What to Expect at SEMA 2021

Ant Anstead, host of "Celebrity IOU: Joyride," will showcase a Radford Lotus Type 62/2 Gold Leaf car built in collaboration with Jenson Button, 2009 Formula One world champion and Super GT Series champion.

Automotive celebrities, vehicle debuts from major OEMs and the latest developments in equipment and tooling will all be part of the SEMA Show this year in Las Vegas, NV.

Following last year’s virtual event, SEMA 360, show organizers have planned a live show this year with COVID-19 protocols in place. The four-day event takes place Nov. 2-5 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

SEMA, the Specialty Equipment Market Association, was founded in 1963 and represents the $47.89 billion specialty automotive industry. The SEMA Show is a trade-only industry event.

This year’s show is the first industry-wide, in-person gathering since 2019, and will include more than 1,300 exhibitors, approximately 1,000 vehicles and nearly 50,000 registered buyers to date.

“With two years’ worth of innovation, the SEMA Show is going to be jam-packed with excitement,” said Tom Gattuso, SEMA VP of events. “We never know what we’ll see at the SEMA Show until we get on the show floor." 

There will be exhibits in four halls, including the newly constructed 1.4 million-square foot West Hall.

The Collision Repair & Refinish exhibits, typically located in North Hall, have been relocated to the South upper hall. This section will showcase collision repair products, paint booths and equipment, tools, accessories and software and management programs.

Show organizers said SEMA is 100% committed to delivering a great show. Face masks are expected to be required while indoors during the event. However, there is currently no requirement to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test.

The SEMA Show App has been updated for 2021 and provides access to a comprehensive list of exhibitors and events throughout the week.

One of the new additions to the show this year is SEMA Member Central, where attendees can learn about the association and its membership.

Several industry events will also take place during the week, including the MSO Symposium on Monday, Nov. 1, at the Mandalay Hotel, and the Collision Industry Conference (CIC) on Tuesday, Nov. 2 at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino. An in-depth report on both events from John Yoswick will be posted online and included in an upcoming issue of Autobody News.

Featured events during the week:

New Products Award Breakfast

Location: Westgate Paradise Event Center
When: 7:30 to 8:45 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 2

Prior to the official opening of the SEMA Show, at 9 a.m. Nov. 2, Jay Leno will help kick off the event as the featured guest of the New Products Breakfast, where the best new product award winners are announced. Awards are presented in 16 categories, including Collision Repair & Refinish, and will be showcased in the New Products Showcase throughout the week. 

Ed Attanasio will share details about the New Product Award winners in an upcoming article posted online and featured in the print issue of Autobody News.

To register for the free breakfast, visit www.semashow.com/banquet.


More than 70 free and 30 paid educational seminars will take place Monday through Friday.

The Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) will hold its Repairer Driven Education Series, featuring industry experts. The courses are designed to deliver relevant content covering industry trends and best business practices. Highlights include the OEM Collision Repair Technology Summit on Thursday, Nov. 4, and the IDEAS Collide Showcase presentations on Friday, Nov. 5.

Collision Repair Stage

Location: LVCC Upper South Hall

Experts will be on-hand to answer questions and lead interactive demonstrations at the Collision Repair & Refinish Stage. There will be free hands-on welding demos and presentations by I-CAR, SCRS and OEMs.

Celebrity Appearances

Celebrity appearances will take place throughout the week.

Ant Anstead, host of "Celebrity IOU: Joyride," will showcase some of his favorite vehicle builds. These consist of a custom 1962 Buick converted into an electric car in collaboration with American actor James Marsden, and a Radford Lotus Type 62/2 Gold Leaf car built in collaboration with Jenson Button, 2009 Formula One world champion and Super GT Series champion.

Other vehicles will be on display, such as a new 2023 Nissan Z and a 1953 Corvette-inspired carbon fiber concept car by Dave Kindig from the MotorTrend show "Bitchin Rides."

Chip Foose's automotive designs and sketches will be on display at the Las Vegas Convention North Hall along with 20 of his custom vehicle creations, including RIDLER winners and "Overhaulin'" builds.

For a list of celebrity appearances, click here.

Battle of the Builders

The SEMA Battle of the Builders® competition recognizes the accomplishments of SEMA vehicle builders. Enthusiasts can learn about the builders and their vehicles.

SEMA Electrified

Location: LVCC North Hall

At SEMA Electrified, the industry will have an opportunity to view emerging technologies advancing and redefining the performance aftermarket. These include custom electric-vehicle conversions as well as parts and products.

SEMA Industry Awards Banquet

Location: Westgate Paradise Event Center
Date: Thursday, Nov. 4
Time: 6 p.m. reception---Westgate Palm Court

The SEMA Show Industry Awards Banquet is the annual celebration of the specialty-equipment industry. Industry awards will be given out during the event and SEMA Hall of Fame inductees will be honored. The headline entertainment will be Light Balance, a Ukrainian LED dance troupe featured on "America’s Got Talent," as well as actor and comedian Adam Ferrera.

SEMA Ignited

Location: LVCC West Hall Parking Lot
Date: Friday, Nov. 5
Time: 3 p.m.

The show will culminate at SEMA Ignited, the official after-party, which takes place in the Convention Center West Hall Parking Lot. Free to all credentialled show attendees, the event will include food, entertainment and drifting demonstrations.

SEMA Cruise

Location: LVCC Silver Drive
Date: Friday, Nov. 5
Time: 4 p.m.

When the SEMA Show closes at 4 p.m. Nov. 5, vehicles from the event will parade toward the West Hall Parking Lot and SEMA Ignited.

Qualified individuals employed within the automotive aftermarket industry may register for the SEMA Show online at www.semashow.com or onsite at the Las Vegas Convention Center at Main Registration, located in Lower South Hall East.

Stacey Phillips Ronak

Stacey Phillips Ronak is an award-winning writer for the automotive industry and a regular columnist for Autobody News based in Southern California.

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