Last night, I was discussing with one of our members, our upcoming SEMA projects, and we started a conversation on what it means to be a SEMA Booth Vehicle. By now, thanks to social media, many enthusiasts know about SEMA, but are not very knowledgeable about the ina and outs of this Grande Expo. It is not a car show, by any means, and for 95% of the people, you can’t just decide to bring your vehicle to the event and expect it to be on display, let alone as a Company Booth Vehicle.
The following is my personal opinion about booth vehicles, after building over 250 for the last 18 years.
First, the vehicle designated for a booth, will be the vehicle representing the company at the largest automotive Industry event, in the United States. So rest assured, to be selected, vehicle candidates are screened and measured against the company’s marketing strategy for the following year. For the most part, a large amount of SEMA displaying companies select the newest platform to display their products. There are the exception: when the company may be targeting an older platform demographic (i.e. a company wishing to gain customers with new CRX headers and turbos), a race car, or a company car. This vehicle will be “mascot” for said company for the next few months, and will be remembered by those who attend SEMA and visit the companies booth…..i.e, the Foose designed build at the Magnaflow booth or the Liberty Walk GTRs.
Second, SEMA is a large expense for a company, even outside the actual booth. But, let’s just examine some of the booth costs…. A booth runs about $19.95/foot, to properly display ONE vehicle, you need about a 20×20 booth (minimum), add in carpeting, electricity, drayage, furniture, and you are looking at a booth cost of about $50K and beyond. With that said, who can guess the cost of the GM booth, showcasing over 30 vehicles? A lot is invested prior to the vehicle driving into the booth, so you can see how much is riding on the selected booth vehicle.
Third, the booth vehicle is not only there to display said companies new products, it is also there to attract customers to the booth. This is why, entities such as Projekt Cars, lobby our renderings for booth vehicles at the beginning of the year. If these renderings entice a company, we then massage the build to fit the company’s marketing strategy. Once the final rendition of the rendering is complete, the builder must ensure it meets with the final plan, and transport it to Las Vegas.
There is a lot more, others can add, but this should be enough to inform the unknown the importance of Booth Vehicle Status. Please feel free to add your comments, and to those who were selected for Booth Vehicles for SEMA 2018, Congratulations!