Aftermarket Week in Las Vegas isn't just about youth, although you might not know it when you walk around the SEMA show.
So much of the parts and accessories you see seem aimed at young buyers, or those who never lost their youthful exuberance and passion for cars and trucks.
The growing role of automakers at SEMA proves they understand the importance of youthful passion in building their brands.
For example, at the AutoWeek/Automotive News Specialty Vehicle Forum on Monday, Robert Davis, who is Mazda's North American product development honcho, said the MazdaSpeed vehicles and accessories bolster the brand's performance image.
That helps attract young buyers. As a result, Davis said, the average Mazda6 buyer is 18 years younger than the average Toyota Camry buyer.
A big challenge facing Ford Motor Co. is how to rejuvenate the Lincoln brand by attracting younger buyers. It requires distinctive products and much sharper marketing.
That's how archrival Cadillac did it.
Lincoln has had steadily declining sales. This year, the luxury brand will sell not much more than half of what it sold 15 years ago. During that time, the brand's image blurred and its buyers aged.
So for the 2006 model year, Lincoln advertising will concentrate on the Navigator SUV, Mark LT pickup and the new Zephyr, which is billed as Lincoln's first entry-level luxury sedan.
Execs hope the Zephyr attracts buyers in the 35- to 50-year-old range moving up from competitive makes. They need it to work because the average Town Car buyer ... is 70 years old.
There aren't many accessories at SEMA that are intended to appeal to septuagenarian Lincoln owners.
But then youth isn't everything, especially when it's wasted on the young.
You may e-mail Edward Lapham at