This year’s edition of the Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo, held annually in conjunction with the Specialty Equipment Manufacturer’s Association Show, held special significance for exhibitors and attendees from the United States.
The “Stars and Stripes” was displayed prominently at many booths, and despite a generally upbeat attitude about industry prospects for 2002, September 11th, 2001 was very much on the minds of buyers and vendors alike. Official stats put attendance at AAPEX at over 83,000, with SEMA reporting just under 70,000 (including the International Tire Expo) viewing a combined total of over 3300 companies.
While the numbers of registered attendees suggested growth over last year, the consensus on the floor varied, with most exhibitors visited by SSGM declaring a 20-25 percent drop over last year in floor traffic. Much of the decease was attributed to corporate travel bans still in effect in the aftermath of the September 11th terrorist attacks.
For those that attended, however, the shows featured technology, innovative products and the usual list of automotive industry dignitaries and stars. The show is the centerpiece of Automotive Aftermarket Industry Week, and is sponsored by the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA) and the Motor Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA) for the AAPEX component, while SEMA includes the International Tire Expo sponsored by International Tire and Rubber Association (ITRA).