SEMA 2018 started off with the screeching of tyres as the early morning drifting got underway. As the queues grew, the whole place was buzzing in anticipation and there was a real party atmosphere in the air. As this year was my first time at SEMA, I saw everything from a whole new perspective.
The sheer size and scope are mind-blowing and it appears there really is something for everyone – I’m sure you could have literally built a car with the combination of manufacturer and aftermarket parts across the multiple pavilions and outdoor venues at the Las Vegas International Convention Centre.
It seemed like everyone and anything in the automotive industry was in Vegas – there were street cars, muscle cars, custom cars and some of the best designers and builders on the planet, many of whom competed for the Battle of the Builders – as we said last year, “the cars are the stars”.
SEMA, of course, would not be complete without education, and it was the SCRS and their Collision Industry Repairer Driven Education program that stole the show. There were over 20 seminars across the four days, culminating on three OEM Technology Summit sessions and the inaugural showcase event, IDEAS Collide.
The SEMA Show closed with the traditional SEMA Ignited, the official after-party, incorporating SEMA Cruise on the streets of Las Vegas around the convention centre and, once again, it was a mind-blowing event.
Once again, the major multi-nationals were out in force, with many of them creating a reason to stop and chat, whether it was products, cars, demonstrations, celebrities or announcements.
3M showed off their latest collision repair technology, with demonstrations of the benefits of their Cubitron II abrasives, whilst the global coatings companies all took different approaches: PPG ran with a native American Indian theme named Camp Wannapaintem; Axalta partnered with Karma Automotive; the BASF stand was adorned with some of the best cars at SEMA; AkzoNobel’s focus was their F1 connection to McLaren; and Sherwin-Williams focused on the special effects of the House of Kolor, supported by founder Jon Kosmoski.
As the name of the show suggests, there was no shortage of collision repair equipment, including Snap-on and Car-O-Liner sharing a stand for the first time, while the SAPE Group’s key brands, Celette and GYS showed off their benches and welding equipment.
The show was a real eye-opener as not only was it much bigger than you can imagine, but the atmosphere was inviting, with everyone in the right frame of mind to really enjoy the event. It was a great show and one that everyone in the industry should attend, if only once!