Every year, it seems to get bigger. And more important.
Not too long ago, there were quite a few automotive aftermarket shows around the nation. The Automotive Parts and Accessories Association and the Automotive Service Industry Association shows were old and well established.
The Specialty Equipment Market Association show was quite a bit younger, but the heads of the three groups realized that if they wanted to grow, it made sense to combine their activities into one massive show each year.
Now we have this huge aftermarket show in Las Vegas every November. In the past few years, they've added tires so that just about anything you might be interested in seeing is on display during what they call Automotive Aftermarket Industry Week. This year's show took over the city, and it was simply overwhelming.
All the vehicle manufacturers were there as well, talking about their latest and greatest entries in the world of performance and excitement. It was a busy week for the car companies.
The event also is rapidly becoming one that every new-car dealer will want to attend, as well as just about any factory people who have input into their products, whether or not those products are performance-related.
The show or, to be correct, the multiple shows aren't all under one roof. They use two large convention halls and well over a million square feet. And if my cab drivers are correct, Automotive Aftermarket Industry Week has become the second-largest show in Las Vegas - after the big computer show.
As automobile companies struggle to make their models a little more exciting and as dealers look for ways to increase profits, this event has lots of potential for both. More and more dealers are interested in enhancing their cars and trucks by installing accessories. Hundreds of companies at this event have products that dealers should know about.
And if I were in the business of engineering or designing cars or trucks, I think I'd have to spend a day or two just sort of wandering around the shows seeing what's new and what aftermarket items seem to be hot. There are plenty of products that could make Detroit iron a lot more appealing.
It's a wild week and one the auto industry should take advantage of. It's worth the time.