Wow! That's all someone like me can say when attending the world's largest parts and accessories extravaganza.

The size, the number of exhibitors, the number of people, the number of customized vehicles. It's in true Las Vegas over-the-top style.

SEMA stands for Specialty Equipment Market Association, and specialty is what it is. This annual show attracts throngs of people, the second largest number of convention attendees in Las Vegas.

Although there are 100,000 attendee, it's not like you are going to be elbow to elbow because the 7,500-booth SEMA show covers 3 million square feet of the Las Vegas Convention Center.

The event attracts all types of motorheads, from hot rodders to customizers, jobbers to car dealers. The show has gained in popularity over the years, especially when auto manufacturers started to display a keen interest in displaying their accessories. Six years ago there were only five manufacturers present. The 2002 show boasted 13 vehicle makers showing their wares in elaborate settings. The manufacturers have opened their eyes to how many aftermarket products car dealers can sell.

The dealership presence was huge. Import and domestic, rural and urban dealers made their way to this four-day show in November. It's no surprise why.

Parts and service managers have noticed that manufacturers are imposing that today's vehicles require less and less maintenance. A few examples: long-life spark plugs, longer-life coolant, unserviceable (sealed) transmissions. Consequently, more and more car dealers make it to SEMA to augment their eroding maintenance sales.

The type of dealer you are (import or domestic) and the market area you are in, might dictate what would appeal to you at the SEMA show.

Jim Corazza, dealer principal of Fairways Motors in Pennsylvania, found the most interest for him was in the vast number of suppliers of grille inserts, rims and dash kits. His dealership boasts GM, Subaru and Nissan franchises.

He says, “Most trends and unique customized products come from the West Coast. It's nice to get unique items which are new to the East.”

Import dealers, especially West Coast dealers, seemed interested in bolt-on and cosmetic-enhancing products found in the Restyling and Accessories Center, one of 10 such specialty spots. Among displays were an array of Euro head-taillight covers, ground effects, dash kits and window film supplies.

If your store pays its homage to King Truck, then you couldn't help but be lured to the Truck and SUV Accessories Center. Found there are caps, bed-liners, tool boxes, towing accessories and even some hard to find unique items like bolt-on adjustable snow shovels that fit on the front of half-ton and three-quarter ton trucks.

At the General Center, most of the OEMs displayed their vehicles and their own brand of accessories. Attracting much attention at the show was the unveiling of an accessorized Nissan 350 Z sports car.

And what would a SEMA show be without the Street Rod Alley section where the Hot Rodders congregate. Hundred and hundreds of customized cars and trucks are to be seen and admired here.

Any car dealer looking to get an edge for customizing their new vehicles should check out SEMA next year and beyond.

Dave Skrobot, owner of Dealer Strategies, is at 403-283-0018 and skroby@aol.com.