The automotive aftermarket industry showed signs of recovery and growth at this year’s Specialty Equipment Market Association trade show in Las Vegas. SEMA says it was the biggest show in its 45-year history, covering 2.5 million square feet of show flooring, a record 135,000 overall attendees, made up in part by 60,000 buyers and 3,000 media members. SEMA says that the industry generated $29.8 billion dollars in retail sales in 2011, and the association is optimistic about 2012 with a projected four percent growth in the US this year. The industry is also seeing explosive growth in China, the Middle East, and other developing countries.
This year, many automobile manufacturers — Ford, General Motors, Chrysler, Toyota, Hyundai and Honda among them — had especially large displays of customized vehicles at the SEMA show. While the show itself is closed to the general public, this year it expanded from inside the convention center into adjacent parking lots for publicly viewable ride-and-drive demonstrations and a Global Rally Cross racing competition.