2011 SEMA Best New Products Announced

by Don Elliott on November 9, 2011

During the first week in November, an estimated 115,000 automotive professionals gather in Las Vegas for what has been billed as the world’s largest automotive event. Anything and everything that has to do with fixing, modifying, maintaining, and enhancing just about anything with a motor and a driver’s seat is on display or offered for sale.

Special Equipment Market Association Product Awards

SEMA, the Special Equipment Market Association, “recognizes the most cutting-edge automotive products either on the market or about to hit the market.” The Best New Products for 2012 included several products that the average car owner might not consider as important in their world. For example, Baer Brake Systems were recognized as having the “Best Engineered New Product.” Their Full Floating Rear End Conversion is something that only a few die-hard gear heads would understand. However, their technology might find its way into the car you will be driving sometime in the future.

Something a little easier to understand is the award for the Best New Mobile Electronics Product. Escort/ Beltronics Radar Detectors introduced ESCORT Live! They call it the “ultimate real-time ticket protection network.” When a police speed trap or active red light camera is detected, an alert with that detection’s location is sent via Smartphone to all Escort users within a certain area. Now that is something we could all use right away.

Almost 2,000 new products were submitted for the Best New Products competition. First, second, and third place prizes were awarded in sixteen categories. SEMA lists “superiority of innovation, technical achievement, quality and workmanship, consumer appeal, and marketability” as criterion for the judges. I had the opportunity to walk through the “New Products Showcase” and was impressed by the innovation of the items displayed. Remarkably, not a large number of new products were associated with electronics and computer technology. Products ranged from a drop step to enter the bed of a pickup truck to adjustable fuel injection systems. There was also tire technology and an EFI throttle body insert hidden metal screen filter (Yep, I didn’t really know what it was either!).

A sold out breakfast crowd witnessed the awards presentation. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Driver David Ragan addressed the crowd as the featured speaker. Ragan drives the #6 UPS car. UPS was a major exhibitor at the SEMA 2011 Show. UPS stressed fast efficient delivery of parts and tools as a critical part of any automotive repair or restoration project. It was a great event to witness revolutionary changes in automotive products.

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