2014 SEMA Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center
NOVEMBER 4, 2014
Pennzoil® provides exclusive coverage from the 2014 SEMA Show.

This blog post was contributed by Pennzoil SEMA Social Correspondent, Rob David (@robmd21 on Twitter). A MOPAR lover and VP of Operations for SpaceCityLX, Rob has taken over Pennzoil’s social channels during the SEMA Show from November 3rd – 7th. 

This week I’ll check off one of the ultimate auto enthusiast “things to do” as I attend my first SEMA Show.

In the lead up to this week I still couldn’t believe I was actually going. I’ve heard experiences from friends and colleagues who have attended past events and I am thankful to Pennzoil for the opportunity to be here.

The show officially opens Tuesday, November 4th, but I took a trip down to the Las Vegas Convention Center on Monday to just get a feel for the area. I watched all the people walking around with focused determination to get their booths and displays ready. It reminded me of how many people are involved in the aftermarket industry. Each of them with products that help enthusiasts express their own unique styles.

I am excited to share SEMA 2014 with you as I see it.

Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) is a trade association whose purpose is to help automotive businesses showcase their up and coming vehicle customization capabilities and the latest technology developed in the industry. To put the magnitude of the show into perspective, in 2013 alone, consumers purchased over $33 billion in accessories to personalize their cars, trucks and SUVs.

Quick Facts about SEMA 2014:

  • Over 1 million square feet of exhibit space
  • Another 1.5 million square feet of features surrounding the Las Vegas Convention Center
  • 2,500 exhibiting companies
  • Attendees from over 130 countries

To get acclimated to my surroundings, I walked around two of the three main buildings in awe before settling on the first booth I’d explore. As a Mopar fan I naturally chose the Chrysler booth (#43141) as my first stop and had the pleasure to visit with Mark Trostle, Head of Design for SRT, Mopar and Motorsports, and later Ralph Gilles, Senior Vice President Product Design Chrysler LLC.

2015 Dodge Charger NHRA Funny Car at the SEMA Show

While speaking with Mark, I asked him what’s changed in the last three years that makes today better than in the past. “We are working hard to give enthusiasts what they want,”Mark explained. The collaboration between the various sectors of Chrysler and Mopar are the biggest contributing factor to the great lineup of vehicles and aftermarket products that allow owners to put a personalized stamp on their vehicle.

The highlight of the afternoon was the 4:26pm MOPAR On The Move! press conference with Pietro Gorlier, President and CEO of Mopar. One quote in particular stood out to me, “Mopar is synonymous with performance… on the street, on the trail and on the track.”

This could not be more evident as he unveiled the 2015 Dodge Charger NHRA Funny Car.

What happens in Vegas...

With 2,500 exhibitors spread across the North, Central, and South Halls—plus outside exhibits—there is a massive amount to see at SEMA and AAPEX. Of all the pieces of advice I was given about going to SEMA, the one piece that I’m most thankful for is, “Wear your most comfortable pair of shoes.” Thanks to a smartphone pedometer, I learned that I logged 19,000 steps in a single day. For reference, that’s about nine miles!

The SEMA event organizers do a great job of organizing all the booths and exhibits in the convention center, and I quickly found myself able to navigate around the multiple buildings and outside locations quickly and efficiently. I even found some shortcuts!

I had the opportunity to meet up with a friend from Austin who is a SEMA Show veteran. It was like having my own SEMA Sherpa guiding me through the Mount Everest of accessories and customization products. There’s always something else to see.

Ferrari tires.

Performance tires and custom wheels are the largest product segment represented at the show. With over $3.4 billion in sales during 2013 it’s easy to see why. Wheel manufacturers go all out with their displays to showcase their products.

Like this Ferrari “horseshoe.” Giddy up.

The creativity found in the aftermarket industry has definitely influenced the vehicle manufacturers and what they offer to consumers, and we enjoy the benefits.

I’d like to thank Pennzoil for the opportunity to be part of this year’s coverage! Hopefully, I’ve been able to debunk the ‘What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas’ phrase by sharing my happenings from the 2014 SEMA Show floor.