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SEMA Show Recap [SEMA Show 2012]


So over two thousand different businesses came to Las Vegas, NV to show off the latest and greatest products to an estimated crowd of 60,000 industry professionals.  Each company brought out their best tricks to grab your attention and create new business.  Only time will tell if it was worth it for most companies but we were all entertained by the incredible eye candy this show dazzles us with.  Below is a quick recap of the highlights that I felt were most relevant to me.

Ask-a-Pro Authors

One of the things that we were really excited about for our trip to SEMA was to get together with some of the Ask-a-Pro authors. Below we have a picture Mike and I at breakfast with Todd Cooperider, Greg Nichols, and DJ Mayo. It was great to meet some of them for the first time in person and have the opportunity to hang with them during the show. These guys are detailing superstars!

Ask-a-Pro Authors SEMA 2012 Breakfast

What Stood Out To Me

Many new detailing products continue to push the boundaries of what is possible and help further the detailing industry as a whole.  Optimum is releasing quite a few new products including more semi-permanent coatings for the glass and headlights to match their Opti-Coat products used more commonly on the paint.  Combine these new products with the new 22ple semi-permanent coatings and you see a strong push towards these more durable choices that last over a year.  We got to meet with the owner of 22ple, Tan Tay Shyan (second from the right in photo below), and the products are remarkable because of their durability and gloss. These types of products keep getting easier to use and more effective so expect more of this!

Ask-a-Pro Detailer Authors with Tan Tay Shyan from 22PLE

Vinyl wraps are here to stay.   There was an abundance of companies offering materials and services for wrapping a vehicle ranging from the big boys like 3M to much smaller local shops.  We saw hundreds of cars wrapped, ranging from the relatively inexpensive all the way up to six figure exotics.   I figure it’s a relatively inexpensive way to make your vehicle really stand out and it essentially preserves the finish beneath it.  If you don’t like it or if you want to sell it and remove the wrap that can be done at a semi-reasonable cost.  In response to this car care manufacturers are going to be trying to develop more products like the Chemical Guys Meticulous Matte Detailer, which target this growing market.

Red Vinyl Wrapped Ferrari

Clay bars seem to be fading while different types of pads are replacing them.  Products like the NanoSkin AutoScrub Pads are helping detailers clean faster while saving money since you can keep re-using the pads.  Optimum has their Opti-Eraser coming out and we saw other manufacturer’s pushing similar items.  These products are more expensive up front but in the long run they last much longer and do a very thorough job so expect to see more.

Optimum Opti-Eraser

The exotic cars are well represented here but the mid level luxury brands seemed to be missing.  Lexus and Acura had a small display but there was little to no representation from Infiniti, BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Volvo, Range Rover, etc.   Select booths had some of these cars but the US or North America divisions of these brands didn’t actually show up which was disappointing.

SEMA Award Winners

The Ford Mustang and Scion FR-S dominated the show and awards.  Despite the robust 2+ million square feet of showroom floor space you could rarely be far from a Ford Mustang or the brand new Scion FR-S.  These two cars were literally everywhere, I would put a ballpark estimate that just inside the show we saw about 35+ FR-S’s and 40+ Mustangs, partially because of the Carroll Shelby Tribute.  There could have been a lot more too, this is just an estimate from the areas we saw the most.  Here is a press release from SEMA announcing the awards.

This year’s SEMA Award for the top trending vehicle models in four categories were announced today (October 30th, 2012) at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas.  The Ford Mustang was named the Hottest Car, the Scion FR-S took the Hottest Sport Compact Honors, the Ford F-Series won Hottest Truck and the Jeep Wrangler received the Hottest 4×4-SUV Award.

“The SEMA Show has always been about innovative products and trends”, said Chris Kersting, SEMA president and CEO.  “The SEMA Award amplifies the industry’s special ability to identify and set trends that consumers follow”.

The SEMA Award recognizes vehicle models that specialty-equipment manufacturers believe are the best platforms for accessorization and that showcase the year’s coolest products.  It also underscores the cooperative relationship between the automakers and SEMA member companies.

“The SEMA Award helps guide consumers toward the hottest-trending and most accessory friendly vehicles on the market” added Kersting.  “Our SEMA Show exhibitors are industry visionaries who determine the winners of the SEMA Award based on the vehicles they showcase in their booths.  Each booth vehicle represents a ‘vote’ and the most prominent models in each category are the winners.”

Scion FR-S Award Winner Hottest Sport Compact Car

Shelby Mustang GT350


Do & Don’t List

I would recommend you Do…..

  • stretch, drink water, stop and eat, it’s a ton of walking and talking
  • have fun, introduce yourself to people and open up to new ideas and concepts
  • grab your favorite free stuff but don’t let it weigh you down and slow you up, how much do you really need?
  • make sure you see some of your favorites booths early because time flies and you may not make it otherwise
  • check out each major section, even if it’s not “your thing” you may be amazed at what catches your eye
  • wear comfortable shoes, you’re walking and standing basically the whole day
  • arrive early and give yourself plenty of time to see as much as possible
  • bring hand sanitizer
  • ask questions and get involved so you maximize your time there

I would recommend you Do Not…..

  • bring a rolling suit case for all your free stuff, it’s tough to keep track of and to steer through the crowds, again how much free stuff do you really need?
  • don’t make a rigid time schedule, it’s okay to have a plan but be flexible because you’re going to spend extra time at some booths, have some great conversations and view demonstrations that could delay you
  • wait on line for a custom made sub, it was mediocre at best and it was almost 30 minutes of waiting, instead get a pre-made one that is virtually just as fresh
  • visit the food court, the concession stands in the corners were much faster and the  food was better relatively speaking
  • plan on getting a cab quickly after the show, a few thousand people have the same idea
  • count on your phone working 100%, reception was spotty for every virtually every carrier, even new phones with the 4G LTE

Final Recap

So in summary the show was awesome as expected and it was great to see so many interesting people, products, businesses, fellow detailers and more.  Thank you for following our Twitter, Facebook and AAP Blog page throughout the show, we hope it was informative and entertaining.  Your participation was awesome and we hope you enjoyed the posts and contests we had running.  Most importantly I can’t wait to do it all over again, minus Superstorm Sandy, at SEMA 2013!

November 14th, 2012 | SEMA

1 comment on SEMA Show Recap [SEMA Show 2012]

  1. ManCave Mike says:

    Great right up! Hope to see you guys at SEMA this year. Love the 22ple here in Colorado!

    Mike w/ Man Cave Detail

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