Last week was the SEMA show in Las Vegas. SEMA, once the Speed Equipment Manufacturers Association, is now the far more politically correct Specialty Equipment Market Association. But, rest assured, there is still plenty of speed.
I am always amazed at the size and scope of this annual event. You need comfortable shoes -- or maybe a Segway -- to get around the miles of exhibitor space.
Again this year there was a special day for automobile retailers to give them tips and case studies on how to add accessorizing to a new-car dealership's profit center.
It's not as easy as it sounds. You need a professional in the dealership, someone who knows which products will enhance the appeal of the new-car inventory for the maximum number of buyers. There is no point accessorizing a vehicle that appeals to only a small number of customers. It won't sell, and it won't hold its resale value.
But there were plenty of ideas at SEMA to help a dealership maximize its new-car profit.
Once upon a time, the show was all about domestic vehicles, cars and trucks with big V-8 engines. Throw in some equipment for hot rods, and that was SEMA. Not today.
Imports are taking a bigger share of the retail car business, so there are more exhibitors at SEMA with products for imports. There seems to be as much interest in dolling them up as there is in sprucing up the popular Chevy V-8.
It is no exaggeration to say SEMA has something for everyone. But you have to learn when to stop and what to buy. That takes more experience than many dealers have. That's why it makes sense to hire a pro who can make sure the products are installed correctly and the right products are added. It's as easy to ruin a new car as it is to enhance the value.
Every dealer should take a trip to SEMA. Be sure to put it on your calendar for next fall.