Some random thoughts from the recent Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) and Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo (AAPEX) trade shows in Las Vegas:
It's hard to tell how many independent tire dealers actually attended Automotive Aftermarket Industry Week, which encompasses the SEMA and AAPEX shows, but there's no question these events drew huge crowds.
This year, the aisles at the Tire Industry Association (TIA)-sponsored Performance Tires and Wheels section of the SEMA Show were packed all week long. Even on the last day, which typically is slow, the aisles remained relatively full, with showgoers poring over the many tire, wheel and equipment displays and spending time talking with company representatives.
SEMA and AAPEX have done a great job creating exciting venues worth attending.
For TIA, which is closely aligned with the SEMA Show, the event's success is harder to gauge. With so many attendees from all segments of the automotive aftermarket walking the show floor, it's difficult for those in the tire end of the business to find each other. It's something we've been increasingly aware of every year at SEMA, especially as the show continues to grow by leaps and bounds.
That lessens one of the great benefits of attending national trade shows-networking.
TIA should continue to explore ways of bringing the tire industry together during this week-long event.
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It wasn't that long ago that the SEMA Show was a no-show for many tire company top brass. But not any longer.
This year a number of senior executives spent significant time at their companies' booths visiting with tire dealer customers and talking up their latest products.
In my mind, this reflects the renewed appreciation the tire makers have for the independent tire dealer channel, which continues to sell the majority of replacement tires in North America.
As busy as these executives are, they deserve credit for recognizing how important their presence is at the only national gathering of independent tire dealers each year.
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Is it just me, or are the clothes worn by some of the female models at SEMA show booths becoming skimpier and their poses more suggestive?
This year it seemed some of these models stepped across the line in terms of decency. One female model at a wheel booth wasn't even clothed above the waist and instead was covered with body paint designed to resemble a custom wheel.
Remember, this is a trade show, open to the public, for the automotive aftermarket-not a Victoria's Secret lingerie show.
At some booths, the crowds were so heavy they blocked the aisles as showgoers attempted to get a glimpse of a scantily clad model or get a poster signed. Yet I wonder how many of these attendees took time to view the product displays at these booths?
There's no question sex sells, but where does a company draw the line?
One way of judging the attire of some models at this year's show is whether you would feel comfortable taking your wife, young son or daughter to the event.
For me, the answer is no. What do you think?
Mr. Zielasko is editor and publisher of Tire Business.