The Specialty Equipment Market Association next year will launch another show to help drive sales of the growing automotive specialty equipment industry.
For five years, SEMA has hosted a West Coast show for consumers and accessory dealers. The event, held in Los Angeles, targets the sport compact youth market. It features the latest specialty equipment as well as fashion, music and entertainment.
Next year it will add a show in Atlantic City, N.J.
"The Eastern region holds great potential for this market," SEMA President Christopher Kersting says.
HKS U.S.A. of Gardena, Calif., which makes and sells high-performance engine components and systems, has attended each West Coast show.
Willie Yee, HKS product development supervisor, says the company likely will attend the Atlantic City show, too. "The show pays off pretty well," he says. "It's very unique in its appeal to its target market."
Last April the show drew a record number of trade buyers and consumers - 13,000 people over three days. It included exhibits by 121 companies, including nine automakers.
"By having that consumer element at the show, it really gives the industry kind of a firsthand experience with this always evolving, always changing market," says SEMA spokesman Peter MacGillivray.
SEMA says that when it began tracking retail sales for the sport compact performance market in 1997, sales totaled $295 million.
The market grew to $2.4 billion last year.
The first International Auto Salon, as the shows are called, was in 1998 in Pomona, Calif.
The International Auto Salon-Los Angeles will be April 2-4 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. The East Coast salon will be May 21-23 at the Atlantic City Convention Center.