Ever since we started AutoIndustriya.com, everyone has been telling us that we have to go to SEMA. They say this automotive aftermarket expo is on a different level entirely but, come show time every year, we always found ourselves thousands of miles away. For our 15th anniversary, we decided it was time fly out over the Pacific to the "City of Sin" and finally pay a visit to the ever-elusive SEMA show.
Arguably the largest automotive aftermarket show in the world, SEMA; which stands for Speciality Equipment Manufacturers Association, holds their 4 day event annually, attracting tens of thousands of visitors, thousands of custom, tricked out, tuned, and whatever-you-can-think-of with wheels. Unlike other shows, SEMA is a trade show not open to the general public, and is exclusively held for those in the industry and media.
The show previews the automotive styling trends that aim to influence the North American and global market. The show features everything from a simple bolt to mobile entertainment, brakes, wheels, paint, engine parts, detailing products, and repair equipment.
Some highlights at this year’s event were cool concept vehicles, custom exotics, cool resto-mods, styled production cars, innovative products, and interesting personalities.
Japanese builders like Liberty Walk, Rocket Bunny and RWB were very much present with their ever-growing global popularity.
American builders showed off their new styling trends for trucks and SUVs. From ridiculously low trucks to humongous behemoths — the rigs at the show were the embodiment of any truck enthusiast’s dream.
Ford’s main highlights were the Ford GT supercar and their new LM GTE Pro Race Car, flanked by concepts based on the Fiesta, Explorer Sport, F-150, Mustang and Focus as well as impeccably done classics.
FCA’s (Fiat Chrysler Automotive) main highlight, in my opinion, would be this cool blue Jeep Chief concept which is surrounded by nearly done concepts based on the Dodge Challenger, Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300.
GM’s main highlight was the Corvette C7 Stingray which gave birth to interesting concepts, the C7R LM GTE Pro Race car and cool cars based on the new Camaro. The more imposing North American version of the Colorado pickup (way better than what we have) was noticeably one of the favorites at the show as well.
Mazda presented two interesting concepts based on their MX-5 - a Speedster and a Spyder version. The former was our favorite and would make a seriously cool car to have if they decide to make it a production reality.
Global automotive giant, Toyota, showed their 'Back to the Future' homage - a time machine car based on the Mirai fuel cell vehicle and a modern iteration of Marty McFly’s Tacoma. The 4Runner Tonka concept also brought back childhood memories as well. And we thought the Sienna R-Tuned concept was one serious track-ready minivan as well.
Honda’s resurgence into making younger, performance-oriented cars was definitely present at the SEMA display, highlighted by their IndyCar series challenger and upcoming NSX supercar. One of the more interesting cars would be the new-generation Civic, which is expected to launch in our market next year.
Lexus chose to announce their F Performance Racing Team at this year’s show with the new RC F GT3 racer highlighting their display, flanked by tuned versions of the production model.
Hyundai presented concepts based on the Genesis Coupe and Tucson. One of which is done by US-based Filipino tuner, JP Pangilinan, whom we got to personally meet at the event.
A striking model at the Kia stand for us would be the Photo Safari Concept based on the Sedona van. It would really make for the perfect camera car for shooting or filming other cars, which we think are equally as wild as animals.
Aside from static displays, there were also driving demos by professional race drivers. Formula Drift officially announced their 2016 calendar punctuated by some tire slaying demo runs by competitors.
Three trade halls and nearly a thousand exposures from my camera and smartphones have resulted in a major sensory overload of cars. I think this should be part of every car enthusiast’s list of auto shows to see and experience.