I recently spent a very busy week at the recent Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo (AAPEX) and Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show in Las Vegas. Admittedly, while Vegas isn’t my kind of town (too noisy and bustling for my taste), wandering through the show was, as always, thoroughly enjoyable.
Aside from fly fishing (my passion), a day spent gawking at parts, tools and equipment and talkin’ trash with like-minded folks beats a day spent doing just about anything else.
Regardless of age and professional position (be it a tech, engineer, or sales or marketing executive) wearing a short-sleeve shirt or suit and tie, or the location of the conversation, one thing continues to remain constant — car guys are car guys. Almost every booth visit on the show floor or casual encounter outside resulted in lengthy discussions about new tools and equipment, replacement parts introductions, product innovations and, you guessed it, shared experiences of vehicle builds, restorations, engine builds, chassis upgrades and the like.
This was a pleasant reminder that, while the automotive service industry is and will always be a business wherein we all earn a living, luckily the industry remains heavily populated by folks who retain a vigorous passion for vehicles and everything relating to their design, maintenance and repair.
Among the slew of equipment that was on display at the show, one area that seemed to proliferate is flushing and charging stations (A/C, brake fluid, transmission fluid, cooling system, etc.). It seems as though everyone’s getting into the act. And, as you might expect, there were more new offerings in the field of scanners and diagnostic units, with ever-increasing communications capabilities.
Another item worth noting is Federal-Mogul Corp.’s new fleet of mobile tech units, built using Ford full-size vans. Each van is fully equipped with a dizzying array of product samples, and very high-tech flat screen displays and Internet access that allows tech instructors to delve into any area of product, vehicle updates, product ordering, specs, TSBs, etc. These vans are really cool, and ideal for mobile training at service shops and other locations. When you see one of these up-close, it’ll blow your mind. We plan to do a “ride along” sometime in the very near future, so you’ll see more on this.
Oh, by the way, I did not attempt to visit the “Pawn Stars” pawn shop while in town. It’s a cool little store, but due to the TV exposure, it’s a huge tourist draw, with lines of people waiting to get in (probably hoping to grab a glimpse of Chumlee).
I guess I’m just not the tourist type. Besides, there’s not enough automotive stuff there to attract me. ●