While recent OEM sales numbers have shown continued strength and indicate a slow-but-sure recovery in the auto segment, another data point is worth noting in this regard.
According to the Specialty Equipment Market Association, the organizer of the annual SEMA Show in Las Vegas, they’re expected some 150 manufacturers to be exhibiting wheels at this fall’s event, which runs from October 30 to November 3. This is notable because it will be the biggest number of exhibitors in the Wheels & Accessories area ever. Of course, given that the area was established in 2010, that’s not a whole lot of history to draw from.
Velocity Wheel display at SEMA (SEMA photo)
That said, the “Global Tire Expo, Powered by TIA (Tire Industry Association)” (no, we don’t understand that “Powered by,” either), and the Wheel & Accessories area will fill the entire lower level of the South Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center, which is no small space.
This wheel-related activity should be of interest to designers—given the fact that wheels are among the most highly stylized exterior features of a vehicle, aftermarket or OEM—as well as to machine tool manufacturers, given the amount of complex turning and milling that is necessary to create these exotic objects.