Both AAPEX and SEMA Show were more or less back to normal.
At AAPEX, attendance was 94 per cent of that of 2019, no doubt buoyed by the nearly 2,000 members of the Auto Value community, made up with the Automotive Aftermarket Parts Alliance. Stores invited shop partners to the event so they could explore what was offered between the two shows.
Trade shows for both events — AAPEX at the Venetian Expo and SEMA at the Las Vegas Convention Center — saw shoulder-to-shoulder crowds. AAPEX ran Nov. 1-3 and SEMA lasted one extra day. Attendees were able to make show-only deals, take in the latest offerings from manufacturers and explore what was being worked on as future solutions in a changing world.
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Management and technical training were also available, everything from diagnosing common issues under the hood to managing your shop better. The high-popular 5 Automotive Trends Impacting the North American Aftermarket — formerly known as 5 Trends in 5 Minutes — highlighted what the aftermarket can expect in the coming years, as did the session, Aftermarket Outlook 2023.
The event kicked off with a keynote from political experts James Carville and Karl Rove, moderated by government affairs leaders from the AASA and Auto Care Association, Ann Wilson and Lisa Foshee, respectively. Heads of both association, Paul McCarthy and Bill Hanvey kicked off the morning with a state of the industry update.
Many networking events took place, such YANG, the networking group for those under 40. Canada Night returned to the schedule, hosting hundreds of Canadians with food, drinks and the opportunity to reconnect with colleagues.
Because the SEMA Show couldn’t get any bigger, the group announced it would turn the event into a week-long festive event to coincide with the tradeshow.
In an announcement, SEMA said the expansion would see SEMA Fest become a full-week celebration across Las Vegas, commemorating all things automotive and more open to the public.
SEMA Week, the announcement said, would kick off a five-year vision to grow the four-day show to be an experience that creates a passionate and exciting automotive event.
Everything participants know and love about the SEMA Show will remain, such as the show itself with the tradeshow component, SEMA Auction, Ignited Cruise and the show’s afterparty.
“We have been watching the connection between enthusiasts and our industry grow for more than a decade and, as the industry’s trade association, have a responsibility to help facilitate that connection in new and meaningful ways,” said SEMA chairman James Lawrence.
“By creating SEMA Week and SEMA Fest, we will be able to maintain the integrity of the trade show that makes it a must-attend event for automotive professionals while introducing a new platform for enthusiasts and the industry to engage with one another.”
SEMA Fest 2023 will take place at the Las Vegas Festival Grounds, up the road from the show’s home at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Unlike the show, which is only open to industry professionals, it will be open to the public. Attendees can take in music, featuring music, car shows, VIP experiences, craft food, automotive celebrities and motorsports. The group will announce more details soon.