SEMA Delegation Warmly Welcomed in Europe

European Working Vacation

Thirty-five SEMA members from 18 companies spent a week in Stockholm, Sweden, this past summer networking with trade buyers from throughout Europe. The week included exhibiting at two events—one trade-only and the other a large consumer and trade event hosted by one of Sweden’s largest distributors.

“The Nordic region is a great automotive enthusiast market,” noted Barry Adler, president of Quick Time Performance. “Their love for U.S. cars and trucks makes for great business opportunities.”

While the program was initially planned to be a gathering with buyers from the Nordic countries (which include Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland and Iceland), trade buyers attended from throughout Europe, including the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Germany and Netherlands. The U.S. delegation had the opportunity to meet both formally and informally with the visiting resellers at a trade-only day as well as a consumer event. Rounding out the week, the U.S. companies attended the famed Sveavägen Car Cruise and spent a day visiting retailers, wholesalers and installers with one route focusing on performance upgrades for street and racing and the other visiting shops focused on classic vehicles and restoration.

Todd Payne, director of sales for Magnuson Superchargers singled out a main highlight of the trip for him—the day of touring trade buyers’ facilities in the greater Stockholm area. “The shop visits were well planned and provided a great spectrum of the Swedish automotive culture and their strong affinity for American muscle and Americana as a whole.” He added, “I attended with high expectations for the quality of this venture and they were exceeded.”

“Even though I had been to Sweden and have an existing customer, this really opened my eyes to the size and enthusiasm of the market,” said Tom Davis, UK and European business development manager for VP Racing Fuels. For him, the opportunity to exhibit at a consumer event hosted by Hansen Racing was extremely valuable as “it gave me insight into what the actual end user wants and their thoughts/experiences.”

Robert Scheid, vice president for McLeod Racing LLC, spoke more broadly of the program’s importance for his business. “Meeting face to face with potential new distributors was just one of the highlights of the trip. Also getting to visit key distributors, attend the famous Sveavägen Car Cruise, and other key events built the foundations for growing our business in the region exponentially.”

Performance Analysis Owner Mark Whitney noted that the trip is for companies already active in a market as well as those new to the region or exporting more generally. “These trips put you face-to-face with vetted buyers in the region. For first-time exporters, a company new to exporting and even seasoned exporters, the SEMA trade events are the best way to do what we do best, promote our products.”

Andy Lamus, vice president of international sales for Dynocom Industries Inc., similarly pointed out the benefits to his company: “New contacts, market knowledge, real on-the-ground experience and the opportunity to talk, one-on-one, to the players in this market.”

The region was new, saleswise, to a number of the participants, including Radflo Suspension Technology. Glenn Classen, CEO and president of Radflo Suspension Technology, has participated in a number of previous business development programs with SEMA, and is actively exporting to a number of global markets, but was new to the Nordic region. “I was impressed with the knowledge and enthusiasm shown by the vendors and attendees to the show.”

The wholesale distribution system for parts for American vehicles and automotive specialty products in Europe, and the Nordic region in particular, is quite established and growing. The delegation met with many large wholesalers during the trip and visited two of the distributors’ facilities, the latter of which featured a heavy use of robotics to keep up with the demand. “The availability of parts and components into the market by local companies was impressive,” noted Classen.

Participants commented on the benefits of spending the time and funds needed to visit key markets and to meet with potential or current customers in person. “Deeper knowledge into the Northern European automotive aftermarket was gained by firsthand accounts through one-on-one interviews with buyers, workshop visits in the local area, and an American-flavored car show that can only be earned by showing up,” said David Reyna, international accounts manager for DeatschWerks Fuel Systems. A number of participants signed sales agreements during the trip. The vast majority expect that the leads they developed during the program will equate to sales in the short-term. Still others are planning to further research the market to determine whether it will be a good fit for their products.

The SEMA Nordic program is the fifth venue for the SEMA overseas business development programs, with each market chosen by the association based on a number of factors, including the current and potential sales of specialty products, sizable local interest in customizing, and the disposable income to afford this discretionary expense. This first program in Europe was added as the 25th business development program as Sweden, the Nordic region and Europe more broadly fit these criteria.

“As the European and Nordic markets continue to grow, and their demand for American brands remains relentless, this trip proved extremely valuable for international veterans and the newcomer alike,” noted Injen Technology Global Business Manager Jay Crouch. “Over the years, we’ve found that the SEMA international trips allow businesses like ours to network with key buyers in one place and get a real pulse for the region’s marketplace. We’re able to see how the local shops evolve on a yearly basis and how the market trends begin to shift before it happens,” added Crouch.


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SEMA, the Specialty Equipment Market Association founded in 1963, represents the $39.2 billion specialty automotive industry. The industry provides appearance, performance, comfort, convenience and technology products for passenger and recreational vehicles. Association resources include market research, legislative advocacy, training and product development support, as well as leading trade shows such as the SEMA Show in Las Vegas, NV, and the Performance Racing Industry (PRI) Trade Show in Indianapolis, IN. For more information, visit, or