LAS VEGAS, NV — The SEMA 2019 show has come and gone. Some of the concepts and trends on display at this year’s show though, are likely the stick around.
The SEMA Show in Las Vegas, NV is the automotive aftermarket industry’s largest show and often serves as a giant, 2.5-million square foot crystal ball for where automotive customization is heading.
When the dust settled (and our feet stopped aching), we identified these six new or growing trends at the 2019 show.
The top—and most obvious—trend we spotted was the dramatic rise of overlanding.
We know, we know—those of you who have been overlanding for years will say this isn’t a new trend.
But the proliferation of overlanding displays, vehicle setups, and yes, overlanding-related products was evident at SEMA 2019.
We’re talking truck tents, awning, portable showers—the list goes on and on. A subset (and near trend of its own) of the overlanding trend was a noticeable increase in cargo and roof racks.
How evident was the rise in overlanding?
For starters, SEMA created an entire section of the show called the “Overlanding Experience.” Also, nearly every one of the product merchandisers in attendance from Summit Racing identified overlanding as a big trend.
The 2020 Toyota Supra
In a year where the Big Three were fairly low-key in their press conferences and news releases (Chevy didn’t even have an official press conference), the 2020 Toyota Supra took its place among the most customized vehicles at the show.
Not that we’re surprised.
The turbocharged Supra was everywhere, with dozens of customizers tuning up and tricking out the head-turning car. Toyota, which is celebrating the 40th anniversary of Toyota Racing Development (TRD), led the way with nine custom Supras.
Could the interest and infatuation with Supra foretell the rebirth of the tuner movement?
We’ll leave that right there.
One of the Summit Racing merchandisers we spoke to dubbed SEMA as “Gladiator Central.”
With the recent release of the Jeep pickup, it’s no surprise.
Everywhere you went at SEMA, someone had put their own spin on the Gladiator, and it will be interesting to see how the aftermarket responds with parts.
The Jeep Gladiator is a bit of a polarizing vehicle. Aftermarket companies and customization shops seems to be betting on the truck—er, Jeep.
Vintage-Look Parts for Late Model Engines
New engines like the LS and Gen. III Hemi are hot.
EFI systems are smoldering.
But what if you want your late-model EFI to give off that old-school vibe?
Several aftermarket companies—brands like Holley and Lokar—dedicated time developing parts and accessories to give EFI engines a vintage look—even creating faux distributors.
It’s not necessarily a new trend, but it continues to grow.
Yep—electric vehicles were fairly big at SEMA this year.
Like it or not, this trend is likely to become more and more prevalent as time passes. At SEMA 2019, we saw everything from electric muscle cars from the 1960s to the all-electric BIGFOOT Monster Truck—and yes, Don Garlits’ electric dragster was there, too.
Chevrolet even introduced its all-electric 1962 “E-10” C10 pickup.
Return of the Early Bronco
On the very first day of the show, we were introduced to Jay Leno’s restomodded 1968 Ford Bronco. Although it was likely the most high-profile, Leno’s was not the only early Bronco at the show.
SEMA 2019 featured a number of custom early Broncos to piggyback on the buzz from the upcoming release of the new Ford Bronco. Now the question is: Will the amplified interest in Broncos old and new continue after the show?
1988-98 GM Trucks
The GM square-body pickup has been one of the darlings of the truck aftermarket in recent years—and still is. Companies continue to develop new parts, particularly suspension kits and components, for the 1973-87 trucks as well.
Time will tell.
But we saw the 1988-98 pickup get some love at this year’s SEMA Show. Will this be the next square body in terms of aftermarket parts attention?
You nailed it…those were for sure the biggest subjects.