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Volume 7, Issue 1        January/February 2005

Vegas Vibes
A Recap of SEMA and NACE
   
by Brigid O'Leary

Held in Las Vegas the first week of November 2004, Automotive Aftermarket Industry Week (AAIW), which includes the Specialty Equip-ment Manufacturers Association (SEMA) show and the International Autobody Conference and Expo (NACE) , took over the city. 

SEMA: Sensory Overload
The SEMA show utilized more than 1 million square feet of the Las Vegas Convention Center (including two parking lots) November 2-4, 2004 to bring together more than 115,000 attendees; nearly 10,000 exhibitors signed up for booth space, using every bit of what they had.

Organized into 11 seemingly endless sections, members of the automotive glass industry could be found in several different subsections.

Equalizer Tools were part of the car care and accessories subsection and were benefiting from the introduction of the Equalizer® Store, a point-of-sale (POS) sales tool that it had introduced recently.

“It’s unbelievable,” said Ray Asbery, Equalizer’s president said of the industry’s reception of the high-profile, lockable, see-through cabinet. “We’ve sold 87 since the September and it’s the feature item in our new catalog.”

Delta Kits, meanwhile, had its booth over in the tools and equipment section. Though the company had its full line of automotive glass repair tools and equipment available, it also offered a factory certification and marketing training class at SEMA.

The company used the opportunity that is SEMA to spread the word among its customers regarding the treatment of surface chips.

“We advocate our customers do it as a courtesy and not bill insurance companies for it,” Jeff Higgins said. “We’re focusing on training.”

Those interested in the training classes offered by Delta Kits can find more information on the company website, www.deltakits.com.

C.R. Laurence and Visteon had their booths at the opposite end of the complex.

C.R. Laurence was promoting its sprinter windows for Mercedes with 140 and 158 well bases, along with its 430 page AGR catalog that can be ordered from the company website or over the phone (www.crlaurence.com; 800/421-6144). Also available from CRL are the windshields for the 2005 models of the Nissan Frontier and Toyota Tacoma.

Visteon, meanwhile, was promoting its NASCAR Performance® windshields, which feature a checkered flag motif and the NASCAR brand logo centered within the shade band across the top of the windshield. Available in both color and black and white, the design is thermally-fused between the vinyl interlayers of the glass. Company information indicates that doing so prevents fading.

Not that there was anything at the show that promoted fading of any sort and the event certainly won’t be fading away any time soon.

“There is nowhere else to go ... that even comes close to SEMA to see what’s on the cutting edge of the market,” said George Lyons, an auto dealer from Erie, Pa., who was at his third SEMA show in five years. 

NACE Gets Lucky in Las Vegas
At the other end of the Las Vegas strip, the Mandalay Bay Convention Center was hosting the NACE show November 4-6.

Though not as grandiose as SEMA, the National Auto body Congress Expo (NACE) drew more than 500 exhibiting companies and 30,243 attendees to the show, during its first outing in Vegas. The attendance number marks an increase of 26 percent over the previous year with a 13 percent increase in exhibiting companies, according to a NACE press release.
Dueling Dent Removal

Consider the name of the show. The International Autobody Conference and Expo. Of course, there were a number of exhibitors whose business centers around dent repair. 

Dent Wizard and Dent Doctor were both pitching services as a dent repair companies that can be outsourced to work for another. In doing so, if a company wants to be able to offer dent repair but does not have someone on staff to perform said repairs, either company can be hired to fill that role when needed.
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Dent Estimators, on the other hand, offers management and estimating software for companies that already perform dent repair. The newest features they have to offer include the vendor management and recon management systems. The vendor management system includes PDA and pen table compatible, and integrates with QuickBooks. With the recon management system, reconditioning limits can be set on vehicles, and inspections and additional work estimates can be tracked and it connects in-house service with outside vendors.
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Also for those who do their own repairs, Dent Fix Equipment offers a range of tools to perform the job, from the Dent Fix Stud Welding Kit that removes dents by welding copper pints to any panel, to the Ding Massager cone for glue pulling systems. 
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Tools of the Trade
There were plenty of companies exhibiting at NACE that offer products the AGR industry uses. SAS Safety Corp., for example, offers a range of safety equipment from gloves to goggles and face shields.
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Herkules, which sells materials handling equipment, is starting to court the AGR realm with the introduction of its windshield rack and x-frame workstand. 
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Diamondite, introduced its Clay ‘n Shine paint care system and a new range of auto body and detailing wipes at NACE. The Crazy Clean wipes remove grease, oil, tree sap and sticker adhesive, and the industrial strength cleaner wipes remove both cured and uncured urethanes and paint over spray from glass, according to the company. 
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Where is the Auto Glass?
Among the AGR related companies was AEGIS Tools International, demonstrating its scratch removal system, drawing crowds sometimes as deep as the aisles were wide. 

With booths at both NACE and SEMA, Glas-Weld of Bend, Ore, was getting the word out about the newest take on scratch removal: the Scratch-Weld Water Feed System. The system provides a continuous stream of water to the glass during the scratch removal system, freeing technicians from the use of the spray bottle.

GlassMedic and SIKA both had booths at the show, making their presence known, as was Dow Automotive/Essex with its BETA-SEAL(tm) Express 20 oz. sausage package. On the tool end of things, the Extractor booth was busy for most of the show with crowds sometimes three people deep wanting information about the tool.

Mitchell International drew a crowd at its booth with demonstrations of its software capabilities such as Autochex, GlassMate and eGlassClaim.

PPG had a substantial booth at which it promoted its line of automotive finishes and paint, though it did not ignore its auto glass side. A representative of PPG led the auto glass repair action demonstration on Friday afternoon causing a stir among the repair industry. Some felt the demonstration was not complete and was biased, as PPG is a windshield manufacturer. Repair-only shops exhibiting at the show indicated an increase in questions about repair following the demonstration, some of which were unusual and raised concerns. Peg Stroka, National Windshield Repair Association (NWRA) secretary said the NWRA has addressed its concerns to PPG and have come to an agreement regarding future demonstrations.

Let’s Do It Again!
The Las Vegas setting aside, the week was pretty unique on its own and with so many things to see both industry related and otherwise, it was certainly not a bad idea to attend for the whole week.

All the shows connected to Auto-motive Aftermarket Industry Week, were successful and plans are currently in the works to replicate the success in 2005. 

Brigid O’Leary is the outgoing editor of AGRR magazine.


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