The Specialty Equipment Market Association is back in Las Vegas on Tuesday, but organizers have already started preparing for the show, noting that it will be bigger than ever.
SEMA showcases thousands of automotive parts and accessories as well as nearly 2,000 vehicles. This year’s show, which takes place at the Las Vegas Convention Center until Friday, is expected to be 30 percent larger than last year, according to Tom Gattuso, vice president of events at SEMA.
Kevin Hart will also be in attendance as a keynote speaker — discussing his new show “Kevin Hart’s Muscle Car Crew,” which follows the comedian and his friends as they start a classic car club. Other keynote speakers will be three-time National Hot Rod Association world champion Antron Brown and NFL Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith, who recently became the co-owner of a NASCAR Xfinity Series team.
When the convention rolled into town in 2021, it was the largest show that year, hosting more than 100,000 attendees. SEMA’s 2020 show was canceled because of the pandemic.
Gattuso said it expects more than 135,000 attendees for the four-day show and over 1,800 exhibitors including 400 first-time exhibitors. Guests can expect over 2,000 products in its new product showcase area.
“The SEMA show is a reflection of the $51 billion automotive specialty equipment industry,” Gattuso said in an email to the Review-Journal. “Manufacturers rely on the show to debut their new products, which enhance the performance and styling of cars, trucks and SUVs. Buyers represent retails and businesses that are looking for new products that their customers will purchase.”
Gattuso said the show takes up all of the convention center’s capacity, including more than 1 million square feet of space for exhibits and new attractions. The trade show has been taking place since 1967 and moved from Southern California to Las Vegas in 1977, according to Gattuso.
“As a key international destination with a variety of entertainment and restaurant options, Las Vegas is ideal for accommodating SEMA showgoers who come from all over the world,” Gattuso said. “The Las Vegas Convention Center is also ideal for accommodating the large number of SEMA Show visitors, with space for the SEMA Show’s vehicles, activations and meetings.”
It is also connected to the three-day Automotive Aftemarket Products Expo taking place at The Venetian Expo starting Tuesday. The co-located shows enable registrants of either event to attend the other.
One highlight at this year’s SEMA show will be on all things electric. With panels on electric vehicles, the show floor will include a 21,000-square-foot area for SEMA Electrified, a space dedicated to EVs. The area is a 740 percent increase from when SEMA Electrified debuted at the 2019 SEMA show, with 2,500 square feet of space.
Other alternative-fuel vehicles will be displayed including a zero-emissions hydrogen-powered engine by engine modification company Arrington Performance, according to Gattuso.
SEMA also includes insider talks about trends within the automotive industry from how to convert classic cars to be powered by electricity to using social media platforms such as TikTok in marketing strategies.
There will be 70 education sessions with 14 different areas of focus or tracks with the intention to address areas of new focus for the auto industry, according to Gattuso.
“Speakers and topics are chosen to give attendees new knowledge and inspiration on important issues and trends,” he said.
The trade show event will open its doors to the public on Friday and to its after-party, SEMA Ignited. Tickets range from $70-$100 and can be bought online at semaignited.com.