ATLANTIC CITY — According to show organizers, the premiere of the Specialty Equipment Market Association’s (SEMA) East Coast International Auto Salon (IAS) proved what industry insiders have long suspected: interest in the sport compact performance segment is booming in the country’s eastern region.
With dual industry and consumer programs, IAS teamed cutting-edge automotive designs and technology with lifestyle entertainment. “Attendees from the entire eastern seaboard saw some very hot cars,” said Peter MacGillivray, vice president of marketing and communications for SEMA.
Nearly 150 SEMA-member companies filled 70,000 square feet of the Atlantic City Convention Center with product displays, show cars and consumer rides displayed alongside celebrity cars and the latest creations from professional design shops. ”While the attendance statistics are rewarding, the most important evaluation of our success is always SEMA-member reaction. Overall, this has been entirely positive; access to regional sales opportunities and consumers exceeded expectations,” MacGillivray said.
Weekend activities included an industry reception hosted by SEMA’s Sport Compact Council where the council gave annual industry awards to DaimlerChrysler and Toyo Tires Corp. Other OEM exhibitors included Ford, General Motors, Scion, Subaru and Toyota.
At various conferences SEMA leadership and member companies heard from young drivers and regional business leaders about their expectations for continued market growth and the need for more technical and style innovations. “What we heard confirms the views of many media experts and those companies already on the frontline of sport compact development. This sector is neither a fad nor a trend. What we saw this weekend in Atlantic City is definitive. The sport compact consumer is today shaping the automotive lifestyle style and performance expectations future for the original equipment makers. This clearly will affect SEMA members who are listening to what they say,” MacGillivray concluded.
According to industry statistics, the sport compact parts and accessories market expanded 35 percent last year and now accounts for $3.2 billion in annual sales in the country.
For more information, about SEMA, go to: www.sema.org.
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