It's that time of year again, the time when aftermarket companies in the auto industry come out to show their stuff. I'm speaking of AAIW (Automotive Aftermarket Industry Week). This is actually two shows wrapped into one held once a year. The first show is SEMA (Specialty Equipment Marketing Association) and the second is AAPEX (Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo). This is one of the largest conventions of the year for Las Vegas and brings over $2 million in revenue in just 5 days to Sin City.
My team member Tim Clunen and I enjoying "freebies"
This made year number seven for me at the show and every year it gets better, bigger and busier. To explain what this is in a nutshell; almost every manufacturer of automotive parts from wheels to windshield wipers, comes out to show their products to potential clients. Most auto manufacturers make the show to display "one-off" and new models. This is a B2B show and is not open to the general public.
The well awaited 2008 Pontiac G8 GT, look out BMW 5series
The HF-S Honda Accord another SEMA exclusive.
This show has become a popular place not only for cars but also for stars. From rappers like Snoop Dogg, to rod builders Chip Foose and Boyd Coddington. Everyone with passion for the automobile is at this show. Chances are if you can think of a part or a car you will find it. This show brings the latest trends to the table as well. One year the show may be taken over by "Lambo" doors while the next will be every car on spinners. Either way, this is the "it" show to keep your finger on the pulse of this $4.5 billion dollar business we call aftermarket.
The man, Richard Petty signing autographs
Chip Foose,custom rod builder filming Overhaulin' series for TLC
For those in the industry this is a "must see" if you get a chance. Now you know why the big buzz about this wonderful week of cool cars, import models and stars. It's hard to find another business that has such a rich lifestyle around it. While many will continue to look at a car as a simple way to get around, more and more of us recognize it as an extension of whom we are or who we want to be.
As a part of its partnership with the 2007 SEMA Show to celebrate it's anniversary, Hot Wheels awarded customized vehicles with the Hot Wheels Design Award. These awards recognized vehicles that embodied the essence of the Hot Wheels, including speed, power, performance and attitude.
Winners of the awards included:
Hot Wheels Speed Award: The Speed Demon Bonneville Race Car (Poteet and Main)
Hot Wheels Power Award: '70 Cheville in the Bassani Exhaust booth
Hot Wheels Performance Award: 350Z Roadster Drift car in the Nissan booth. (driven by R. Unser)
Hot Wheels Attitude Award: '37 Ford R-Window in the Weld Racing/Wheels booth
Hot Wheels Designer's Choice Award: Chrysler SR392 Roadster in Mopar booth