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SEMA Show: It’s Not About the Cars

Las Vegas, NV – Three days into its 37th annual gathering, SEMA Show 2003 appears to be setting new records for attendance in every category. More than 85,000 participants have already viewed the latest in automotive aftermarket technologies and one-of-a kind cars and trucks; high performance watercraft and racing-inspired hardware suited to every possible automotive application. As one automotive wag put it, “If you dream about cars, your dreams are here!” He may be right, but according to SEMA VP of Marketing and Communications Peter MacGillivray, this SEMA Show is different from its earlier predecessors for an important reason: It’s no longer just about the cars.

“SEMA members are developing the automotive aftermarket in real time. They are on the cutting edge of style, trend and advanced materials applications. They are also creating an automotive lifestyle vortex that is clearly drawing in non-automotive companies — recognized brands eager to connect with the customer our members understand and service,” said Peter MacGillivray, vice president marketing and communications, SEMA.

With many recognized consumer brands now taking the SEMA business highway to Las Vegas each year, the cross marketing potential of each product sector the association represents is increasing at an impressive pace. SEMA members span the breadth of the automotive sector. From customized hot rods to high-powered sport compacts, they satisfy the performance, entertainment and style demands of a consumer primed to invest in his and her personal transportation and automotive lifestyle.

“An excellent example of how far we have come in gaining broad-based attention from mainline consumer brands is SONY Computer Entertainment America’s decision to make SEMA an important part of its marketing efforts. SONY could have taken its recent award ceremony for the Gran Turismo 4 (GT4) game to several other automotive shows or electronics conventions. Instead, SONY hosted the first-ever Gran Turismo 4 Awards here at SEMA Show 2003. We are exceedingly proud of that decision — since the game has already sold over 30 million units worldwide and is regarded as the best and most authentic computer driving simulation ever created,” he said. The awards process resulted in several SEMA display vehicles being honored, with the “Best In Show” trophy going to a 1962 Buick Special. The Buick will soon be featured as a drivable vehicle in the newest GT4 PlayStation 2 computer game.

The SEMA Show began in 1967 to help early member companies learn from one another and serve the market as it then existed. The annual meeting has now become a must-attend event for the international automotive industry and those brand conscious companies intent on being ahead of the curve when it comes to automotive lifestyle marketing. “Exhibit space is now at a premium. Some venues are outdoors, on the access paths outside the Convention Center, and even in the hallways. Yokohama Tires made news this year by hosting a high-performance driving event in an open space normally used for storage — a first for any show to use this facility,” he added.

With the U.S. economy showing irregular signs of recovery, the SEMA Show is now much more than a gathering of enthusiast-based companies or consumer brands looking for the next trend. “We are confident that SEMA Show 2003 clearly supports the idea that our domestic economy — at least in the sectors our members serve — is showing considerable positive growth. We already know that orders are being written and business conducted at every level here at the show. Whether in the industrial tire hall, mobile electronics exhibit or high-profile custom accessories areas, the business energy, passion, and optimism are palpable. People are here to show and sell. And, there appears to be no shortage of those willing to consider, compare and buy,” MacGillivray concluded.

SEMA represents the $27 billion specialty automotive industry. Founded in 1963, the trade association has 5,222 member companies. It is the authoritative source of research data, trends and market growth information for automakers and the specialty auto products industry. The industry provides appearance, performance, comfort, convenience and technology products for passenger cars, minivans, trucks, SUVs and recreational vehicles. For more information, contact SEMA at 1575 S. Valley Vista Dr., Diamond Bar, CA, 91765-3914; call 909/396-0289; or visit www.sema.org or www.enjoythedrive.com .

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