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For other uses, see SEMA (disambiguation).
SEMA logo

Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) of the automobile aftermarket was formed in 1963 by Roy Richter, Ed Iskenderian, Willie Garner, Bob Hedman, Robert E. Wyman, John Bartlett, Phil Weiand, Jr., Al Segal, Dean Moon, and Vic Edelbrock, Jr. and now consists of 6,383 companies worldwide, bringing together aftermarket manufacturers, original equipment manufacturers, media, car dealers, specialty equipment distributors, installers, retailers and restoration specialists.[citation needed]

Products in this $29.99 billion-a-year industry[citation needed] include performance and racing components, cosmetic and functional accessories, wheels and tires, mobile electronics, safety products, restoration parts, handling equipment, drivetrain parts and more. The industry covers Hot rods, muscle cars, classics, luxury vehicles, sport compacts, street rods, light trucks (off-road and sport trucks) SUVs, Custom and recreational vehicles.[citation needed]

SEMA provides services for employees of its member companies that include education and professional development, market research, legislative and regulatory advocacy, industry publications, international business development and business to business events.[citation needed]

The largest of the SEMA events held annually during the first week of November is the SEMA Show[citation needed] at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada in conjunction with the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Week. As part of this event, SEMA and other automotive aftermarket trade groups make-up one of the single largest events on the Las Vegas calendar. This is a title formerly held by the now defunct COMDEX show.[citation needed] This auto show is not open to the public. Registration as media, manufacturer, buyer or exhibitor is required.[citation needed]


The 2008 SEMA Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center

Originally, the SEMA acronym stood for Speed Equipment Manufacturing Association.[citation needed] In 1970, government regulations became an issue and the name was changed to Specialty Equipment Market Association to improve the overall image of the association.[citation needed]

Founding members of SEMA

Company Founder
Ansen Automotive Engineering Louie Senter
B&M Automotive Products Bob Spar
Cragar Industries Inc. Roy Richter
Eelco Manufacturing & Supply Els Lohn
Grant Industries John Bartlett
Ed Iskenderian Racing Cams Ed Iskenderian
Milodon Engineering Don Alderson
Moon Equipment Company Dean Moon
Schiefer Manufacturing Paul Schiefer
Trans Dapt Willie Garner
Weber Speed Equipment Harry Weber
Weiand Power & Racing Phil Weiand
Dempsey Wilson Racing Cams Dempsey Wilson

Charter members of SEMA

Company Founder
American Racing Equipment Jim Ellison
CAE Racing Products Jim Culbertson
Chuchua's 4-Wheel Drive Brian Chuchua
Crankshaft Company Huey Holik
Edelbrock Equipment Company Vic Edelbrock
Enginetics Ruth Wilson
Halibrand Engineering Ted Halibrand
Hedman Manufacturing Company Bob Hedman
Hurst-Campbell, Inc. George Hurst
Inglewood Tire Company Bill Krech
J.E. Engineering Bill Pendleton
Offenhauser Sales Fred Offenhauser
Potvin Equipment Chuck Potvin
Scott Engineering
Segal Automotive Al Segal
Shelby American Carroll Shelby
Spalding Products Tom Spalding
Speed-A-Motive Harold Osborne
Thomas Automotive Products Bill Thomas
Traction Master Company Maury Leventhal
W&H Engineering Bob Wyman

Former Chairmen

Chairman Company
Jim Cozzie Certus Strategic Partners
Mitch Williams Pilot Automotive Inc.
Corky Coker Coker Tire Company
Nate Shelton B&M Automotive
Charlie Van Cleve Hedman Manufacturing Inc.
Brian Appelgate B&M Automotive
Ronald Coleman Competition Cams, Inc.

SEMA Show[edit]

The exhibit hall of the 2009 SEMA Show.

The SEMA Show is held at the Las Vegas Convention Center.[1] It is among the largest convention held in Vegas. SEMA Show 2013 drew about 60,000 buyers.[2] The displays are segmented into 12 sections, and a New Products Showcase featured nearly 2,000 newly introduced parts, tools and components. In addition, the SEMA Show provides attendees with educational seminars, product demonstrations, special events, networking opportunities and more.[citation needed]

The first SEMA Show was held in 1967 in the basement of Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, before moving to the new Anaheim Stadium in 1974. In 1967 they had 98 manufacturers manning booths and an attendance of 3000 people. In 1967 there were 5 cars on display, including a 1967 Ford GT40 in the Shelby America booth and a drag race prepped Dodge Dart.[3] The early shows, held in Los Angeles and Anaheim, California, were exclusively card-table-and-masking-tape affairs,[vague] but by the early 1970s, sophisticated display and marketing techniques were visible throughout the show.[citation needed] At that time, a Show booth cost $375. The Show moved to a different location—the new and expansive Anaheim Convention Center (across from Disneyland).[citation needed] Booth sales and attendance kept increasing dramatically.[citation needed] The SEMA Show continued to cater to the needs of industry representatives rather than consumers and began to develop a reputation as a place where business was expected and completed.[citation needed] As part of the ’70s SEMA Shows, one of the must-attend events was Doris Herbert’s Drag News party, which was topped only by the SEMA Awards Banquet.[citation needed]

Then, in 1975, the featured entertainers for the Awards Banquet were April Stevens and Nino Tempo.[citation needed] In 1976 (the last SEMA Show to be held in Anaheim), the Show was a sellout with 570 booths and, in fact, had to turn away a number of manufacturers due to lack of space.[citation needed] Over the next few years, the Show grew much larger and soon filled the Convention Center to capacity and was moved to Las Vegas in 1977.[citation needed] Las Vegas was chosen because it provided room for continued growth, dependable weather, big-name entertainment and a world-famous location.[citation needed]

In 1977, SEMA’s Awards Banquet (run by Sheldon Konblett) was held at the Sands Hotel and featured Norm Crosby.[citation needed] Sheldon Konblett also developed the design for the SEMA trophies, which have come to symbolize product innovation and excellence in the industry.[citation needed]

In 1979, Nile Cornelison began plans for his Innovations Day seminars program, which has since become one of the major annual association programs.[citation needed] The following year, Innovations Day was a smashing success and featured Lee A. Iacocca as the keynote speaker.[citation needed] Never before had any activity held on the day prior to the Show’s opening attracted anything near the more than 460 who attended.[citation needed] That same year, Willie Nelson was the featured entertainer for the SEMA Awards Banquet.[citation needed]

In 1983, the import parts section of the SEMA Show was added under the auspices of sister organization, Automotive International Association, thus changing the name to SEMA/AI Show.[citation needed] In 1984, there was a combined SEMA/AI/APAA Show in Las Vegas.[citation needed] The Industry Awards Banquet was held at the MGM Grand, and the entertainment was provided by The Platters and Gallagher.[citation needed] By all indications, the move to Las Vegas has been an overwhelming success.[citation needed] In 1986, Car and Driver magazine noted that the Show was a “…prime opportunity to monitor the West Coast car culture without breathing the smog or fighting the freeways.”[citation needed] That same year, Jay Leno made his first appearance on stage at the SEMA Show Industry Awards Banquet.[citation needed]

In 1990, the onsite registration fee was increased to $20.[citation needed] All exhibitors are eligible to submit an entry into the New Products Showcase at no cost.[citation needed] In 1992, the SEMA/AI Show and the Automotive Service Industry, Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association and Automotive Parts & Accessories Association (ASIA/MEMA/APAA Show—formerly the Big I/APAA Show) came together to form Automotive Aftermarket Industry Week (AAIW) in Las Vegas.[citation needed] The two shows together boasted in excess of 1.6 million square feet of exhibits.[citation needed]

In 1997, the National Tire Dealers & Retreaders (NTDRA) trade show was combined with the SEMA Show.[citation needed] Affiliating the 77-year-old NTDRA trade show with the SEMA portion of AAIW provided benefits to both sides.[citation needed] In the same year, Goodyear sponsored the first SEMA-NTDRA “Racers’ Night Out” at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.[citation needed]

In 1998, the SEMA Show broke the 500,000-foot mark with 502,912 net square feet of rented space.[citation needed] Each year since then, the Show has set new records of some sort.[citation needed] It now occupies more than one million net square feet, draws more than 3,000 media, and has a buyer attendance in excess of 60,000.[citation needed] The SEMA Show now routinely brings together more than 2,000 exhibitors, occupying in excess of 10,000 booths.[citation needed] Total attendance at the Show now tops 100,000 manufacturers, buyers and other industry representatives, making contacts and doing business.[4]

SEMA awards[edit]

Since 2003, the GT awards have been presented at the SEMA Auto Convention, and these include categories such as Best in Show, Best Hot Rod, and Best European Import.[5][6][7] SEMA was also presented with the Grassroots Motorsports Editors' Choice Award in 2012.[8]

SEMA Action Network[edit]

Since 1997, the SEMA Action Network (SAN) has been a grassroots[dubious ] network for the automotive hobby.[citation needed] The SEMA Action Network is a partnership between enthusiasts, vehicle clubs and members of the specialty automotive parts industry in the United States and Canada[who?] who have joined forces to promote automotive hobby-friendly legislation and oppose, what they consider, unfair laws.[citation needed]

In the past, the SAN has successfully:[citation needed]

  • Enacted street rod and custom vehicle (including kit cars and replicas) registration and titling laws in over 20 states
  • Protected classic vehicles waiting to be restored on private property from confiscation
  • Safeguarded legal off-road nitrous oxide use with SAN model legislation
  • Defended enthusiast’s right to use aftermarket exhaust systems
  • Junked state level “Cash for Clunkers” legislation
  • Enacted legislation to lower taxes and fees for hobbyist vehicles
  • Advocated to ensure public lands remain open to responsible off-road recreation

See also[edit]


External links[edit]