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If you’re reading this magazine you’re probably familiar with the annual SEMA show in Las Vegas. This huge automotive aftermarket trade occurs every year around Halloween and is a four-day long convention that takes over the entire Las Vegas Convention Center where a couple of thousand exhibitors interact with over 100,000 attendees. You have to have an industry affiliation to get into the show it’s not open to the public. It’s an amazing and overwhelming show put on by the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA). But the problem is, it’s overwhelming. We never come close to seeing everything we want to, there is just too much to do.
We recently attended the SEMA Motorsports Parts Media Conference (MPMC) show at the Embassy Suites hotel in Santa Ana California. This show is put on every year by SEMA, and is best described as speed dating for media and automotive aftermarket companies. For us as part of the media group, the MPMC show is as valuable or more so then SEMA because it lets us talk one-on-one and in-depth to over 40 of the 100 participating aftermarket companies to find out about their newest and hottest products.
The format of the SEMA MPMC show is very unique. The 100 exhibiting companies occupy suites on four floors of the hotel. The living room part of each of the suites is the display and meeting area for the company. The day is organized in 30 minute blocks with each of the three days starts with our first meeting at 9:00 PM. We sit down with a company, some of whom we are very familiar and others we don’t know. We get 30 minutes of time to learn about the company if they’re new to us, catch up with old friends at familiar companies, and learn about what’s new for the year.
Because only automotive media editors and such get to attend this amazing show (kudos to SEMA and the MPMC council for putting on another great show this year), and few of you readers get to experience the mayhem, wonder and fun that is MPMC, we decided to share a few of our favorite products, gadgets and news from this year’s show.
First on the list is a neat little gadget that’s made by SPX Service Solutions. This company specializes in diagnostic tools for the consumer and professional, and they are coming out with a tool that is specifically designed for Smartphones that can read codes from your car through the OBD2 port. The product is called U-Scan, and it works in combination with a Bluetooth ‘dongle’, and an app on your Smartphone. The app communicates with the Bluetooth dongle which is connected to your OBD2 port. This allows you to read any codes that have been thrown in the vehicle and can save hundreds of dollars by saving a trip to the dealership just to find out why your check engine light is on. This will be a very cool product to have handy when it makes its debut in the spring or summer. You will have a choice of levels of apps ranging from free basic code reader to advanced apps that reference an extensive database of causes for codes built over years by a group effort of ASE technicians and companies like SPX.
|VP Fuels retail stations, coming soon to a corner near you!|
Next is an exciting news announcement from VP Racing Fuels. Of course, they are continuing to make excellent race fuel for our race cars, but they are also dipping their toes into the consumer retail gas station market. They are in the process of building VP branded gas stations around the country that sell regular unleaded fuels in the standard octane ratings, as well as some the stations selling a selection of racing fuels. VP described it as a benefit of VP’s brand program, along with “savings of hundreds of dollars a month” per site from VP’s credit card program. VP will also be selling some other performance products, including some fuel additives that can be put into your tank right at the pump with a touch of a button. We can’t wait to see some VP Racing gas stations around the US!
|Don’t let the anti-car hobby lobby trample on our rights to pursue our beloved hobby and sport, join SAN today!|
One of the most unexpected areas of passion came from SEMA itself. We met with them on the last day of the show, and as always were very impressed with their passion and drive (pardon the pun) for the automotive aftermarket industry. In 1997 SEMA formed a partnership between vehicle enthusiasts and the automotive aftermarket called SAN, which stands for SEMA Action Network. This group focuses on the governmental rules and regulations related to smog laws, classic car registration and other regulations. They are a very influential group on the political side of the car world, and a very valuable resource for those of you who feel inclined to speak up about a regulation or law that affects you, your car, and your hobby. They also have started Racers Against Street Racing, which is an organization that focuses on getting racing off the streets and onto the track where it belongs. This is a topic that is growing in popularity, especially with the closing of the tracks around Southern California. This is a great group to be a part of and will help to better the aftermarket industry, your community and your personal safety.