

Of Consumer Interest

So how does SEMA affect the local car fan? Take a look

What you may have missed as an enthusiast are the cool programs SEMA offers folks like you. The TakeAKidToACarShow.com website shows car fans how to stage car shows, have a local car cruise or simply stage car club meeting. Here you can download free apps and even coloring books to help start the next generation of car enthusiasts started early.

This massive website delivers the perfect place for any enthusiast to see everything there is to know about SEMA. At its most basic, Enjoythedrive.com is a clearinghouse of the newest parts available from SEMA members. Other topics include a look at things like the 2nd Annual UTV Industry Ride in 2013 and the 2013 King of the Hammers event in Johnson Valley OHV Park. This is also one of the best ways into SEMA’s social media content where you can find friends and post comments and pictures of your favorite vehicles.

The Racers Against Street Racing are dedicated to safe competition on legal racetracks, part of SEMA’s Action Network. On this terrific website you will find a dedicated track-finding features to help you find a local track in your area. Their main message – “If you want to race, Go to a Racetrack.”

Motorsports Awareness
Not far off from the TakeAKidToACarShow program, MPMC’s Motorsports Awareness program promotes taking a friend who has never been to a motorsports event along with you and letting them experience the event first hand. The Take A Friend To a Race program is a yearlong process that culminates in August – the biggest month of the year for Motorsports events. SEMA offers Motorsports Awareness ad slicks and logos to help honor the event – downloadable on their website.

Collector Car Appreciation Day – July 11etd_nodeheader_ccad_0An officially celebrated day on the calendar as passed by the US Senate, this date – and the entire month of July in reality – is considered the biggest day of the year for cruising in your favorite ride. Conceptualized by the SEMA Action Network, the SEMA website offers ways of staging your own local Collector Car Appreciation day. Clubs or local businesses can get the word about their special event by clicking on this link – using this link

SEMA Councils – and their missions

SEMA’s councils are where much of the investigative work takes place on industry topics. From teaching positive leadership and business practices to protecting against legislative actions, which could damage our hobby, it is in these councils that powerful work happens.

ARMO – Automotive Restoration Market Organization
RMO is committed to preserving and promoting the automotive restoration industry through its projects, education programs, and by monitoring legislative and/or regulatory issues that may affect our members, thus ensuring the longevity and prosperity of the automotive restoration industry.

HRIA – Hot Rod Industry Alliance
HRIA’s primary objectives are to ensure the future prosperity of the hot rod industry and to advance and promote awareness of the hobby.

LTAA – Light Truck Accessory Alliance
LTAA Council provides valued tools and events for retailers and manufacturers to plug into and grow their collective businesses

MPMC – Motorsports Parts Manufacturers Council
MPMC’s primary objective is to provide meaningful solutions to industry-specific issues and challenges, thereby perpetuating the growth and prosperity of motorsports parts manufacturers.

MRN – Manufacturers Representative Network
MRN’s mission is to provide a forum for manufacturers’ representatives in order to increase their impact as an industry, explore issues of common interest and concern, increase their collective knowledge and elevate the overall image of the profession.

PRO – Professional Restylers Organization
The Professional Restylers Organization is dedicated to addressing the challenges facing the restyling segment of the automotive aftermarket and to developing effective strategies for dealing with industry-specific issues.

WTC – Wheel and Tire Council
The Wheel and Tire Council’s mission is to identify common problems and opportunities relating to the custom – performance wheel and tire industry, which the council, as an interested body of companies, can address for the common good.

SBN – SEMA Businesswomen’s Network
The SEMA Businesswomen’s Network’s mission is to provide networking, education, and recognition opportunities for professional women in the Specialty Equipment Industry which will enhance their careers and positively impact the growth of the entire automotive aftermarket.
YEN – Young Executives Network
The Young Executives Network’s mission is to cultivate young talent in the automotive aftermarket through implementation of education and networking programs.

ETTN – Emerging Trends & Technology Network
Newest of the SEMA councils, the mission of the ETTN is to “Identify, understand and communicate emerging trends and technologies to help members improve.”

About the author

Power & Performance News

Power & Performance News is the source for news, tech and products that help you get more performance from your vehicle. If powertrain performance projects and hardcore technical content are your interest, Power & Performance News is the publication designed for you. Our acclaimed editorial staff covers all aspects of engine and driveline upgrades with a mission of presenting information that is both interesting and achievable for the “average car guy”.
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