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Thursday, October 27, 2016

SEMA - who is it for and is it worth going to for our diesel enthusiasts???

This time of year many see FB posts and see industry people heading to Vegas for the SEMA Show. Many shop owners and enthusiasts say to me wish I could go and is it worth it?

I have gone for over 20 years and have watched it grow to a large show, back down in size and then back up! The show is nothing like it was in the beginning, the early shows were strictly auto/truck aftermarket companies with products a vehicle owner could add-on. They were there to sell to over 100 WDs and many vehicle accessory shops that came to the show to find new products to sell.



There is still some of that going on but you have to look pretty hard to find them, most of the show is now dressed up vehicles and the big three OEM manufacturers showing off their new vehicles. The show used to not have foreign companies selling parts but is now over 25% of the show. Now there are little over 30 WDs and many big companies own most of them. The business has changed and progressed in many ways over the years.

For the diesel enthusiasts there is not much to look at since there are about 10 diesel vehicles displayed of over 150 gas vehicles. It is interesting to see the custom rods, cars and trucks with many parts from the big name aftermarket companies.

The show is heavily attended by foreign customers buying or viewing American products. The show is so crowded that the main halls are even hard to walk through and view items. My suggestion would be go to the truck hall first because on the first day the traffic is fairly light. And we want to see truck items any way, you can skip the back half of that hall since it is mostly non-truck items.

If you like wheels and tires go below the truck hall and view what is available but very little is for the truck market, maybe 20%. Visit the new vendors which got put into a tent outside the first day! You'll find them eager to talk to you and many are the newer manufacturers and products.

It is well worth it to view the custom vehicles outside and many get put into the back lot behind the main building where they let some buses off. The main feature ones get put out in front from the companies who have been there a long time.

The Performance hall starts to clear out some by Thursday and is easily viewed on Friday morning but the evening show out front is a great show to see.

The Electronics hall has become a catch-all for electronics, tools, paint, carpet, fluids and finishes for vehicles. It is worth walking through if you want to see those companies for additional shop items.

The Performance Hall is where all the big names are including the OEMs, you could easily spend 2 days viewing everything in that hall. Most of the companies are for the gas market but there are some with diesel products in the smaller North halls. Many of our sponsors are in those halls along with some other smaller manufacturers with great products.

They say if you walk down every aisle it is well over 27 miles, we walk on average 7-8 miles a day picking out companies in advance to see and talk with about their products.

Bring good walking shoes, don't worry about dress shoes most of the time no one can see your feet because of too many people. To look business like wear dockers and polo or company shirts. Have business cards ready and your badge which can be scanned by the companies.

If you have never been it is an experience! Do you feel like partying after walking 7-8 miles during the day, not me! I usually have a few cocktails, a good dinner and then ready for bed. If you have never been to Vegas walking the New Vegas strip is worth the site or for  people watching go to Freemont street to the old Vegas and walk it.

And of course there is always the sister AAPEX Show at the Sands Convention Center which is hard parts, fluids, batteries and truck stop accessories. Same badge works for both venues!

Good luck if you are going and us diesel business people can be found at the end of the day at the Marriott bar across the street on Convention Drive between 4:30 and 6pm most of the days.

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