06

THE FUTURE

INDUSTRY PERSPECTIVES

The SEMA research data tells us that the aftermarket automotive industry continues to grow, and we can feel that on the street and in our sales reports. We are enjoying a very hot economy, Americans are reinvesting in America, and nothing is more classic American than the hot rod.

The opportunity at hand is how best to position the SEMA membership to take full advantage of this amazing economy, positive outlook on the hot rod culture, and the coming evolution of the automobile. We have already seen autonomous vehicles, ride sharing, connected vehicles, and electric vehicles (EV) have an impact on our market. More than just a headline, these coming technologies are poised to change the automotive aftermarket in ways that we don’t yet understand. For manufacturing experts, they must develop a strategy that supports their legacy products while increasing their investment in future technology.

The described opportunity is a direct result of people, and especially young people, having a lack of interest in cars in general. Of the threats that we face, I’m very concerned about our children simply having no passion toward cars. Ride sharing is decreasing the interest in personalizing a vehicle, and with that goes the main source of revenue for the SEMA body.

Constantly increasing regulatory changes threaten our industry. It is a daily struggle on the manufacturing side of this industry to keep within the very tight guidelines set for us. Exhaust systems, air intake systems, calibration changes, and power adders are heavily scrutinized. While SEMA (and the OEMs) have worked with CARB to develop a path to market, this process costs our industry millions of dollars in manpower, time, and lost revenue.

Another threat that I see is a fractured media base with multiple sources of content struggling to get attention. Meanwhile, the competition for attention (from other industries) has never been so intense. Finding a way to break through the clutter, and social feed, will help ensure a bright future for the SEMA membership.

A BRIGHT FUTURE

Of the issues identified above, the coming industrial change caused by technology (autonomous vehicles, ride sharing, connected cars, EV) concerns me the most.

We are faced with both a cultural and technological change in the landscape of the automobile. This isn’t an evolutionary development (like fuel injection or an overdrive transmission), we are talking about the removal of the driver from the driving experience. The timeline of this transition is in question, and the complete adoption of this technology seems years away. However, as we slowly increase the distance between the driver/owner and the thrill of driving a car, the passion that fuels our industry is challenged. This passion has lead our constituents and our end consumers to modify the automobile for over 100 years.

The automotive aftermarket industry is well known as a very resourceful group of individual entrepreneurs. Since its beginning, the SEMA membership has been able to take a production car and rapidly evolve that platform. This culture of risk taking, excitement, and daring engineering will be needed to take advantage of the autonomous/ride sharing/EV movement. SEMA will need to invest in understanding these technologies and offer insights to our members.

We will need to work with the OEMs to anticipate what products are coming, identify customization potential, and quickly adapt. SEMA will need to study the projected timeline of each technology, propose when these changes will impact the industry, and help the SEMA members transition to this change

SEMA

I have been fortunate to have seen SEMA at its best on several occasions as an attendee of 15 SEMA trade shows. I have also seen SEMA in action as a lobbying group as part of the EROD initiative – a team effort between SEMA lobbyists, SEMA legal staff, and GM performance engineering.

The SEMA board must pursue those initiatives that threaten our industry. Where SEMA has done well was with the recent work to protect the future of sportsman racing by initiating the RPM Act. I think SEMA should put even more emphasis into watching, reporting, and fighting any entity (the EPA in this example) that threatens our industry. Since the firearms industry and the aftermarket automotive industries close in size, the lobbying work that the NRA has done for decades could serve as a model of how to fight legislature such as the EPA’s attack on our sportsman racecars.

I am concerned that SEMA may be spread too thin. I suggest that the board commissions a study to define every initiative that is currently being worked on; evaluate how effective that initiative is at achieving SEMA’s mission statement; and then discontinue all those initiatives that do not serve the SEMA constituents. We need to clearly define what SEMA stands for and ensure that the board focuses all activities on reaching that goal.

The acquisition of PRI by SEMA was a brilliant move on many fronts. The excitement that PRI brings to the constituents is real and palpable. The SEMA board should add more support for PRI and the motorsports industry that it represents.

SEMA needs to continue to take advantage of every opportunity for youth engagement. This must be a focus. We must develop more “selfie moments” for our youngest members to share and, therefore, become advocates and future leaders for our industry.

SHORT BIOGRAPHY

POLITICAL RESUME

Founder of MOMS Racing

A Non Profit Heads Up Pro Tree Drag Racing Organization

’95 – ‘08

Ph.D. with Distinction in Anatomy and Cell Biology

SUNY Upstate Medical Center, Syracuse, NY

'97 - '05

Product Integration Specialist

GM Performance Parts

’11 – ‘15

'94 - Present

Contributing Editor & Photographer

Popular Hot Rodding, Hot Rod, Vette, Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords

'97

Postdoctoral Assistant

University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH

’06 – ‘11

Performance Marketing Manager, Strategy & Planning

Chevrolet Performance

Fortify our performance rights, engage our youth, and prepare a bright future for the automotive aftermarket.

Thank you for your support.

Check out Dr. Meyer's SEMA Board of Directors Website Here!

 

SEMA Members go here to vote!

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