SEMA cancels its annual Las Vegas show for 2020
Pandemic uncertainties scrub the event, which draws 160,000 people from around the world
SEMA, the giant annual Specialty Equipment Market Association show held in Las Vegas each November, has been cancelled for 2020. Organizers said the show has been scrubbed “due to COVID-19 and concerns that event facilities and services will be unavailable.”
SEMA is a trade show and isn’t open to the public. It’s dedicated solely to the aftermarket — anything that’s bought to be used on, in, or near a vehicle but that doesn’t come with it from the factory, including replacement wheels and tires, engine and suspension modifications, and accessories. The show also caters to body shops, repair facilities, and tool companies, and includes seminars and workshops for them.
The show is normally held inside the Las Vegas Convention Center, with some vendors and show vehicles spilling out into the adjacent parking lots. In a recent questionnaire, the show organizers asked participants if they were willing to attend if the show was held entirely outdoors, or virtually. There’s still a chance that some aspects of the show will be held online.
SEMA is also a showcase for custom car builders, some of whom create vehicles specifically for the event. When the show closes on Friday night, vehicles then move to SEMA Ignited, an evening car show the public can attend. The four-day event usually draws more than 160,000 people, including 2,400 exhibitors and 3,300 media representatives. Many participants attend from outside the U.S.
SEMA always runs alongside AAPEX, the Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo, which features automotive supplies for maintenance and repair, along with overseas manufacturers and suppliers offering their services. AAPEX issued a statement that the in-person show has also been cancelled, and it will become “a virtual/digital experience” for 2020.
Earlier this year, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) announced the cancellation of its January 2021 edition, which will now be entirely digital. The Las Vegas Convention Center, which hosts both CES and SEMA, is about 90 per cent through an expansion on a massive new wing to add 1.4 million square feet, and which was expected to open in time to host CES 2021.