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Mopar Set Up for SEMA with Concept Vehicles

Performance brand sales are up 20% in 2015.

by on Nov.03, 2015

The Dodge Challenger GT AWD Concept boasts a 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 engine using an AWD package to power all four wheels, plus an eight-speed transmission.

One of the bright spots in Fiat’s acquisition of the Chrysler Group has been the boost Mopar, the aftermarket division, has given the company’s bottom line and put extra spark in the company’s model line.

FCA doesn’t break out the financial number for Mopar but it has said sales are up 20% and Mopar is showing off a huge line-up of production and concept parts and accessories at the Specialty Equipment Market Association Show in Las Vegas.

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“The line-up of Mopar-modified vehicles premiering at SEMA represents real-world examples of our brand’s continued commitment to helping owners create customized dream rides that suit their specific lifestyles and passions,” said Pietro Gorlier, head of Parts and Service (Mopar), FCA – Global. (more…)

SEMA Show Keeps America’s Love Affair with the Automobile Alive

Aftermarket business recovering after big recession hit.

by on Nov.10, 2014

Open wide: Toyota's "Sleeper Camry."

It looks like an ordinary, 2015 Toyota Camry, but lift the hood and you’re in for quite a surprise.

Actually, you have to raise the entire body of the “Sleeper Camry” sedan, which Toyota quietly transformed into an 850-horsepower drag racer. It’s just one of the wild, weird and wacky concept vehicles unveiled at the 2014 Specialty Equipment Marketers Association annual aftermarket convention, an event known to fans around the world as the SEMA Show.

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There’s been plenty written about the supposed death of the American love affair with the automobile. You’d have a hard time proving it at the Las Vegas convention center, which hosts what has become Sin City’s second-largest annual event, this year expected to draw as many as 140,000 attendees.

Local Motors Unveils World’s First 3D Printed Car

Phoenix company announced “ModMen” contest.

by on Nov.10, 2014

Local Motors debuted its Rally Fighter car at the SEMA show. The car was produced entirely using a 3D printer.

It’s not quite StarTrek, but 3D printing technology comes close, allowing you to turn a digital image into a solid object, everything from toys to tools – and now, even a car.

Phoenix-based Local Motors offered a hint of what it has in mind when it revealed a rough version of its concept at the SEMA Show, promising to put its new printed cars on sale next year for prices ranging from $18,000 to $30,000.

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And to underscore the flexibility of its approach, it launched the ModMen Challenge, asking hot rodders, performance fans and the aftermarket community to “hack up” its design to show what they would do. The top 12 will be given cars to bring to life before a final winner is chosen in time for next year’s Specialty Equipment Marketers Association convention in Las Vegas. (more…)

Scion Goes Heavy Metal at SEMA

Thrash band Slayer sets the tone for brand’s Tuner Challenge.

by on Nov.07, 2014

Slayer Guitarist Kerry King helps kick off the Scion Tuner Challenge at the Scion SEMA stand

It was a heavy metal scene at the Scion booth as Toyota’s sporty youth brand revealed the winners of its 10th annual Scion Tuner Challenge during the SEMA Show in Las Vegas.

The tone was actually more than a bit retro, members of the 1980s thrash band Slayer firing up the amps they built into their entry, the Slayer tC to get the audience worked up in anticipation. But it was the Speedhunters FR-S that took home the grand prize, a $10,000 check.

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“Speedhunters presented an FR-S that was not only creative and labor-intensive, but stood out to the judges as something fans would love to see at the SEMA show,” proclaimed Landy Joe, Scion auto shows and special events manager, as he revealed the winner. “Each team took the Scion FR-S Series 1.0 to new heights and proved that just about anything is possible when it comes to this vehicle.” (more…)

Live from the SEMA Show

Horsepower, performance and, well, horsepower drive the show.

by on Nov.05, 2014

The annual Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show in Las Vegas is now in full swing. The city’s convention center is filled with vehicles that are the childhood dreams of muscled up, tweaked out cartoon drawings brought to life.

The show gives automakers, suppliers and specialty builders a chance to show what they can do with time, specialized parts and a bunch of money. The results are some of the most technologically advanced, most powerful and most creative cars, trucks and SUVs in the world.

The show isn’t open to the pubic, but is here, acting as your eyes and ears and bringing you all of the news from the show floor for the next few days in the “city that never sleeps.” Here are today’s stories, but check back often to get the latest news. (more…)

Kia Mixes Beer and Ice Cream as it Rolls into SEMA

A way to spend a “Day at the Races.”

by on Nov.05, 2014

The Kia Optima race car will sport a new look when it gets back on the track early next year.

Beer and ice cream don’t necessarily mix together– but they’re proving a tasty combination at the Kia stand at this year’s SEMA Show, offering up the themes for two of the Korean carmaker’s lighthearted concept vehicles.

Kia has a history of finding unusual ways to tweak its production vehicles for the big aftermarket show, and this year proves no exception. The theme, this time around, is “A Day at the Races,” and the centerpiece is the maker’s very successful motorsports entry, a Kia Optima decked out in the new livery it will wear for the 2014 racing season.

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Kia has reason to boast. It announced its entry into motorsports just five years ago – not so coincidentally, at the 2009 SEMA Show. It has already won 11 races, about 15% of the events it has entered, nabbing 33 podium finishes overall.

But what’s a day at the races without some beer and snacks? And that’s where Kia gets creative.


Toyota Delivers a SEMA Surprise

New Camry transformed into a dragster.

by on Nov.04, 2014

Not your average Camry...this 600 horsepower beast caught a few folks napping during the SEMA show.

You can always expect a few surprises at SEMA, and not always where you expect them. Take Toyota, which rolled out a dozen or so custom cars, trucks and concept vehicles for the annual automotive extravaganza known as the SEMA Show.

But the maker saved the best for last – though it didn’t seem that way initially, for under the tarp was what looked like just a stock 2015 Camry. But as the engine kicked over, it was clear this wasn’t quite the same XSE sedan you can find at your local Toyota showroom.

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That became even more apparent when the maker offered to raise the hood – and the entire body of rose up. Developed by TRD, Toyota’s racing arm, what’s been dubbed the “Sleeper Camry” will be making a menacing debut on the drag racing circuit next year. (more…)

Ford Brings Back the Mustang King Cobra*

*Well, sort of…

by on Nov.04, 2014

Ford harkened back to another era with the debut of its King Cobra Mustang at this year's SEMA show.

Call it a blast from the past. Ford brought thunderous applause with an all-new version of a once-familiar nameplate at this week’s SEMA Show, the annual aftermarket extravaganza in Las Vegas.

Featuring a scaly paint job, complete with a raging snake on the hood, the Mustang King Cobra harkens back to some of the most powerful performance cars in Ford’s portfolio. But don’t expect to find it roll into your local Ford showroom anytime soon – not unless you spend some time browsing through the Mustang parts catalogue.

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“This is one of our most famous snakes,” said Ford Racing chief Jamie Allison as he helped pulled the covers off the show car. (more…)

Hyundai Amps it Up for SEMA

South Korean maker rolls out six special models.

by on Nov.04, 2014

The Blood Type Genesis Sedan bumps the recently redesigned four-door’s Tau V-8 up to an impressive 700 horsepower and 600 pound-feet of torque.

There’s plenty to keep your interest piqued at the annual SEMA Show in Las Vegas, whether you’re looking for performance parts, appearance upgrades – even such mundane things as in-car air fresheners. And then there are all the customized cars, including a wide array sponsored by manufacturers like Hyundai.

The Korean carmaker used its SEMA news conference to pull the wraps off six special models, each offering a different take on one of its production vehicles, like the Genesis sedan and coupe, and the latest-generation Hyundai Sonata.

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“I like to see cars we build reimagined,” explained Mike O’Brien, Hyundai’s vice president of corporate and product planning. (more…)

Special Edition to Celebrate Camaro’s Final Run

Three special versions of pony car debuting at SEMA this week.

by on Nov.03, 2014

The 2015 Chevrolet Camaro Commemorative Editon will help end the car's fifth-generation run.

Chevrolet isn’t about to let the current Camaro line fade away without some celebration. It’s planning to unveil three special versions of the popular pony car at the SEMA Show this week, including a special 2015 Camaro Commemorative edition that will go on sale next spring.

It also will reveal another special – but as yet-unnamed — production model that will help mark the unexpected rival of a once-dead nameplate. Re-launched in 2009 after a long absence, the Camaro is now the country’s most popular muscle car, handily out-selling long-time leader, the Ford Mustang. But Ford is looking for a revival of its own with the launch of an all-new model of its own this year.

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“The Camaro has had an amazing run since we introduced the fifth-gen Camaro,” said Jim Campbell, GM’s U.S. vice president of performance vehicles and motorsports. “In fact, Camaro’s outsold everybody in the segment, every single year. And what I attribute it to, is Camaro has always had this ability to deliver a combination of style, performance and affordability.”