The show is only for professionals – and yet the SEMA show in Las Vegas was crowded. SEMA stands for Specialty Equipment Market Association and what is offered for tuning fans is even amazing for the protz-habited Las Vegas lovers. SEMA stands for Specialty Equipment Market Association, an industry body that covers the United States’ US$39 billion industry for people looking to customise their cars.
The numbers behind the SEMA Show are staggering – 33,980 square metres of exhibition space in and around the Las Vegas convention centre plays host to 1500 custom cars that 140,000 registered visitors will look at over the four day show. While the vast majority of the 2400 exhibitors are small to medium sized businesses creating aftermarket parts, in recent years the SEMA Show has become an important showcase for major car brands to demonstrate the scope for customisation on their vehicles – and just show off the creative side of the company’s designers.
In 2016 Ford, Chevrolet, Dodge, Jeep, Chrysler, Ram, Toyota, Lexus, Hyundai, Kia, Mazda, BMW, Mini and Honda were all represented at the show.For the big three – Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler Group – the show is incredibly important. All three offer an extensive range of parts to not only modify and customise their current range of vehicles, but there is also big business in parts for older models.
Mopar, Fiat Chrysler’s in-house parts and accessories division, used SEMA to launch its new ‘plug-and-play’ Hemi crate engines, a 5.7- or 6.4-litre V8 complete with electrical wiring system ready for any model Dodge, Jeep or Chrysler – vintage or contemporary – its customers want to install it in.
Chevrolet uses the show each year to launch its annual parts catalogue, a showcase of every bit you can bolt onto cars.
But for brands like Hyundai and Kia the expo is a chance to show off its creative side and inspire potential buyers to create their own special editions. Tuning Highlights all araund. Kia Sorento, converted to snowcat, Toyota Land Speed Cruiser, which reaches a top speed of 354 km / h. Hyundai Santa Fe with 1,400 hp, the brand-new Dodge Challenger, the Ford F150 Raptor in the tuning look, the Ford Mustang GT4 for the racetrack.
There is simply too much to take in at SEMA. You could spend all four days walking around the show and still not fully appreciate all it has to offer. But there is still the famous after-show, which can also be enjoyed by those who were not able to get any of the coveted tickets as a non-specialist visitor. At the end of the trade fairs, the tuned pieces come out of the halls. Not only is it worth a trip to Las Vegas …