My favorite movie is The Godfather. My favorite industry is the automotive aftermarket 12-volt industry.
I see a connection between the two in the opening lines of The Godfather; “I believe in America. America has made my fortune. And I raised my daughter in the American fashion. I gave her freedom, but – I taught her never to dishonor her family. She found a boyfriend, not an Italian… Two months ago, he took her for a drive, with another boyfriend. They made her drink whiskey. And then they tried to take advantage of her. She resisted. She kept her honor. So they beat her like an animal… She was the light of my life – my beautiful girl. Now she will never be beautiful again…”
Now I know that it may be a little strong to imply that the face of an industry has been beaten to a point where it will never be beautiful again, but I have to say, it will be sometime before that beautiful aftermarket automotive face is to be seen again. This was never more evident than at last week’s SEMA show in Las Vegas.
From the time I arrived to attend SEMA, there was something different in the air. To begin with, I was able to easily get a taxi and be smoothly dropped off at the North Hall of the convention center. Last time that happened, I was in town to visit Vito. I asked my cab driver about attendance as everyone knows that the best-organized group to deduce crowd estimates in Las Vegas are these guys.
“The SEMA crowds are down some 80,000 people from its heyday not that long ago,” said my unimpeachable cab-driving source. Now to be sure, you can’t pin all the blame for the smaller crowds on the current state of the aftermarket electronics industry. The automobile industry itself has much to account for as well.