By Karin Gelschus
LAS VEGAS — For the first time, the largest automotive show in the world had more than 200 companies displaying powersports products. Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) officials say with the success they had this year, they anticipate having a powersports segment again in 2010.
The show had a substantial number of exhibitors and attendees and offered numerous press conferences, seminars, panels and other events that took place in the Las Vegas Convention Center, Nov. 2-6.
The entire show had 1,750 exhibiting companies and 120,000 registered attendees, says Della Domingo, public relations director of SEMA.
Of the 1,750 exhibiting companies, 60 exhibited in the powersports section of the show. There were another 150 exhibitors that said they were displaying products for the powersports market, but they didn’t have booths in the powersports section. These 150 exhibitors were located throughout the convention center in areas such as Hot Rod Alley.
Of the exhibitors’ products, SEMA judges’ selected what they thought were the best new products based on innovation, technical achievement, quality and workmanship, consumer appeal and marketability. There were 13 different categories, and along with the winner, the judges chose a first and second runner-up.
Taking the top spot for the best new powersports product was Dakota Digital for its MCL-2000 Series Harley Davidson 4.5-inch Tank Mount Digital Instrument Systems.
Behind Dakota Digital was Baja Designs/Soltek Light Systems for its Strykr Adventure Light. The second runner-up was SSV Works for its WP-ORZ, which is a WeatherProof iPod Audio System for the Polaris RZR and RZR-S.
In addition to the exhibits, SEMA hosted a number of press conferences, educational panels and seminars, including Business Efficiency 101,?Customer Service & Sales Solutions,?Exhibitor Product Training,?Online Marketing and Small Biz Management.
One panel explored how the Internet has helped shape industries by providing transparency in content, inventory and pricing. Rob Chesney, vice president of eBay Motors, led a panel of experts who explored how the Internet will impact the future of the auto industry.
The panel included Jad Dunning, CEO of DriverSide; Michelle Morris, director of North America automotive sales for Google; Bryan Murphy, CEO of WHI Solutions; Famous Rhodes, director of parts and accessories for eBay Motors; Glenn Rogers, CEO of CarDomain; and Steve Sigg, eBusiness manager for ACDelco.
“Our current plans include having the powersports section return next year,” Domingo said. “While there are no specifics at this time, our goal is to make the section as relevant as possible, focusing on quality rather than the actual size. Because the show provides so much cross-marketing opportunities, we believe that focusing on the size of the section is somewhat misleading and doesn’t accurately represent what is available to that market segment.”