It may seem like a jungle at the Nov. 1-4 Specialty Equipment Market Assn. (SEMA) Show, featuring aftermarket trends, technology and products.
There are 2,000 exhibitors across 1 million sq. ft. covering all three halls of the giant Las Vegas Convention Center. More than 1,000 new products will be showcased this year, the 39th show.
It is best you have a plan of attack for this motor mecca. More than 100,000 trade professionals brave this event, hoping to see new products and get fresh ideas.
Before you go, check out www.sema.org to get a feel for the show. Click “Shows and Events” to pre-register. If you are a dealer principal, parts and service manager or fixed operations manager, this show is for you.
Once you have your badge, you have carte blanc to attend all three events during Automotive Aftermarket Industry Week. Besides the SEMA show, there is the Automotive Aftermarket Product Expo and National Auto Body Congress Expo.
Next, book a hotel quickly or you will end up like me the first year I went. I stayed at a place called Arizona Charlie's. Not bad, but way off the strip. I might as well have stayed in Arizona.
Get an idea of what kind of product categories you would like to see, depending on your needs.
Some dealership attendees might find unique accessories will augment their parts department inventory. Others might be interested in new equipment that will improve efficiencies of the service department. For various reasons, others might be keen on catching all the eye-candy hot rods and tricked-out tuners.
Whatever, it's best if you print a map of the convention center and mark where the products will be that suit your needs.
For instance, the North Hall features tools and equipment, mobile electronics and technology, restyling, car care and accessories.
The Central Hall features racing and performance, hot rod alley and the restoration marketplace.
In the South Halls (upstairs and down) are trucks, SUVs and off-road performance tires and wheels.
These are just the indoor displays. Outside are hundreds of customized cars and demonstrations.
This year there are displays from an unprecedented 14 auto makers at the show.
Ellen McKoy is SEMA's director of dealer relations. She puts on an “Auto Dealer Bootcamp” Nov. 2 at the convention center.
She says, “The SEMA Show offers dealers unparalleled access to the hot-selling products their customers want and a wealth of ways to create new profit centers throughout any dealership.”
Dave Skrobot is vice president of fixed operations training for the Automotive Sales College. He is at firstname.lastname@example.org.