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2 Dec

SEMA Report 2018

With over 160,000 attendees and 1.2 million square feet of exhibit space, SEMA is one of the largest trade shows in the world. We spent 3 full days hitting the trade show hard, looking for new trends so you don’t have to. 

Here’s what happened:

The automotive aftermarket remains strong and steady and has grown 4% since last year, so both new technology and buying was strong at the show. Every year, there is a New Exhibitor tent at SEMA—while it was mostly international companies trying to take a bite out of the United States, there were some new products that were interesting.

SEMA 2018 also saw a record number of exhibitors offer solutions for shop marketing, shop integration to equipment, and more. As we enter phase 2 of the digital age, mobile app compatibility is not a “cool feature”—it’s a necessity. Many of these companies continue to make progress, but none seem ready for mass-market appeal.

There were also a couple of interesting car concepts at SEMA, which seemed stronger than previous years. This included a widebody Tesla Model S, an electric Chevrolet Camaro, a Toyota Corolla hatchback and an open-air Honda 4×4. As usual, there were a ton of exotic sportscars and pick-up trucks showcasing paint jobs, wheels, and more.

There’s also been a “Do-it-Yourself” trend among many consumers who think that they can repair their broken cars with parts from Amazon and videos from YouTube. While that may be the case for certain components, like chemicals (78% of consumers doing it themselves), lighting (69% DIY) and Interior (65% DIY), certain things are still FAR from affected by this newfound trend. Wheels/tires see only 21% of consumers attempting to do it themselves, while Advanced Driver Assist-Systems are at 34%.

 

Hunter Engineering Company

At the Hunter Booth this year, inspection took center stage with the new Quick Check Drive; in just a few seconds (without a technician), a vehicle’s vital statistics are taken, and can identify repair opportunities faster than any YouTube video. Hunter also debuted the Quick Tread Edge, which is able to seamlessly integrate with Quick Check Drive to take a tire’s tread depth and wear from 6 different locations on each tire instantaneously. As always, Hunter had its Hawkeye Elite Wheel Alignment Systems, Tire Changers, and Balancers on display. There are incremental but important changes across the board, including the introduction of the new TC39 Tire Changer.

From our standpoint, we were on a precision mission to fill important gaps in our product offerings to stay true to our value proposition. Stay tuned in the coming weeks for press releases on the new brands that we’re currently adding to our arsenal. Want to learn more about the SEMA show, or get a first look on what we’re picking up? Contact us now to learn more.

 

15 Oct

Hunter Engineering Headquarters Visit

The LIFTNOW Team just got back from yet another productive visit at Hunter’s World Headquarters just outside of St. Louis. This time, we brushed up on all of Hunter’s new and existing products before SEMA in a couple of weeks. For those not familiar with SEMA, it is THE automotive aftermarket trade show that takes place in Las Vegas. For a pre-show report, click here. We’ll also have a show report a few days following the event.

In a word, the Hunter Headquarters is spectacular; walking in, the walls are lined with over 350 patents, and hundreds of awards that Hunter has received over 5 decades for excellence in Engineering. (Ask any Hunter employee and they’ll tell you Engineering is their middle name). Over the three days we were there, we were able to get a refresh on some of the existing products, along with some of the newer automotive equipment, like the completely automated Quick Check Drive.

Quick Check Drive can check a car’s vital statistics and measurements, including alignment angles. Having a quality piece of inspection equipment is important to diagnose a customer’s vehicle and finding additional repair opportunities. When over 70% of “healthy” cars on the road need alignment, it pays to check every car.

Hunter Engineering Headquarters Visit
The AutoComp Elite brake lathe.

Another highlight was Hunter’s new on-the-car brake lathe, called the AutoComp Elite. The AutoComp Elite automatically compensates, calculating the perfect position of the solution to eliminate guesswork. Using a simple touchscreen interface, the user can set and vary speeds for the lathe. The AutoComp Elite also oscillates speeds automatically to prevent vibrating, which can potentially damage a rotor. All of these features make the AutoComp Elite the easiest and most efficient solution in today’s marketplace.

Another highlight of the trip was the factory tour. Hunter is “proudly made in the USA”, and they proved it. Hunter maintains three factories (two in Mississippi and one in Missouri that shares space with its corporate offices). We took an hour-long factory tour, and while pictures were prohibited to maintain confidentiality, what we can say is it was IMPRESSIVE.

The tour guide explained that whenever possible, Hunter sources, designs and assembles parts in the United States, like manufacturing their own balancer collets in-house, and sourcing the steel from a mill just 30 miles away. We were personally blown away—it’s the epitome of strong, reliable American manufacturing.

Stay tuned for more surprises from SEMA, coming up in a couple of weeks! As always, if you want to talk about something or have any comments, contact us here.

26 Sep

SEMA 2018 Pre-Show Report

With over 160,000 attendees and 1.2 million square feet of exhibit space, SEMA is one of the largest trade shows in the world. We spend over 3 full days hitting the trade show hard, looking for new trends so you don’t have to. About a week after the show, we’ll release a show report, so you get the full picture. Want us to look for something or report on something specific at SEMA 2018? Let us know here and we promise to report on it, just for you.

Here are some of our predictions:

The automotive aftermarket remains strong and steady and has grown 4% since last year, so we expect strong products and strong interest and the show, with plenty of buying.

Unsurprisingly, 45% of consumers look for parts info on search engines like Google and Bing, and review websites. But word of mouth also dominates, with 41% of consumers asking their friends and families for recommendations. We think that SEMA 2018 will see more companies offer solutions for shop marketing but remember that search engine and good old-fashioned recommendations still reign supreme.

There’s also been a “Do-it-Yourself” trend among many consumers who think that they can repair their broken cars with parts from Amazon and videos from YouTube. While that maybe the case for certain components, like chemicals (78% of consumers doing it themselves), lighting (69% DIY) and Interior (65% DIY), certain things are still FAR from affected by this newfound trend. Wheels/tires see only 21% of consumers attempting to do it themselves, while Advanced Driver Assist-Systems are at 34%. As Hunter distributors, we already know that wheel service and driver safety systems will continue to play a large part at SEMA 2018.

Another interesting trend is purchasing parts online. It’s become more difficult for the independent repair shop to sway motorists to purchase parts from them, in addition to the actual repair. While online purchases only make up 38% of total parts purchases, this will grow. One solution for repair shops to keep profit in-house is to open their own small parts store online or offer online tools for their motorists like scheduling appointments, that come with parts included.

Young people may be online more than their older counterparts, but everyone wants a one-click solution. If you can provide a one-stop shop to buying parts and scheduling local repairs with their favorite mechanic, you’ll keep more profit. We saw them last year, and we’ll see them again: eCommerce and other tech companies promising this solution. But, the same way you scrutinize who you buy your tires and equipment from, make sure you do the same with these “soft services.”

ABOUT LiftNow

Liftnow is the New York Tristate's #1 Automotive Equipment distributor. We pride ourselves on the ability to outfit repair shops, body shops and car dealerships with whatever they need to succeed. We have a full-time sales and service team, and also have design, inspection and financing services.

CONTACT US

We are located in Westchester County, NY and also have a satellite office in Brooklyn.

Mailing:
PO Box 972, Yorktown Heights, NY 10598

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