Why are big OEMs pulling out of the show?
The SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) show is one of the highlights of the year for American and international gearheads. It's bigger than Tokyo Auto Salon and every other aftermarket expo and typically attracts all the biggest brands to its sprawling site in Las Vegas. The focus here is on modifications and upgrades, and manufacturers typically showcase what is possible using authorized tuning partners, which in turn helps sell more cars off the dealer floor. But last month, we learned that both Honda and Ford would be backing out of this year's extravaganza, and now another two big names have pulled out too: Hyundai and General Motors.
When the Blue Oval announced its withdrawal, it said that it would be "taking a new approach to the SEMA show," and instead of a traditional display, it would showcase its vehicles online and at Ford events and shows, while Honda only referenced "a change in corporate strategy" while confirming that it would continue to work with SEMA on other programs. So what of the other two?
"GM has made the decision not to participate in the 2022 SEMA show," said its statement. "The SEMA show has always inspired us, and accessories and performance parts remain an important part of our business." That doesn't really tell us much, but our best guess is that GM is more focused on marketing its upcoming EVs, including the Chevrolet Silverado EV. Interestingly, an earlier SEMA statement said that Chevrolet, Hummer, and GMC were among the confirmed OEMs showcasing their wares this year.
Hyundai's statement reads as follows: "Hyundai has been an active participant in the SEMA show for many years. For 2022, our strategy has focused on some specific vehicle launch strategy and media events, and in these plans, Hyundai will not have a corporate presence at SEMA." Again, it seems that the OEM is more interested in marketing its existing products like the Ioniq 5 as they are from the factory, but a return to the aftermarket sphere could still happen next year. Perhaps the lockdowns experienced during the height of the pandemic have shown OEMs that online reveals are more effective.
Nevertheless, this year's edition of the SEMA show should be pretty good - Volkswagen is getting on board for the first time and many other companies are showing interest in the show that is planned for 1-4 November this year.