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AAPEX 2020 Goes Virtual; SEMA Show Canceled

Association leadership and event organizers provide updates.


AAPEX 2020, scheduled for Nov. 3-5, at the Sands Expo and Caesars Forum Conference Center in Las Vegas, will not be held as an in-person tradeshow event this year due to the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic and related governmental prohibitions and restrictions on gatherings, businesses and travel. Instead, AAPEX will provide a virtual/digital experience with many of the show’s same elements presented digitally. Given the State of Nevada’s recently announced long-term mitigation strategy for the COVID-19 pandemic, which has indefinitely prohibited events with more than 50 participants, and the severe limitations on international and domestic travel imposed in connection with the pandemic, unfortunately, the traditional in-person event cannot proceed, AAPEX organizers stated in an announcement late this afternoon.

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AAPEX will refocus its efforts on the virtual 2020 event to bring together the more than $1 trillion global automotive aftermarket community and enable exhibitors to introduce new products to their customers and additional domestic and international target buyers. The virtual event will be held the week of Nov. 3, the same week as the originally planned event, and additional details will be available Aug. 19.

“AAPEX attendees and exhibitors are essential to keeping the motoring public on the road, even during times of crisis. We work in a dynamic industry and change has always been embraced by our predecessors and the 4.7 million men and women who now currently work to keep our industry at the forefront of the economy. AAPEX didn’t become the extraordinary event it is today by thinking small and not evolving to changing times and circumstances,” said Bill Hanvey, president and CEO of the Auto Care Association. “While we had hoped to meet in person, we are excited to use technology to bring together the supply chain of essential services to conduct business.”

“This was a difficult decision but circumstances on the ground made it impossible to have the show that we planned for our exhibitors and attendees,” said Paul McCarthy, president of AASA. “AAPEX and your industry associations have, and will continue, to support industry growth, pursue industry advocacy, ensure members’ safety, and do what is right for our industry.”


 AAPEX 2021 will return to the Sands Expo and Caesars Forum Conference Center in Las Vegas, Tuesday, Nov. 2 through Thursday, Nov. 4. All inquiries should be directed to W.T. Glasgow Inc., (708) 226-1300, [email protected]. For additional information, visit the AAPEX 2020 FAQ page.

2019 SEMA Show Floor

Statement from SEMA about the 2020 SEMA Show

SEMA, the Specialty Equipment Market Association, also announced today that due to Covid-19 and concerns that event facilities and services will be unavailable, the SEMA Show will not be taking place in 2020.

While both event organizers and industry members have been working tirelessly to deliver an outstanding SEMA Show in November, mounting uncertainty has rendered continuing with the event inadvisable. SEMA expects the decision will bring much needed clarity to an uncertain picture and will help exhibitors, attendees and partners plan accordingly.

Recent SEMA Show survey results indicated interest in a possible virtual trade show with related live elements. SEMA will be working with industry members to determine interest levels on specific alternatives.

“The SEMA Show is committed to furthering businesses in the automotive specialty equipment market, and to providing manufacturers and buyers with the best opportunity to connect, promote new products and discover new trends,” said Chris Kersting, SEMA president and CEO. “We appreciate the spirit, hard work and innovation our industry puts into the SEMA Show each year. While we are disappointed circumstances prevent us from hosting the Show in November, we look forward to getting everyone together in 2021 for another outstanding event.”

Full refunds for SEMA Show exhibitor booth deposits and attendee registration fees will be issued. Updates will be posted to



Following the reports yesterday announced the change in plans for both AAPEX and the SEMA Show, AMN editorial staff reached out to show owners/organizers for additional information. Below are their comments:

Elizabeth Goad, Director, Events & Meetings, AASA: “The feedback we have received so far from the industry has been overwhelmingly positive and supportive. Many of our exhibitors and industry partners have asked how they can help and contribute to a virtual event. We are looking forward to the next steps and know that we have the strength of our amazing industry behind us as we move forward.” 

SEMA Vice President of Events Tom Gattuso:
With a commitment to doing what is best for the automotive specialty equipment market and helping our members, SEMA is always seeking new ways to support the marketplace and help manufacturers connect with buyers. A recent survey revealed some interest in a virtual event, and it is among the alternatives that we have been exploring for the past several months. It’s not something we are taking lightly, and we want to do our due diligence with our members before we initiate any new programs or activations that are created so they directly meet the needs of the marketplace.


Darrell Smith, executive director of The International Window Film Association (IFWA), a longtime participant in the SEMA Show:

The IWFA has been active participant or exhibitor at SEMA for almost 30 years as have most of its manufacturer members and many of its distributors. Smith commends SEMA for making this difficult decision at a time when many companies who normally exhibit are operating with lower sales volumes, travel restrictions and even mandatory quarantines after travel, and reduced or compromised staffing levels.  “The IWFA looks forward to SEMA’s show next year as we are confident that it will be bigger and stronger than ever and  that it will be a welcome boost to the industry’s full recovery from this current critical health and economic situation,” Smith said.




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