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CANNES FILM FESTIVAL

Specialty Equipment Market Association Wows'em at Expanded Las Vegas Convention Center

By Steve March, Stephen Lacey and Valerie McConnell

The SEMA auto show in Las Vegas was the best of the year. The Specialty Equipment Market Association outdid itself in the field of specialty auto parts at the new addition to the Las Vegas Convention Center. SEMA represents the $26-billion specialty auto parts industry, in which SEMA has been one of the fastest-growing associations in the history of product manufacturing and merchandising.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority should be proud of the SEMA show and the impact SEMA has on the entire automotive world. We'd like to thank SEMA for the smooth registration process and also the e-mail stations in every center that allowed us each day to be the first to view the new concept vehicles that were on display city-wide.

   Two Shell Oil Co. spokespersons talked with Las Vegas Hollywood magazine about Shell Oil's global product manufacturing-Paul R. Smith, vice president, chemicals marketing; and Tricia Elwell Singer, business manager.

   We also spoke with Ray Sparling, director of programs for Conoco Phillips; and National Hot Rod Association marketing director Gary Raash as well as Goodyear manager Mike Pulte.

   NASCAR, National Association of Stock Car Auto Racing, is doing big things in the auto world with the emergence of the Las Vegas NASCAR site and racetrack.

   Tom Klipp and Terence D. Lawshe, NASCAR national sales manager, commented on the SEMA marketplace and the fact that the SEMA show has more than 1,800 exhibits and 1,000 new products on display. The show itself is the largest automobile show in the world, incorporating two million square feet of booth space and hundreds of customized trucks and cars. What's notable about SEMA is the ever-increasing technology that's being placed in the current automobile market.

   Ford Motor Co. was selected as the featured vehicle manufacturer of the SEMA show. Las Vegas Hollywood magazine had the privilege of reviewing the entire new Ford line. We concur that Ford's F-150 customized truck is every man and woman's automotive dream come true. Dick Harris of ACI Concepts told about new developments in the Ford Auto Parts Division. A Ford Motor Co. spokesman gave us a demonstration of the Ford GT-150 and the F-150 that featured video screens, on-board navigation, hydraulic lifts, and reverse swinging doors.

   Among sponsors we talked with were AC-Delco Nevada district sales manager Douglas R. Mays who told about the NHRA and NASCAR events in Las Vegas.

   Pepsi-Cola provided promotional material and refreshments to all showgoers. Part of Pepsi-Cola's great support of the show featured the Pepsi Semi-Trailer Truck equipped with one of the best mobile sound systems around. The Pepsi truck provided some of the hottest music in the world out in front of the Convention Center addition. Among artists heard were Beyonce Knowles, L'il Bow-Wow, and Loon, who has a brand-new CD on "Bad Boy Entertainment." Loon, of P-Daddy fame, was the featured artist who performed his CD repertoire for the SEMA debut party in the Grand Lobby of the Las Vegas Convention Center to a standing-room-only crowd of manufacturers, auto parts distributors, VIPs, and celebrities such as Rap artist Coolio, along with television's Big John Sally of ESPN's "Best 

 

Damn Sports Show" along with basketball superstar Chris Mills of sponsor 310 Motoring who showed us his brand-new line of custom sports cars.

   

The SEMA show, with an attendance of 110,000, was open only to persons in the automotive industry. Running concurrently was the APEX show, the Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo at the nearby Sands Expo Center. Together, the two shows brought to Las Vegas more than 20 concerts, 20 specialty events, and an attendance that topped 110,000 persons to make the SEMA auto show simply the best in the world in the field of automotive marketing.

   Among sponsors was the Humm DeVille truck that is sure to be on many affluents' Christmas wish lists. The kit car concept was featured in the front of the Grand Lobby and is an after-market product placed on a Hummer H2 that is grilled and ornamented by the General Motors Cadillac Escalade. This vehicle is sure to raise the standard in the automotive after-market industry.

   Additional SEMA sponsors were: Goodyear, Michelin, Yokohama, Mopar, Dodge, Chrysler, Lexani, Dayton, and Arelli Rim Co. of Los Angeles featuring a brand-new rim that is sure to surprise the entire rim industry.

   Tim Tanner, director of trade marketing for Pirelli Tire Co. of North America, gave us first glance at the brand-new Pirelli thin whitewall that is sure to captivate the automobile industry and consumers at the point of sale. We also spoke with Thomas H. Costin of Soletech, a division of Michelin which is sponsoring a brand-new line of footwear based on the Michelin tire concept. It is sure to be an urban sensation in the retail shoe market as well as in the car industry. This is truly convergence at its best.

   Hip-hop deejay Funkmaster Flex of Franchise Automotive Marketing performed in the Grand Lobby and featured the Big Truck Tire series. Funkmaster Flex was the master of ceremonies for the SEMA auto show attendee performance, which featured Tyson Beckford and Rap artist Exhibit. Also present were Brian Pecen, sales manager; and Apollonia Kotero ("Falcon Crest" and "Purple Rain"), who represented Lexani Rims and Custom Parts.

   Also in the house was Rap and R&B artist Nate Dogg of Dr. DRE and Snoop Doggy Dog fame, Grammy award winner Tone Loc and Johnny G who performed "Funky Cold Medina" and "Wild Thang" at The Beach night club across the street from the Convention Center. The show was hosted and toasted by comedian A.J. Johnson of the movie "Friday," produced by Ice Cube. Rap star Xhibit also was featured in the show, which was standing-room only.

   If you mised this year's SEMA show we're going to take you there. Don't feel bad. Las Vegas Hollywood magazine will tell you and show you what you should have already known-SEMA is simply the best!

   Check me out in the brand-new Humm DeVille fully loaded and sponsored by LaSalle Thompson and Stan Turner of NBA fame who stole the show with that urban hit sensation "You Can Look but Don't Touch My Humm DeVille." Get ready for the November, 2004 SEMA auto show.

   And thanks to Chuck Schwartz, owner of Connvexx for the great interview at the SEMA show and thanks also to Kita Lewis and Rosemary Kitchin and all the SEMA staff for the greatest show in the automotive industry, the SEMA Specialty Equipment Marketing Association auto show.
 

Copyright 2007 Las Vegas Hollywood Magazine. All Rights Reserved