SEMA, the Specialty Equipment Market Association, has announced that they will be exhibiting at the Chicago Auto Show in February, making it their first-ever formal consumer auto show exhibit. Taking up over 7,000 square feet of booth space, the exhibit focus will be on the winners of SEMA’s inaugural Vehicle Design Awards Program, a new initiative created to honor original equipment manufacturers that make vehicles with accessorization and personalization in mind.

“We will be at the Chicago Auto Show because increasing numbers of new car consumers who want accessories for their vehicles right off the showroom floor will be there,” said Chris Kersting, SEMA president and CEO. “SEMA is excited to have the opportunity to interact with the customers of member companies we support. We have participated in previous auto shows on a less formal, less strategic level but our large presence at this show is significant because it ties into the strategic objectives of our association.”

SEMA’s exhibit will include different customized versions of the Vehicle Design Award winners, demonstrating the breadth of their customizing/accessorizing potential.

“New car and truck buyers want vehicles they can personalize and customize,” said Carl Sheffer, SEMA vice president, OEM relations. “The Vehicle Design Awards display at the Chicago Auto Show will help identify for the consumer which vehicles have the greatest potential for accessories such as wheels, mobile electronics, performance parts and exterior styling components.”

The winners: “Best All-New or Redesigned Vehicle” went to the Ford Mustang; “Best Truck Design” to the Ford F-150; and “Best SUV Design” to The Chevy Tahoe.

“The interplay between OEMs and SEMA members is a distinguishing difference between the historic SEMA and today’s evolved association,” said Sheffer. “This new dynamic enables OEMs to better connect with, and profitably serve, customers by having immediate access to cutting edge, purpose-built aftermarket goods. Our participation in the Chicago Auto Show is the next step in our expanding symbiotic relationship between SEMA member aftermarket companies and OEM manufacturers.”

Coker to Keynote at MAMA Breakfast
SEMA’s participation at the Chicago Auto Show doesn’t just stop at exhibit space. SEMA Chairman Corky Coker will be the keynote speaker at the Midwest Automotive Media Association breakfast to kick-start the event, discussing the synergy between SEMA member companies and original equipment manufacturers and how consumers benefit from this strengthening relationship. SEMA will also be revealing the Vehicle Manufacturer of the 2005 SEMA Show, an exciting announcement for those who attend the annual November event in Las Vegas .

“Every year, we see a stronger penetration of aftermarket accessories for the motoring public,” said Jerry Cizek, Chicago Automobile Trade Association president and Chicago Auto Show general manager. “The past decade has demonstrated an ever-increasing cooperation between original manufacturers and the aftermarket industry. SEMA will help spotlight this at the nation’s largest consumer auto show.”

For more information on SEMA involvement at the show, contact Carl Sheffer at

SEMA, the Specialty Equipment Market Association founded in 1963, represents the $29 billion specialty automotive industry of 5,727 member-companies. It is the authoritative source for research, data, trends and market growth information for automakers and the specialty autoparts industry. The industry provides appearance, performance, comfort, convenience and technology products for passenger and recreational vehicles.

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