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SEMA Show Drives Into Las Vegas with Historic Attendance

Kathy Monte - News Editor
SEMA Show Drives Into Las Vegas with Historic Attendance

LAS VEGAS — The highlight of the 2023 SEMA Show, the world’s largest automotive specialty equipment trade show, was historic attendance driven by support from the automotive aftermarket industry. There were 2,200 exhibitors and approximately 160,000 attendees.

Another highlight was FutureTech Studio, an expansive and immersive experience dedicated to “what’s next” in alternative propulsion, including renewable fuels, hybrid technology and more. The area featured world-class builds, engaging discussions, and education to keep members on the cutting edge of technology developments and those developments’ impact on the aftermarket.

A New Products Showcase was a popular must-see for those seeking the latest and greatest innovations in styling and performance products from hundreds of start-ups and legendary exhibitors. One of the show’s focal points, the showcase featured hundreds of new products and industry innovations and connected buyers directly with exhibitors via the SEMA Show app.

Attendees came to the SEMA Show from the United States and worldwide to make connections and discover the latest products that will power growth for their businesses. The relationships built at SEMA will set the course in the aftermarket industry for the coming year.

The show offered a best-in-class professional development program with nearly 100 sessions on various topics and engaged attendees with industry-relevant topics. The sessions kept SEMA members on the cutting edge of industry trends and gave them a competitive edge in a dynamic marketplace.

A featured speaker was Tim Tebow, best known as a two-time NCAA football national champion, Heisman Trophy winner, first-round NFL draft pick and a former professional baseball player. His speech, “Living a Life of Significance,” inspired all. Other speakers of significance included Julia Landauer, a two-times champion racecar driver; Carolyn Jackson, Vice President of Brand Strategy and Chief Philanthropy Officer for Barrett-Jackson Auction Company; Margaret Hoover, host of PBS’ Firing Line with Margaret Hoover; and Willy T. Ribbs, a legendary African American race car driver.

Related SEMA Heads Full Throttle Into the Consumer Market with SEMA Fest

SEMA Fest Rocks Vegas

Nitro Circus’ BMX and Motocross riders sailed high into the sky at SEMA Fest.
Nitro Circus’ BMX and Motocross riders sailed high into the sky at SEMA Fest.

New this year was SEMA Fest, a two-day outdoor festival held at the Las Vegas Festival Grounds, which were turned into the “ultimate automotive playground.” It brought together automotive enthusiasts, the biggest names in music and the hottest automotive brands in a large-scale festival format.

It received strong consumer support, drawing over 16,000 fans for the two-day festival. With two stages featuring 22 different musical acts including Imagine Dragons, Incubus, Wiz Khalifa, AJR, Third Eye Blind and Bush, and a variety of unforgettable, hi-octane motorsports entertainment including demonstrations from Nitro Circus, Formula Drift and Hoonigan, it’s no wonder the support was so strong.

“We saw changes in the marketplace in the way businesses interacted with the consumer, so we created a consumer membership to make that connection even more valuable and to open our industry to everyone,” Tom Gattuso, SEMA VP of Events, said. “Once we developed that relationship, we wanted to create an event so they could connect in a B2C way in the same way they connected in B2B.”

SEMA has become a lifestyle event combining entertainment and vehicle demonstrations.
“Several major events, including the SEMA Show, SEMA Fest, NASCAR, NHRA, the Concours at the Wynn and Formula One, show that there’s clearly an excitement for automotive events in the city, and we want to be part of that synergy and keep SEMA at the forefront of change,” Gattuso said.

Reach Tom Gattuso at tomg@sema.org

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