Whether you believe the attendance figures reported by the organizers of the recent Automotive Aftermarket Industry Week in Las Vegas–they told of a solid 70,000 attendees while most empirical estimates said numbers were down 30% to 50%–it was no less a focus for the industry.
Many companies chose the November event as the time and place to make major corporate announcements.
Surely one of the most creative of these was the transformation of Detroit Gasket into Corteco. Since being purchased by Freudenberg-NOK, the venerable gasket company had been subjected to the gradual submersion of the Indian Head identity. In Las Vegas, the transformation was complete, with the dutiful assistance of the masters of improv comedy from the television show “Whose Line Is It, Anyway?”
If nothing else, it showed that the folks at Corteco are good sports.
With much less fanfare, but of no less importance, Clore Automotive announced that it had completed the purchase of Pentair’s Service Equipment Business, Century Mfg. and Lincoln Automotive. This puts some of the industry’s best known names in equipment under one roof. The service equipment business includes Century, Solar, Lincoln Lifting, Viper Recycling, T-Tech Recycling, and Marquette Welders.
The company officers actually signed the deal on the show floor and thereby assumed responsibility for the products, operations and business formerly conducted under the Century and Lincoln names.
There were, of course, many other announcements, and a goodly amount of bleating about the drop in attendance. Some exhibitors even went so far as to suggest that the time for the annual show had passed.
Yet many exhibitors were kept well busy. Notably, these companies were usually the ones who had something new to talk about.
SEMA’S AWARDS ARE ALWAYS NOTABLE, SO HERE THEY ARE:
Best New Pickup/SUV/Van Product: Carriage Works’ 2002 Dodge Ram 1500 Billet Grille. Circle #100
Best New Packaging Design: American Products Co.’s Eurotail packaging with a clear window and handle. Circle #101
Best New Merchandising Display: Powertrax’ No Slip Traction Display. Circle #102
Best New Off-Road/4-Wheel Drive Product and Best Engineered New Product: Tal and Hadas Limited Wheel Pull uses the vehicle driveline to pull the vehicle out of a sticky situation. Circle #103
Best New Performance-Street Product: Jackson Racing’s new Ford Focus Supercharger. Circle #104
Best New Performance-Racing Product: Moroso Performance’s Ultra High Strength Racing Axle is designed for high-output Honda vehicles. Circle #105
Best New Accessory: Painless Performance’s R-F Control Center is mounted in the steering wheel horn button and uses radio frequency technology to operate accessories such as windows, fans, A/C, etc., without wires. Circle #106
Best New Street Rod/Custom Car Product: Nordskog Performance Products Direct Fit Panel Kit includes full LED lighting, microprocessor controlling and a digital speedometer. Circle #107
Best Engineered New Product: Kugel Komponents V8 Focus Hood Kit. Circle #108
The most important industry announcement was the release of the iShop standards. Version 1.0 was revealed at the show as a tested standard, ready for use by industry. The iShop standard promises connectivity between repair equipment and shop administration systems to improve tracking and efficiency. A technical overview is available at www.ishopstandards.org.
It alone offers a leap in functionality that can provide real value to the aftermarket. It’s just too bad there weren’t more attendees at the show to see it.