SEMA goes hip-hop?
Last year 105,000 people attended the SEMA show. This time around the association expects to have attracted a similar number, roughly half of which are likely to be national or international buyers. According to the association, “early analysis of show activity and reports from members suggests a significant increase in buyer participation and business.” The success of the show has obviously been influenced by the large amounts of publicity that it generates. Tyres & Accessories reviews some of the highlights of a show that has all the glitz and glamour one would expect from an exhibition held in Las Vegas.
Cashing in on the hip-hop culture and its associated appetite for vehicle modification, the SEMA show’s organisers were keen to point out that “car enthusiast celebrities” Snoop Dogg and Usher were present. Not to mention the television production companies responsible for a new generation of fly-on-the-wall automotive tuning programmes including Overhaulin and Pimp My Ride. The show’s organisers also noted the presence of celebrities with just a little less street cred, namely Jay Leno and Hulk Hogan, not to mention motorsport luminaries like Mario Andretti.
In recent times, a number of manufacturers have tried to cash in on the novelty value of both tuning and the lucrative street-culture attached to it. Pirelli tyres, for example make regular appearances on MTV’s Pimp My Ride. The Italian manufacturer’s products have also successfully managed to find their way into the lyrics of various rappers and an association with one of the world’s most famous basketball players.
According to those behind the specialist equipment extravaganza, “the SEMA show has become a magnet for anyone connected with the automotive culture.” And this is exactly what the they want to market the show as, a show that is all things to all people. In the organisers’ words: “Only at the SEMA Show can you find: a classic roadster alongside the newest in off-road racing and performance technologies; a place where Shaquille O’Neal’s DUB-customised Cadillac Escalade competes for attention with the hot new Dodge Magnum or Chrysler 300C alongside Jay Leno’s totally unique Oldsmobile Toronado.”
During SEMA 2004, tyre manufacturers were keen to make sure their products were the centre of attention, with some going to greater lengths than others to ensure that this was the case.