SEMA Show Highlights from Day 1


SEMA Shelby Tribute

With the passing of Carroll Shelby on May 10, 2012, the automotive industry lost one of its most legendary entrepreneurs. His creative efforts and partnerships resulted in a legacy of unmatched high performance—leading many to consider him not only the man behind the term “American muscle,” but a driving force for the specialty-equipment market as well.

Throughout this year’s Show, SEMA honors Shelby with a special exhibit  entitled, “The SEMA Shelby Tribute.” Located in the northwest corner of the Las Vegas Convention Center’s North Hall, the exhibit includes a large wall where Show attendees can write their own personal remarks about Shelby and what he meant to them. Above the wall, a large screen displays changing historical images depicting Shelby, his career and his creations. The space will also play host to several iconic Shelby vehicles, courtesy of Ford Motor Company.

“Carroll Shelby was among the greatest game-changers in the performance automotive industry. He was one of our true living legends and will always be a tremendous inspiration to enthusiasts, racers, designers and those who revel in making horsepower,” said SEMA President and CEO Chris Kersting. “He shared with so many his passion for performance, customization and style. And he set himself apart not only with international racing breakthroughs, but by bridging the gap between hot rodders and automakers, turning stock vehicles into supercars of global renown.”

“Carroll Shelby was inducted into the SEMA Hall of Fame in 1986. His life and accomplisments meant a lot to the automotive aftermarket,” added SEMA Show Director Tom Gattuso. “The 2012 SEMA Show offers the perfect opportunity for our industry to memorialize and appreciate Shelby for his many contributions, while saying a final industry goodbye to this exceptional man.

SEMA Award—Vehicles in Four Categories Named Hottest at Show

This year’s SEMA Award for the top trending vehicle models in four categories were announced yesterday here at the SEMA Show. The XXXXXX was named Hottest Car, the XXXXXX took the Hottest Sport Compact honors, the XXXXXX won Hottest Truck and the XXXXXX received the Hottest 4x4-SUV award.

“The SEMA Show has always been about innovative products and trends,” said Chris Kersting, SEMA president and CEO. “The SEMA Award amplifies the industry’s special ability to identify and set trends that consumers follow.”

The SEMA Award recognizes vehicle models that specialty-equipment manufacturers believe are the best platforms for accessorization and that showcase the year’s coolest products. It also underscores the cooperative relationship between the automakers and SEMA-member companies.

“The SEMA Award helps guide consumers toward the hottest-trending and most accessory friendly vehicles on the market,” added Kersting. “Our SEMA Show exhibitors are industry visionaries who determine the winners of the SEMA Award based on the vehicles they showcase in their booths. Each booth vehicle represents a ‘vote’ and the most prominent models in each category are the winners.”

The 2012 SEMA Show features more than 2,000 exhibiting companies that manufacture thousands of products designed to improve performance, safety and convenience, as well as those that enhance appearance and comfort. While products are available for every make and model vehicle, exhibitors are investing more in the XXXXXX, XXXXX, XXXXX, and XXXXX than any other vehicles. Consumers, therefore, can expect to find great specialty products for accessorizing these vehicles.

To learn more about the SEMA Award winners and the products that are available for them, visit

The Future of Racing and Performance Explored

Professional racing driver, stunt driver and television host Tanner Foust headlined the Racing and Performance Forum panel session, held on opening day in the VTC Theater. Speakers included Jamie Allison, director of Ford Racing; Jim Campbell, leader of General Motors Performance Vehicles and Motorsports; Ralph Gilles, head of Chrysler Design and the SRT Group; and Brain Gale, co-founder of Global Rallycross. An executive and a driver from NASCAR participated in this exciting forum that focused on today’s challenges and the future of racing and performance. Roger Curtis, Ricky Johnson, Luke Johnson, Chris Petrillo, Steve O’Donnell????

The group addressed a number of issues facing racing today, including the impact of advanced technologies and tighter federal emissions and fuel-efficiency standards on the racing and performance market, and discussed how these standards might affect racing in the near future. Another issue regarding Gen Ys lack of interest in cars affecting racing and performance, was taken up by the group.

Finally, “Does winning on Sunday still translate to selling on Monday?” The highly placed leaders on hand explored these questions and trends and talked about how leading automakers are focusing on matching horsepower with the fastest computing power. The discussion also turned to how best to support existing series, such as NASCAR, and new series, such as Global Rallycross (GRC).

GRC connects with the urban, metropolitan and youth-orientated approach of ESPN’s X Games. The fusing of GRC and X Games has been a catalyst for many action sports athletes migrating from other sports to motorsports and provides an excellent platform for making small cars cool. NASCAR Green is growing stronger and faster than ever and has made significant environmental improvements and technological advancements in sustainability.