Va-Va-Voom! AAPEX/SEMA in Town

An aptly named vehicle with Firestone tires at the SEMA show was called “Big Foot.”
Photo by Diane Taylor

Two “official” publications of last week’s 2017 SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) show each had different listings for expected attendance. One “guess” was at 140,000 people and the other at 160,000 people. Whatever the final figure, the SEMA show and its sister show, AAPEX (Automative Aftermarket Products Expo) attract LOTS of people interested in parts and education having to do with everything automotive other than buying a brand new vehicle.

My personal challenge in attending these shows is where to park. I took a chance and headed for the Venetian Las Vegas. I found a spot on the fifth level not far from the elevator and walked to the AAPEX show at the connected Sands Expo & Convention Center. From there I took another (long) walk to the place where free bus transportation was available to the SEMA show at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Whew! I made it. Extra security was involved in entering the Las Vegas Convention Center and that was good.

The SEMA show is so large I felt the world was there with me. Booths come from throughout the world. Attendees can be heard speaking in German, Japanese, Spanish, etc. I talked to only two attendees, both of whom worked for companies that repaired automobiles following accidents. One man was from Australia; the other from Canada. Both are regular AAPEX/SEMA show attendees; both attend several of the educational sessions and both attend at least three days of shows.

Not all attendees at SEMA carry long-lensed cameras, but almost all take photos.
Photo by Diane Taylor

I have a video taken during my 2017 AAPEX/SEMA show experience. It is concentrated in the central hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center, but my video is like a small hors d’oeuvre. I could have wandered so much further. AAPEX had 2200 exhibitors; SEMA 2400. Every square foot of both convention centers and much of their parking lots were taken up with exhibits and contests and education.

Among the booths at the Las Vegas Convention Center are some 1500 vehicles displaying products available at the show. My video features just a few of the vehicles, but no doubt attendees will return home with far more photos. Everybody at these shows brings (and uses) a camera.

AAPEX is co-owned by the Auto Care Association and the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association. The SEMA show is organized by the Specialty Equipment Market Association, the trade organization representing the $41.2 billion automotive aftermarket industry.


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