SEMA and the Godfather

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.

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  • http://BarryVogel Barry Vogel

    I believe that your evaluation and predictions for the holiday season are (unfortunately) dead on. Fasten your seat belts. It’s going to be ANOTHER bumpy ride, made worse by the forecasted bloodletting by the big box boys. Big screen TV, et al will once again compete with us for CE spending (for those who MIGHT consider mobile electronics at least).<br />
    But my reason for writing is the thread of optimism I feel beginning to come together. The 12 Volt Awareness campaign is about to kick off the first trial balloon. The new MERA is poised to jump in with both feet to get to work. The Connected Car collaboration has finally launched. The threads are there. We are all talking and considering partnerships to achieve common goals. I feel a greater sense that something important can come together here. Or not. It is my strong hope that manufacturers, retailers, distributors, and reps decide to wake up. Get involved and let’s see if we can make things happen! We have done it before. It can happen again. Or not. It is totally up to each and every one of us.

  • http://PeterMacGillivray Peter MacGillivray

    Are you sure you were at the SEMA Show? Your sources failed to mention that this was the largest gathering of small business in America. Another good source may be talking to actual exhibitors…Give me a call next year I’d be happy to show you around.

  • http://SteveBrown Steve Brown

    I was impressed by the overall enthusiasm at the show this year, after hearing all the doom and gloom in the weeks leading up to the show. Aftermarket car audio will always be a part of SEMA project vehicles, and this year’s show was no exception. The key is to get on consumer’s radar with our products, a goal that the 12 Volt Initiative seeks to achieve. In times like these, our industry has to work together to promote what industry vets like us have always loved about great car audio products. Unlike years past, our competition is not with each other but with the very devices we look to integrate in the car.

  • http://RayWindsor-GermanMaestro Ray Windsor – German Maestro

    The Godfather is one of my favorites as well. I attended SEMA for only one day. I did not take a taxi ride. I did not take advantage of the services of the many fine restaurants in Las Vegas. I did however spend my time on the floor of the north hall. What I observedâ

  • http://massato mas sato

    i really enjoyed SEMA in 2007 for the first time, awesome great show, really enjoyedthe Ford Flex showcase, my dream car. i also enjoyed thousands of wheels, cars, hot rods, beautiful custom car colors both inside displays and fabulous outdoor displays. it was very crowded. i cannot compare that with previous SEMAS. i planned to enjoy the last day of CES in 2009, sunday. it too was different with no traffic or crowds. the exhibitors had to be there on the last day but otherwise the aisles were lonely. i guess most attendees had left but heard from exhibitors that thurs, friday was great. we shall see in 2010? just my thoughts.