2005 SEMA Show, Part II (11/2/2005)
Subaru spec.B, Honda's hardcore Civic, Hyundai's new Accent hatch.
SEMA Making Warranty Pledge
It’s the era of customization, and the numbers show that American motorists are spending record amounts to personalize their vehicles. Retail spending on products sold by members of the Specialty Equipment Market Association hit $31 billion last year, a 35-percent increase in five years, noted SEMA Director Chris Kersting. And despite a softening economy, most observers expect the trend to continue. An estimated 120,000 people will walk through the annual SEMA show in
SEMA Chris KerstingEnlarge Photo
SEMA hasn’t ignored a trend towards more reliable products, whose manufacturers stand behind what they build. The trade group is launching a multi-city pilot program, dubbed ProPledge designed to instill confidence in aftermarket parts buyer, said Kersting. Manufacturers and installers who choose to participate will be required to provide a standardized warranty — for three years and 36,000 miles — and ensure that their parts and work won’t damage other vehicle components. The ProPledge launches early next year and SEMA hopes eventually to extend it nationwide.
Kia’s Hunt: Used Buyers Can Get New Kias
Len Hunt Kia CEOEnlarge Photo
VW Sets New Hallmark
Volkswagen, meanwhile, made news in a variety of different ways during the opening session of Aftermarket Week. The German automaker put in its first appearance at SEMA, for one thing. That’s belated, considering VWs have always been popular platforms for customizers, dating back to the days when Beetles were given Rolls-Royce grilles or transformed into dune buggies. Company officials noted that they are rapidly expanding the number of parts available from the factory. Last year saw record sales of $690 million, said aftermarket manager Charlie Lewis, “and the stage is set for another record-breaking year.”