SEMA eNews, Vol. 10, No. 2 – January 10, 2007

What Has SEMA Done for You Lately?
- Hundreds of Companies Gather for SEMA Spring Expo/SEMA OFFROAD

Breaking News
- SEMA Members: Help Restore 9/11 Officer’s ’55 T-Bird
- Goodwin Convicted in Mickey Thompson Murder Trial
- 12 Must-See Mazdas From the SEMA Show  

Market Snapshot
- Street Performance Sales Grow to $2 Billion
- Where Pickup Owners Purchase Performance Parts
- Top 20 Most Researched New Vehicles of 2006
- Chinese Chery To Be a Chrysler?
- 2007 Ford Market Share Predicted
- Engine Production Trends Shows Shift to Small
- Camaro Convertible Specs Revealed
- What Your Future Workforce Will Look Like 
- Computer Giants Make Car Connectivity Easier

Business Tools
- Business Spotlight—Rally Racing
- Turn Problem Employees Into Team Players
- How To Get a Project Vehicle From Ford
- How Manufacturers Can Communicate More Effectively With Distributors and Customers
- Restylers: New DVD Provides Insight on Marketing Your Business to Vehicle Dealers
- Business Guidelines for Motorsports Parts Manufacturers
- Networking Designed for Younger Members of the Industry

New Products & Technology
- Spy Photos—2008 Buick Lacrosse Super: 300 Hp, 5.3L V8 

Law & Order
- Test for Aged Tires Gains Traction
- List of Congress Members Who Support the Industry

Global Update
- U.S. Embassies Outline Global Opportunities for Specialty-Equipment Companies

People & Places
- Possible New Track in Northern Louisiana and Other Racing News
- NHRA Recognized for Diversity and Other NHRA Newsmakers
- Hot Rod News and Award Winners From the 2006 SEMA Show
- Movers and Shakers: Margaret Dano, Francisco Uranaga, Mary Kunz, Gregg Sherill, Max Rogers and Jacqueline Dedo 
- GM Restoration Parts Licensing Program Highlighted at Upcoming Meeting and Other SEMA Council and Committee News 

Shows & Events
- Exhibitor Services Manual Ready for SEMA Spring Expo/SEMA OFFROAD
Leadership Strategies Just for the Automotive Specialty-Equipment Industry
- Mark Your Calendars

- Member Classifieds


What Has SEMA Done for You Lately?


Many of the industry's premier manufacturers will be showcasing their newest and hottest products at the SEMA Spring Expo/SEMA OFFROAD Shows in Atlanta, Georgia, on March 23-24. To view the floorplan for the event, visit

Current exhibitors as of January 10, 2007:

$2.95 Guys




Adrian's Inc.

Advance Adapters

Airaid Filter Company

Aluminum Tank & Truck Accessories Inc.

American Technology Components Inc.

Amer-Rac Van & Pickup Truck Ladder Racks

Ancra International

Aries Automotive Accessories Inc.

Armadillo Industries LLC

Armor Lid, Raptor Series & Boss Hitch

ArmorThane USA Inc.


ATC Truck Covers

Atech Motorsports

Atwood Mobile Products/Home of Creation Windows

Auto Custom Carpets Inc.

AVM Industries

B&W Trailer Hitches

BD Diesel Performance

BedRug by Wise


Bell Automotive Products Inc.


Big Country

Black Lightning Gloves

Blinder USA

Broadfeet Motorsports

Bumperfx Inc.

C.R. Brophy Machine Works Inc.

California Dream by AAC

CLC Pit Crew

Cross Tread

Crown Automotive Sales Co.

Custom Design Industries Inc.

Dawn Enterprises Inc.

Dingmaster™  LLC

Du Pont Company




EGR Inc.

Encon Safety Products

Energy Suspension

Eurosport Daytona Inc.

Extang Corporation

Flitz International Ltd.


GE Money - Car Care One

Global Accessories Inc.

Global Vision Eyewear

Goodridge USA

Grrreat Creations

Gt Hid

Half-Time Enterprises

Hamsar Diversco Inc.

Hella Inc.

Hellwig Products

Hibshman Screw Machine Products Inc.

HitchSafe Key Vault

Illinois Lock Company

Innovative Creations

Johnson Window Film

Jotto Cargo Slide

Keystone Automotive Operations

Kramer Rack+

Larsen & Shaw Limited

Llumar Automotive Film/CPFilms Inc.

Low-Range Magazine

Lucky Sales Inc.

Luverne Truck Equipment Inc.

MacNeil Automotive Products Ltd.

Masters Entertainment

Midwest Control Products

Mile Marker

MITO Corporation

Nasta International Inc.


ODYSSEY Batteries by EnerSys

Omix-Ada/Rugged Ridge

P.R.A.G. Trade

PCI-Stellar Products Inc.

Penda Corporation


Pilot Automotive


Pit Bull Tires

Pop & Lock

Port-A-Cool®, LLC

Power Stop

Pro Rac Systems Inc.

Pro-Cut International

Protruck Management Inc.

Putco Inc.

QMP Inc.

QRP Inc.

Ranch Fiberglas

Ranch Hand Truck Accessories


Razzi Corp dba Razzi Ground Effects

RCD Suspension

RealWheels Accessories

Reflex Truck Liners

Reflexxion Automotive

Restylers' Choice LLC

Restyling Magazine

Revtek Suspension


Roadsport/Division of PowerFlow Inc.

Roll N Lock Corporation

Rugged Liner

Scotchman Industries Inc.

Shur Trax

Signature Series Gas Springs


Silverline™ Exhaust by ANSA

Siriani & Associates

Skyjacker Suspensions

Sportsman's Gear

Stabilus Inc.

Stage 8 Locking Fasteners

Steelcraft Inc.

SunTek Window Films

Sunwood Industries Co. Ltd.

Superchips Inc.

Superking Tyres


Sysonic USA Inc.

Tag/Leer/Pace Edwards/Century/Raider


The Granger Plastics Company

The Talegator

Thule Towing Systems/Valley

Thule, Inc.

Tite-Lok Inc.

Tonneau Masters

Top Dawg Tonneau Covers/ProGear LLC

Top Gun Products

Tornado Air

Tough Country Products

Toyo Tires

TracRac Inc.

Transwheel Corporation

Tricel Honeycomb

Trucking Times

True Flow

TruXedo by Shur-Co. Automotive


Ultimate Linings Ltd.


United Covers Inc.


Vortex Sprayliners Inc.

Westin Automotive Products Inc.

Wheel Ware Software

Wilwood Disc Brakes

Winjet Auto Accessories

World Imports International Inc.


Xtreme Charge

Yakima Products

Breaking News


Classic Restoration Enterprises is calling on specialty-equipment manufacturers to help them restore a ’55 T-Bird for New York Port Authority Police Sergeant John McLoughlin. McLoughlin was one of the first rescue officers on scene of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center.

McLoughlin barely survived being buried under the rubble of Tower Two for 22 hours. Once rescued, he was put in a medically-induced coma for six weeks and underwent 27 surgeries. To date, he has also endured 25 additional surgeries. Rather than allow doctors to amputate his legs, McLoughlin fought to walk.

The T-Bird, the car of McLoughlin’s dreams, will be presented to him at the 2007 SEMA Show. To participate in this project, contact Nicole Girkey at 818/349-1232 or And for more on McLoughlin’s story, watch "World Trade Center," the Oliver Stone film which uses McLoughlin (played by Nicolas Cage) as a central character.


According to, Michael Goodwin, former business partner of Mickey Thompson, was convicted January 4 in Los Angeles on two counts of murder in the slayings of Thompson and his wife, Trudy. The jury also found true the special circumstance allegations of lying in wait and multiple murder against the 61-year-old Goodwin. The conviction brings to a close a case that has been active for almost 19 years, largely thanks to the dogged efforts of Thompson’s sister, Collene Campbell.

“I was the one that everybody called the pain in the butt that wouldn’t let go of it,” Campbell said.

According to, Goodwin’s attorney Elena Saris plans to appeal.

Prosecutors alleged that Goodwin arranged the March 16, 1988 killings of Thompson, 59, and his 41-year-old wife as revenge for a soured business deal. Numerous witnesses gave accounts of Goodwin threatening to “waste” Thompson and “take care of him.”

Two unknown assailants on bicycles penetrated the gated confines of the Thompson’s home, shot him and his wife as they left for work, and escaped into the nearby wooded area. They were never caught.

Goodwin and Thompson went into business together to promote motocross racing, but the partnership disintegrated into a bitter legal battle in which Thompson won a legal judgment of more than $700,000 against Goodwin. The prosecution showed that Goodwin liquidated his assets around the time of the killings, bought a $400,000 yacht, and sailed to the Caribbean where he stayed for three years with his then-wife. He was arrested when he returned to the United States in 2001.

“This has been an endurance race for justice,” Campbell said. “We don’t plan to drop out until we get to the finish line.”


Market Snapshot


The following is a short excerpt from the 2006 Hot Rod Industry Report:

Street Performance
The street performance niche included both hot rod-related products as well as sport compact-related products from 1997 through 2002. Starting in 2003, the sport compact category was given its own niche. This accounts for the “flattening out” of the percent change between 2002 and 2003.

Retail sales grew from $1.83 billion in 2003 to $2 billion in 2005, an increase of 9.3%.

Manufacturer sales for street performance-related products grew from $640 million in 2003 to $690 million in 2005.

(dollars in billions)

The numbers only represent the parts that are manufactured and sold into this market. What’s not included are the labor costs for building the vehicles, swap meet revenues generated by individuals, and all the revenue that is generated by hot rod events. Many hot rod events also raise money for local and national charities.

SEMA members can receive a complimentary copy of the full-length 2006 Hot Rod Industry Report as another benefit to being a SEMA member.  The report is filled with valuable facts and figures about the ever-growing hot rod industry. Members may download the report by visiting  This and several other recently published reports are all now conveniently housed on the new 2006 Market Research CD. SEMA members can obtain a copy of the CD by contacting Shirley Presecan at

Source: SEMA Research and Information Center


The following is a short excerpt from the 2006 SEMA Light Truck Personalization Report:

Place of Purchase/Installation of Accessories
Pickup owners perceive performance parts and accessory retailers differently. Most fullsize pickup owners believe the franchise new vehicle dealer provides better installation; especially the Avalanche, Ram and F-Series owners.

2006 Place of Purchase for Fullsize Pickup Modifications

Non-Car Dealer Aftermarket Retailer
Fullsize Pickup Product Market Share Trend

SEMA members can receive a complimentary copy of the 2006 SEMA Light Truck Personalization Report as another benefit to being a SEMA member.  This data-intensive report is filled with valuable light-truck specialty-equipment industry information. SEMA members can download the report by visiting  All of SEMA’s recently published market research reports are also available on the 2006 Market Research CD, which is available to all SEMA members.  Questions?  Contact Shirley Presecan at

Source: SEMA Research and Information Center


Kelley Blue Book, a provider of new- and used-vehicle information, recently named its top 20 most researched new vehicles of 2006. This year saw more than 140 million unique visitors, a 12% increase over last year.  Visitation to specific vehicles has become a leading indicator of monthly sales for manufacturers.  For the past two years, Honda and Toyota have dominated's most researched new vehicle list and continued to do so during the 2006 calendar year, with the two brands capturing nine out of the top 10.  Sales data for these vehicles also shows that over half of those listed below have jumped in sales, showing that vehicle Internet research activity could be an indicator of how sales will perform.

Toyota grabbed seven slots on the list. New to the list, and coming in at number five, is the RAV4, which was redesigned for 2006. Just the previous year, the Camry, Corolla and Highlander all made the top 10. Honda captured five of this year's top 10 most researched vehicles. Honda's redesigned Civic jumped from number three to number one. The Accord, which will be redesigned next year, only dropped in the rankings from number one to number three. The CR-V, Odyssey and Pilot made the list at number six, seven and eight, respectively.

Three domestic vehicles made the top 20 with consumers during 2006; two from Ford and one from General Motors. Mustang and Escape each made the top list but both dropped in their rankings from last year. One year ago, the Mustang held the number five spot, but this year comes in at number 10, while the Ford Escape dropped one notch to 18 this year. General Motors makes its debut on this year's list with the all-new redesigned Chevrolet Tahoe, coming in at number 12.

"'s most researched vehicle list shows that, despite volatility in gasoline prices through the year, the American consumer is not concentrating on fuel economy alone," said Jack R. Nerad, executive editorial director and auto analyst for Kelley Blue Book and "Like the marketplace itself, the list of popular vehicles shows a great deal of healthy diversity."

Source: “ Names Most Researched New Vehicles of 2006,” Kelley Blue Book/PR Newswire


Chrysler Group President and CEO Tom LaSorda confirmed that his company had reached an agreement in principle with Chery Sales Co. to distribute Chery-made small vehicles in the NAFTA region, European region and possibly other global markets.  The agreement is subject to the approval of the DaimlerChrysler Supervisory Board and Chinese authorities.

"Being able to partner with Chery represents a long-term solution to the challenges of how to profitably compete in the small-vehicle segment," said LaSorda. "This supply partnership is part of a new business model that is allowing us to introduce all-new products more quickly, with less capital spending. This announcement reflects the realities of a global industry and DaimlerChrysler's need to remain competitive in all segments."

Chrysler Group officials say the new vehicles, which will be sold under Chrysler Group brands, will attract new customers in two segments in which the company doesn't currently compete: very young buyers and entry-level price-point buyers. These small, low-price segment vehicles are especially important in more price- and fuel-economy sensitive markets, including Canadian, Mexican and most European markets.

The introduction of these new small vehicles represents an important addition to the Chrysler Group's already diverse product portfolio. LaSorda said that although historically Chrysler Group has been the most reliant upon trucks, minivans and SUVs, the company is now moving quickly toward smaller vehicles.  LaSorda added that small cars are playing a major role in his company's international growth. The Dodge Caliber has already become the Chrysler Group's number-two selling vehicle (behind Jeep Grand Cherokee) outside North America.

"We already have a well-established relationship with Chery Automobile," added LaSorda. "Chery is the largest third-party customer of the Chrysler Group/BMW Group Tritec Engine joint venture in Brazil." Since 2004, Tritec 1.6-liter engines have been exported for use in the Chery A15 and Chery Fengyun.

Chrysler Group designers will work with Chery on the new small vehicles, which are based on yet-to-be-announced Chery platforms, to create unique Chrysler Group styling cues. DaimlerChrysler engineers will also work closely with Chery to ensure these new vehicles meet all applicable safety and emission standards in markets where they're sold.

Source: “Chrysler Group Signs Letter of Intent with Chery,” Chrysler Group, PR Newswire


The New York Times reported that Ford thinks it will slip behind Toyota into third place when the new Tundra gets to market next February.

Ford Motor Co. has been number two behind GM since the 1920s, but heavy financial losses that have forced a major restructuring will move it down a notch sooner than most people expected, the paper said.  The company itself seems to be unmoved by the prospect.  New CEO Alan Mulally, who came in from Boeing this fall, says he believes Ford needs to pay more attention to cutting costs and fixing its business model than to maintaining market share.

The company has dropped from 25% of the North American market five years ago, to 14-15% now, mainly because it was late in developing vehicles that would be attractive in an era of high gasoline prices, and slow in fixing quality problems.  The New York Times said Ford projects another 1.1% drop in share for 2007 because it has eliminated the Taurus and foresees a continued decline in sales of the F-series and the Explorer.

Toyota, which has already beaten Ford sales in a couple of recent months, expects to gain market share not only with Tundra but with higher sales of Camry and of subcompacts such as the Yaris and the Scion series.  An independent projection from indicates that Toyota will overtake Ford at latest by mid-year.

This comes as Toyota plans to take its global production to 9.42 million units in 2007.  If they succeed, Toyota will replace GM as the world’s number-one automaker.

Speaking at the company's year-end press conference, Toyota President Katsuaki Watanabe said he expects the automobile market to continue to grow globally, but also sees the competition becoming “more fierce,” and cited concern over instability in the Middle East region and the continued high cost of oil.

The company will be ramping up operations in new facilities in Russia, Thailand and China in 2007, as well as manufacturing the new Camry Hybrid in Kentucky and opening a new engine plant in Japan, he said. Watanabe also highlighted Toyota's business collaboration with Isuzu to develop diesel engines.

Source: SEMA Research and Information Center


A shift away from the largest, thirstiest vehicles toward more fuel-efficient transportation in the face of rising fuel prices helped small engines, particularly four- and five-cylinder powerplants, stage a comeback in the light-truck market in the ’06 model year and increased the small-engine share of the total market.

A Ward’s survey of ’06 model-year North American production of cars and light trucks for the U.S. market shows 13,641,012 cars and light trucks were built, down from 14,192,162 in ’05, and the lowest annual tally since 13,316,295 units assembled in the ’01 run.

The decline was paced by a five-year low in light-truck output that fell to 7,774,175 in ’06 from a second-best 8,377,820 the prior year.

The shift helped nudge the percentage of light vehicles with engines under 3L displacement to 27.7% of the ’06 model-year build. While a five-year high, handily topping ’05’s 26% rate, it still was below the 28.9% average for the ’97-’06 period.

Engines in the 2.0-2.9L range showed the largest market-share gain in ’06, rising to 20.9% from 19.8% in ’05 and a 10-year low of 18.0% in ’04. Those with displacements less than 2L followed with a 0.6% share increase to 6.8%, the same penetration posted in ’03 and ’04 before falling to 6.2% in ’05.

Although it remained the highest-volume segment with a 33.8% share of ’06 output, the 3.0L-3.9L range slipped from its ’97-’06 peak of 35.8% in ’05. Indeed, production of vehicles with engines in that range fell by 474,298 units in ’06 from the record 5,081,401 built the prior year—accounting for almost all of the model-year light-vehicle production decline.

Production of vehicles with engines 4L and larger accounted for 38.5% of ’06 output, slightly ahead of the 38.2% garnered in ’05, and unit volume fell to 5,250,905 from 5,420,494 – a 3.1% decline.

Largely by default, eight-cylinder engine penetration increased in ’06 to 28.1% from 27.9% in ’05, paced by a nine-year high in cars, where penetration reached 10.2% in ’06 versus 7.4% in ’05.

The V8 surge in cars was not so much due to increased popularity of V8-powered models as to the absence or phasing out of older cars with four- and six-cylinder engines.

Increased output of small trucks and CUVs helped boost the penetration of four- and five cylinder engines to an eight-year high of 27.7% from 25.9% in ’05. Included in the count was the all-new 2.5L, I-5 in the Volkswagen Beetle and Jetta, the first I-5 engine in a North American-built car. It accounted for 2.5% of car output.

Source: Al Binder, “Small Engines Gain in ’06 Model Year Output,”,


The star of last year’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit was the Chevrolet Camaro concept.  It is likely that one of the star’s of this year’s show will be the Camaro convertible concept.  The vehicle will make its debut at GM Style, “an exclusive, fashion-splashed event combining celebrities, couture, and automobiles,” according the automaker.  Chevrolet has said that the Camaro will go on sale in the United States in 2009, with a production convertible model added later that year.
Minor changes have been made from the Camaro concept to accommodate the convertible top.  The convertible features a four-wheel independent suspension system and four-wheel disc brakes.  The vehicle also features a tonneau cover over the folded top, “halo” headlamps, LED tail lamps and a rear spoiler with LED-lit Center High Mounted Stop Lamps (CHMSL).  According to Chevrolet, the Camaro will also have a racing-inspire fuel filler door, a front-inlet hood scoop inspired by the Corvette Z06 and “heritage-inspired rear fender ‘gills.’” 
Unlike the Camaro Concept of the 2006 show, this convertible is Hugger Orange with twin gunmetal gray sport stripes, reminiscent of a 1969 model.  The convertible concept sits on 21-inch front wheels and 22-inch rear wheels.  These wheels are a five-spoke design with charcoal center sections with bright outer edges and an orange outline on the wheel edge.
The interior reflects design elements of the musclecar era, with seat fronts featuring platinum-tone leather surrounding suede-like Alcantara® inserts.  A lighter color is used only on the seating surface, reminiscent of vintage houndstooth interiors.  Micah Jones, interior designer for the concept, says that “The light-on-dark interior coloring makes a strong statement that conveys the spirit of freedom and fun that is embodied by a Camaro convertible.”  The instrument panel is also inspired by the first-generation Camaro, with a round-gauges-in-square-holes design, where the gauges have a three-dimensional appearance with white faces and red pointers.
The trim plates, vents, seat handles and safety belt buckles feature a smoke satin aluminum finish.  The shifter and pedals are made of billet aluminum, and a separate ignition button is used to start the engine. 
The Chevrolet Camaro is an American icon.  It was introduced to the Baby Boomer generation in 1967, and represented a real life-sized sporty car that was attainable for just about everyone.  A long list of optional features, colors and trim combinations ensured that owners could create the Camaro that suited them best.

Camaro Convertible Specs

Source: “Chevrolet Camaro Convertible Concept Debuts at North American International Auto Show,” General Motors (GM Europe)/PR Newswire


The Relevance section contains insight provided by the SEMA Research and Information Center.


Each year at this time, The Herman Group issues its annual forecast. Typically, we have offered an abbreviated version. This year, we offer you the full forecast for the coming year:

1. Job Hopping to Accelerate
Fueled by increasing job creation and the fact that more than half of the United States' areas have flipped to being sellers’ markets, dissatisfied workers worldwide with a wider variety of choices will choose to leave their employers in greater numbers. Particularly, younger workers will feel less attached to their employers and have the confidence to jump to another job.

2. Employers Looking for Better Efficiencies
Employers large and small will continue to look for ways to economize and drive more profit to the bottom line. We are already seeing an increasing lack of tolerance for workers who have been resting on their laurels (and/or relationships) for years. Finally, there is a growing awareness of the high cost of employee turnover, and employers worldwide will seek innovative approaches to retention.

3. Older Workers More Highly Valued
Following the lead of a few model employers, public and private sector employers desiring to retain the intellectual capital in their older workers will offer more flexible work arrangements to these workers. This flexibility will include phased retirement, part-time work, and seasonal work (at a significant premium in salary), all with a benefits package that makes it worthwhile to keep working.

4. Employers Will Embrace New Technologies To Do More With Less
Employers are increasingly applying new technologies to increase profits. Examples of this trend include the adoptions of self-check-out in supermarkets and self-check-in at hotels and airports. The development and implementation of these new technologies will require more highly skilled people.

5. Business Communities Will Address Their Dissatisfaction With Schools
Employers, dissatisfied with the preparation of recent graduates, will be motivated to take action. An increasing number of community initiatives will address these issues. The effectiveness of these initiatives will depend on the community support of students, parents, and the local school system. Expect to see more mentoring and outreach to youth.

6. Continuing Increases in Training and Development
Employees at all levels will be expected to participate in more training. More employers will require this investment in self-development for the mutual benefit of both parties. Part of the rationale for this increasing investment is employers’ inability to find candidates with the right experience, so they will have to “grow their own.”

7. Offshoring and Reverse-offshoring Will Continue to Increase
Not heeding the experience of other employers or the Gartner Study, some employers chasing the dream of increasing profitability will continue to try offshoring. In the meantime, companies in India and elsewhere will engage in reverse-offshoring, hiring and training U.S. graduates in other countries at foreign local scale.

8. Using Technology and Business Intelligence, Recruiting Will Morph
Using more sophisticated technology like virtual video interviews and advanced pre-employment assessments, the Internet will facilitate advances in the technology for recruiting we could only dream about in the past. Through video interviews (see the Herman Trend Alert of January 3, 2007), employers will save hours of interviewing time and enjoy a higher level of EEO compliance. In addition, wise employers will engage leading-edge firms to provide business intelligence that will help them make better hiring and salary decisions.
Source:  Herman Trend Alerts are written by Roger Herman and Joyce Gioia, strategic business futurists, Certified Management Consultants, authors, and professional speakers. Archived editions are posted at 


Software goliaths Microsoft and Apple are helping the automotive industry keep pace with the rapidly evolving consumer electronic world.
Microsoft and Italian automotive manufacturer FIAT have addressed some of the safety and drivability concerns when consumer electronics and cars are used simultaneously. The new system, Fiat Auto SpA’s “Blue & Me” option, combines operating software from Microsoft to alleviate the need to tangle with hand-held products while commuting. Products like these help remove the divide between mobile devices and in-car electronics.

The relatively inexpensive option runs roughly $250 in Europe and has been well received by consumers. Operating with Bluetooth technology, the module connects users to their cell phones and MP3 players with voice commands, making incoming messages and music presentable without thumbing through the devices. Since its release at the Geneva Auto Show last March, about one out of every five (20%) customers purchased Blue & Me on the automaker's pilot vehicle, the Grande Punto. Velle Kolde, Microsoft’s liaison for their Windows Automotive Unit states that dealers in Europe have reported demand 300% higher than expected.
Microsoft has been stirring up the automotive industry for nearly 10 years and forecasts its automotive platforms to continue their dominating path towards electronic integration. Over 60 OEM and aftermarket products are currently powered by comparable Microsoft tools, such as the multimedia navigation systems in the Acura TL and BMW 7-Series. In a move to further integrate entertainment with its automobiles, Ford recently announced its partnership with Microsoft, which employs technology that better connects drivers to their handheld electronics.  Ford Sync, powered by Microsoft Auto software, is Ford's new fully integrated, voice-activated in-car communications and entertainment system for mobile phones and digital music players.  Sync will debut this calendar year on the 2008 Ford Focus, Fusion, Five Hundred, Edge, Freestyle, Explorer and Sport Trac; Mercury Milan, Montego and Mountaineer; and Lincoln MKX and MKZ. The automaker says that the technology will be on all Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles in the near future.”
Apple’s groundbreaking iPod helped make digital music portable and popular. Now, the video element has crept into the mainstream and consumers have begun demanding portability in all forms of media— audio, video and still image files are now saved to single storage containers. Stephen Witt, vice president for Alpine Electronics, foresees the changes ahead, “It’s going to be very popular. The consumer wants to bring these portables into their vehicles.” Some entertainment units allow commuters to download movies or shows directly from their televisions to their video iPods (or similar) and play the files on back-seat video or navigation screens. Apple reported that nearly 70% of 2007 model cars from General Motors, Ford and Mazda will be able to accept iPod audio.
Furthermore, Amy Gilroy from "This Week in Consumer Electronics" affirms the need for the industry to have all-encompassing technology consolidation, “They have to take whatever device you have and enable it in the car.” From music and video to communication and navigation, consumers want entertainment and functionality to be seamlessly integrated into their cars.

Sources: “New Software Makes Connecting With Nomadic Devices Easy," by Drew Winter.  “Firms Race to Adapt to Video iPod,” by Chris Woodyard, USA Today. Detroit Free Press, Inc.

Business Tools



The 2007 SEMA webinar program begins this week with “Management Strategies for the Most Challenging Situations.”

If you manage or are responsible for leading a team, this webinar is for you. Learn how to inspire and motivate others to a common goal. Overcome the most challenging management situations by implementing proven solutions.

In just one hour, you will discover how to lead any team to greatness. Click here on Thursday, January 11, before 10 a.m. (Pacific Time) or visit to participate in the webinar. Questions? Contact or call 909/396-0289.


Ford Motor Co. is accepting proposals for 2007 Ford, Lincoln and Mercury project vehicles. Project-vehicle builders need to submit a one-page summary via e-mail, followed up with a detailed project outline via mail. Both documents must be received by March 1, 2007.

Companies requesting vehicles should be a manufacturer or designer/restyler dedicated to supporting new product development; financially capable and willing to spend promotional dollars; actively promoting the vehicle with their product(s) through an established marketing plan; and a current SEMA member. Companies receiving project vehicles must:

Project proposals should be submitted in two parts, again no later than March 1, 2007.

Part 1: A one-page project summary submitted via e-mail including bullet points only for:

Part 2: A detailed project proposal elaborating on the one-page summary, along with a color rendering, company background and past project vehicle examples.

Information on Ford vehicles is available at: Select the Ford brand of interest (Ford, Lincoln, or Mercury), then select vehicle type (cars, trucks, SUVs). New vehicles for this year's program include the 2008 Super Duty, 2008 Escape, 2008 Focus, 2007 Edge, 2007 Lincoln MKX, 2007 Expedition and 2007 Navigator. Be sure to visit the "New & Future" pick on frequently during January and February for new vehicle announcements and information from the auto shows.

Submit proposals to: Sherry Kollien (Car), Ford Motor Co., 21175 Oakwood Blvd., PDCDC MD579, 1RH10  Dearborn, MI  48124, 313/248-1248,; Sandy Walsh (Truck, SUV, Crossover), Ford Motor Co., 21175 Oakwood Blvd., PDCDC MD579, 1RH12 Dearborn, MI  48124, 313/248-1422,

More details are available at


SEMA manufacturing members are invited to discover how the AAIA Catalog Enhanced Standards (ACES) and the Product Information Exchange Standards (PIES) are making it possible for manufacturers to communicate product information faster, more efficiently, more effectively and more accurately than ever before.

During a new SEMA webinar on Thursday, February 8, industry leaders will share first-hand information on what’s happening in regards to industry data standards during “How Manufacturers Can Communicate More Effectively With Distributors and Customers.” Participants of this webinar will discover:

Manufacturers should mark their calendars for Thursday, February 8, 10 a.m. (Pacific Time), and bookmark to participate on that date. Questions? Contact or call 909/396-0289.




New Products & Technology


This week's spy photos bring us a glimpse of the powered-up LaCrosse Super. The photos, information and comments are courtesy of Brenda Priddy of Brenda Priddy & Co.

According to Brenda Priddy & Co., "With obvious 'portholes' on the front fender discreetly covered up by black tape, and huge exhaust pipes, this is no ordinary LaCrosse: This is the upcoming V8-powered LaCrosse Super!"

Besides the portholes, cosmetic changes will include a more aggressive-looking signature-style grille, a bit more chrome and more luxury amenities inside. But even more important will be the 5.3-liter V8—same as in the Impala SS—with around 300-horsepower, 18-inch alloy wheels and Delphi's MagneRide Suspension, which is also found in the new Ferrari GTB Fiorano, as well as the Corvette and Cadillac STS.

This Buick won't be the typical Sun City sedan, as it should do zero-60 in under six seconds! So you'd better watch what Gramps is buying—it might be his secret hot rod!

The only thing we don’t know for sure is if this will be a latecomer for the 2007 model year or an early 2008 model.

Law & Order


Officials at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) believe that they have developed a test for determining the durability of aged tires.  It reportedly involves subjecting a tire to high temperatures (up to 150 degrees Fahrenheit) for 8-to-10 weeks in a high oxygen environment.  The test was given a stamp of approval by “The Aged Tire Durability Task Group,” a 33-member task force which includes representatives for tire makers, the auto industry and safety groups.  The Task Group was formed in 2002 to establish a tire durability test.  The Task Group also endorsed its own, separate durability test that would run tires at about 75 miles an hour for more than 30 hours. 

NHTSA is required to report its tire durability test findings and recommendations to Congress by August 2007.  At issue is the claim that some rubber compounds degrade over time, even if unused.  NHTSA has been in the process of studying the topic but has found that it may be difficult to establish a uniform time limit that does not take into account other contributing aging factors such as climate, handling and storage.  Several auto companies are backing a 6-year tire expiration date and a number of safety advocate groups are urging NHTSA to institute a regulation. 

While supporting tire expiration research, SEMA believes it is important that regulators and lawmakers have the best science available before making any decisions on this topic.  They should also consider the associated environmental, social and economic costs if expiration dates lead to premature tire scrappage.  If a regulation were proposed, SEMA would likely seek a provision that exempts limited production tires (15,000 or less annually) and other specialized tires, similar to that already included in a California law requiring replacement tires be as fuel efficient as OE tires.  (The law has yet to be implemented.)  Meanwhile, SEMA urges consumers to also focus on critical safety issues such as tire inflation and overloading of vehicles.

In a separate but related rulemaking issued several years ago, as of September 2009 tire manufacturers will be required to print the tire’s manufacture date in an easy-to-read, four-digit code on the outside of tires.  The date is currently printed on one side of the tire but coded in a fashion that it is difficult to decipher by most consumers and frequently facing inside when the tire is mounted.  For more information, contact Stuart Gosswein at


The 110th Congress is in session. Is your Representative a member of the Congressional Automotive Performance and Motorsports Caucus?  To find out, visit the Motorsports Caucus page on the SEMA PAC website.  If your legislators are not members of the Motorsports Caucus, urge them to join.  A sample letter is available, as well as an interactive program which allows you to identify your various Representatives in the House and Senate. Questions? Contact

Global Update


Find out what 20 U.S. Embassies have to say about the opportunities for U.S. specialty-equipment companies in global specialty-equipment markets. For copies of reports on the accessories and performance markets written by U.S. Department of Commerce officials, visit Information is available on key overseas markets, including South Africa, Norway, Hungary, the Czech Republic, France, the Netherlands and New Zealand. Reports are viewable by region. For further assistance, contact  

People & Places


DIED: Bobby Hamilton lost his battle with neck cancer Sunday. The 2004 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion, who was 49, died at his home, surrounded by his family.

NEW TRACK: A proposed three-eighths-mile asphalt track in northern Louisiana made it a step closer to fruition last week with the closing of a $4.5-million investment from BizCapital of New Orleans. The track will be located near Monroe, La.

CONVICTED: Nearly 20 years after the murder of legendary land-speed and drag racer Mickey Thompson and his wife, Trudy, Michael Goodwin was convicted of setting up  their 1988 slayings.

A DRIVER: BAM Racing has named Mike Bliss to drive its Dodge in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series this season. Bliss drove the final seven events of the season for the team last year.

HE’S BACK: Dario Franchitti will return for his 10th season with the Andretti Green Racing organization driving one of the team’s four entries in the Indy Racing League. He will also compete in the American Le Mans Series with the team’s Acura machine, sharing the wheel with Bryan Herta and his brother, Marino Franchitti.

ROAD RACING: Among the many star-studded entries for the Rolex 24 At Daytona later this month will be the Vision Racing car owned by Indianapolis Motor Speedway President Tony George. George will share the wheel of the car with his three Vision Racing Indy car drivers — Tomas Scheckter, Ed Carpenter and A.J. Foyt IV.

MERGER: The Midwest Super Truck Series and the United States Super Truck Series have merged to form the United States Super Truck Series.

SUBSCRIBE: National Speed Sport News has been published weekly since 1934. To subscribe to National Speed Sport News, click on the following link for a special industry rate:



WHAT IS THE “COUNTDOWN?”: It is NHRA’s new and improved system for determining its four POWERade Series world champions and it officially gets underway a month from now at the season-opening CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals (Feb. 8-11 at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona), the first of 17 regular-season events in the 23-event schedule. The top eight drivers from each class after the 17-event regular season will advance to the playoffs and remain in contention for the 2007 POWERade Series world championship (see “Inside the Numbers” below for details on the Countdown to the Championship playoff and championship rounds).
Media will be kept abreast of the Countdown throughout the inaugural season via a Countdown-specific post-event wrap-up, identifying the most significant moves up and down in the POWERade Series standings, who’s in and who’s out, and what to look for as we move through the regular season, playoffs and championship rounds. Look for these updates via email and on the Media Web site, which will be re-launched in February with a page dedicated to educating media about the Countdown and answering any and all questions related to the Countdown.

TESTING IS IN SESSION: If the CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals are only a month away, that must mean that drivers and teams are making final preparations to begin the season. And final preparations in NHRA terms means test sessions in Las Vegas (Jan. 19-21 and Feb. 2-4) and Phoenix (Jan 26-28). Teams are working feverishly to assimilate new parts and new crew members (and in some cases, new drivers) and the final dress rehearsal will come at the test sessions. Among the highlights will be the return of six-time world champion Kenny Bernstein, who will be renewing his license at the first Las Vegas test session. For more on this story, visit

NHRA RECOGNIZED FOR DIVERSITY: The NHRA POWERade Series has had a deep and talented pool of diverse competitors for years, providing opportunity rather than programs, and Tuesday night (Jan. 9) it will be recognized for its leadership position. NHRA is one of two finalists – along with the Urban Youth Racing School – for the Diversity in Motorsports Award at the 11th annual Urban Wheels Awards ceremony in Detroit. The event is the only one honoring African-Americans, Latinos and Asians during the North American International Auto Show.
The NHRA party attending the event will include president Tom Compton, vice presidents Gary Darcy and Graham Light, and three-time winners during the 2006 POWERade Series season J.R. Todd and Tony Pedregon. For more information on the award, please visit


NITRO BLAST OFF, LAS VEGAS, THE STRIP AT LAS VEGAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY, JAN. 19-21: The elite teams of the NHRA POWERade Series will have the first opportunity to begin preparing for the 2007 season at this first of three optional showcase pre-season test sessions. Media are invited. Please contact NHRA Media Relations at (626) 914-4761 for more information.

NATIONAL TIME TRIALS, PHOENIX, FIREBIRD INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY, JAN. 26-28: Pre-season action moves from Nevada to Arizona as the professional teams continue to tweak off-season changes at this second of three optional test sessions. Open to media. Please contact NHRA Media Relations at (626) 914-4761 for more information.

LAST CHANCE TEST SESSION, LAS VEGAS, THE STRIP AT LAS VEGAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY, FEB. 2-4: This aptly named test session is the final of three optional events that allow professional drivers the chance to test their rides before the 2007 NHRA POWERade Series Countdown to the Championship gets underway. Open to media. Please contact NHRA Media Relations at (626) 914-4761 for more information.

CARQUEST AUTO PARTS NHRA WINTERNATIONALS, POMONA, CALIF., AUTO CLUB RACEWAY AT POMONA, FEB. 8-11: Get a front seat as defending world champs Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel), John Force (Funny Car), Jason Line (Pro Stock) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle) begin the 2007 NHRA POWERade Series Countdown to the Championship.


17-4-2: This is the simple breakdown of the 23-event, $50 million POWERade Series in the inaugural Countdown to the Championship season. There will be 17 regular season events, with the top 8 drivers in each class advancing to the first round of playoffs (Sunday race formats will remain the same throughout the playoffs with full 16-car fields); there will be 4 first-round playoff events, with the top four drivers in each class advancing to the championship round; and there will be 2 championship round events with the top driver in each class earning the title of 2007 POWERade Series world champion.


OLYMPIC HEROES?:  Morgan Lucas and J.R. Todd participated in Geoff Bodine’s Bobsled Challenge at Lake Placid, N.Y. this past weekend with Lucas taking the Silver Medal: “It’s a great feeling and the whole thing is that I (wanted) to make if from A to B without wrecking and ending up on my head. It’s a blast and you can’t keep the smile off my face.” For the complete story on, visit

For more information, visit



Superior Industries International appointed Margaret Dano and Francisco Uranaga to the company’s board of directors. Dano was vice president, worldwide operations for Garrett Engine Boosting Systems, a division of Honeywell International, from June 2002 until she retired from that position in 2005. She has served as a director of Fleetwood Enterprises since September 2000. Uranaga is currently the vice president and chief business operations officer for Latin America at Foxconn.

Keystone Automotive Operations promoted Mary Kunz to director of marketing services. Kunz, who has been with the company for 16 years, most recently led the company’s re-branding efforts, implementing new brand messaging in advertisements, collateral material and websites.

Tenneco Automotive’s board of directors named Gregg Sherill the company’s new chairman and chief executive officer. Sherill has been responsible for Johnson Control’s global automotive battery business since 2003. His appointment to Tenneco’s board of directors is effective January 15.

Delphi’s Product & Service Solutions appointed Max Rogers general director of the division’s Consumer Electronics business unit. Rogers was most recently global director of sales, marketing and planning for the Delphi Packard Electrical/Electronic Architecture division in Troy, Michigan.

SAE International elected Jacqueline Dedo as vice president of Automotive. The elected position is a three-year term, and Dedo replaces Richard Schaum, who will serve as the 2007 SAE International President.      


The latest news from SEMA councils and committees:

Automotive Restoration Market Organization (ARMO)

ARMO members should mark their calendars for the following upcoming council activities:

To learn more about ARMO, visit or contact Jan Desma at

Hot Rod Industry Alliance (HRIA)

HRIA members should mark their calendars for the following upcoming council activities:

Members who participate in the meeting will receive complimentary tickets to the Grand National Roadster Show.

To learn more about the HRIA and how to join the council, visit or contact Jan Desma at

Light-Truck Accessory Alliance (LTAA)

To learn more about the LTAA, visit or contact Monica Terlouw at

Manufacturers' Representatives Council (MRC)

MRC members should mark their calendars for the following upcoming council activity:

To learn more about the MRC, visit or contact Jan Desma at

Motorsports Parts Manufacturers Council (MPMC)

To learn more about the MPMC, visit or contact Diane Collins at

Professional Restylers Organization (PRO)

To learn more about PRO, visit or contact Ellen McKoy at

SEMA Businesswomen’s Network (SBN)

To learn more about the SBN, visit or contact Diane Collins at

Sport Compact Council (SCC)

To learn more about the SCC, visit or contact Paul Moritz at

Wheel & Tire Council (WTC)

To learn more about the WTC, visit or contact Paul Moritz at

Young Executives Network (YEN)

To learn more about the YEN, visit or contact Paul Moritz at  

Shows & Events


Attention SEMA Spring Expo and SEMA OFFROAD exhibitors: The Exhibitor Services Manual (ESM) will be available next week, Thursday, January 18.

Complete with all the contact information required for setting up one’s booth, a comprehensive list of deadlines, and details for promotional opportunities, the ESM is the ultimate reference tool for planning and preparing for the shows. Utilize the manual to maximize your investment and ensure that you do not miss out any opportunities.

For the fastest and most convenient way to access the ESM, visit or on January 18. Hard copies will be mailed to all SEMA Spring Expo and SEMA OFFROAD exhibitors on that date as well.

For additional information or questions, contact Show Management at 702/450-7662, ext. 120, or

Promote Your Show Incentives Here 

Exhibitors of the upcoming SEMA Spring Expo or SEMA OFFROAD are invited to submit information regarding special incentives and promotions being offered at the 2007 events. Companies with incentives such as special pricing, two-for-one offers, special appearances or other attractions are encouraged to let SEMA know so that the information can be included each week in SEMA eNews leading up to the events. Submit information about SEMA Spring Expo or SEMA OFFROAD incentives to Joe Lu at

The latest SSE/OFFROAD Incentives

Ivan “Ironman” Stewart, recognized as the best off-road racer in the world, will appear at the SEMA Spring Expo (SEMA OFFROAD), March 23 and 24, in Atlanta, in the Protruck Management Inc. booth (#2306).

Information on the SEMA Spring Expo or SEMA OFFROAD is available at or


Discover new ideas, strategies and motivation for working effectively and efficiently in the automotive specialty-equipment industry. Take part in the 2007 SEMA National Education Conference and tap into secrets from top business leaders from throughout the world.

Presented by SEMA, the three-day event is the only professional development conference developed specifically for this industry. All industry managers, supervisors, organizers, principals and current or aspiring team leaders are invited to attend this event.

Learn more and register by visiting, or contact, 909/396-0289, for more information.


Dates and locations for several upcoming SEMA-sponsored shows and activities have been announced. Details are:

>> SEMA Webinar: Management Strategies for the Most Challenging Situations, Thursday, January 11
>> MPMC Media Trade Conference, January 23-25, Los Angeles
>> SEMA Webinar: The Mindset of Leadership—Timeless Qualities of a Successful Leader, Thursday, January 25
>> ARMO Open Long-Range Planning Meeting, Thursday, January 25, Pomona, California
>> HRIA Open Long-Range Planning Meeting, Friday, January 26, Diamond Bar, California
>> SEMA Webinar: How Manufacturers Can Communicate More Effectively With Distributors and Customers, Thursday, February 8 
>> Education Day at the Hotrod & Restoration Trade Show, presented by SEMA’s Hot Rod Industry Alliance (HRIA), March 1, Indianapolis
>> SEMA Spring Expo and SEMA OFFROAD, March 23-24, Atlanta
>> SEMA National Education Conference, April 15-17, Nashville, Tennessee
>> SEMA OEM Roundtable Tech Talks, April 30 - May 3, Detroit
>> MRC Rep Conference, September 26-27, Phoenix, Arizona
>> SEMA Show, October 30-November 2, Las Vegas

For association-related travel, contact Manya Petropaki ( at Travel Store USA, 949/930-9268.



SEMA-member companies have posted several new listings for job opportunities at Working for a SEMA-member company has many advantages. In addition to working for a company that supports and contributes to the success of the overall industry, being employed by a SEMA-member company enables the employee to participate in webinars, access free market research, join SEMA committees and more. The newest classified listings posted under Positions Available include:

SEMA members: Have a job opening that you need filled? Members are invited to post classified ads at free of charge. Categories include Position Available, Positions Wanted, Rep Opportunities, WD Opportunities, For Sale, Items Wanted, Business Opportunities and Internships. Visit the site for details.