The annual AAPEX (Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo) and SEMA automotive trade shows once again combined forces in Las Vegas in early November. A local marketing expert – the cabbie who drove me from the airport to my hotel – informed me that “auto week” is the largest single draw in Vegas every year, with 140,000 people flocking to “Sin City.” That’s 30,000 more than the second largest event, the Consumer Electronics Expo.
Those population estimates certainly proved to be true, judging from the crowds in the hotels and on the show floor. Given the size of the show, I focused my attention on AAPEX. Most ABPA members seem to follow me in favoring AAPEX, as the show’s vendors and participants are primarily linked to our industry.
(Don’t get me wrong! I’m a true car guy and would have loved to have the time to enjoy both shows. However, it is estimated that touring all the aisles at both AAPEX and SEMA would require 38 miles of walking.)
Again this year very few ABPA members elected to exhibit at their own booths. In years past a number of our smaller members participated in the expo, but this is no longer the case. It is the parts manufacturers who have the strongest AAPEX presence now, including many of the lighting and cooling companies. It is always a pleasure to explore the booths, connect with old friends, make new contacts and examine the new products on display.
The ABPA traditionally takes advantage of the gathering of the industry at AAPEX to hold our mid-year Board of Director’s meeting. This year, the Board met at the Harrah’s casino meeting space for a highly productive meeting which lasted most of the day.
Following the Board meeting, many of the Board members and I took the opportunity to enjoy dinner at the annual Maxzone dinner event. Maxzone invites their distributors and customers (many of whom are ABPA members) to thank them for another successful year. CCC also generously extended an invitation to several ABPA members to attend their exclusive after party, hosted this year at Foxtail nightclub at SLS.
The annual AAPEX / SEMA show is a great place to strengthen existing business relationships and to make new contacts in the industry. For ABPA members, this opportunity is exceeded only by the upcoming 2016 ABPA convention in Miami. See you in South Beach!
In the meantime, enjoy these photos from the Maxzone dinner event at AAPEX, where many of the aftermarket industry’s leaders met to enjoy a meal together.