Forget Celine Dion and Cirque de Soleil. If you’re an auto buff, the biggest show in Vegas next week will be the SEMA circus featuring the Ford Bronco, Jeep Wrangler and GMC Hummer EV off-road warriors.
The Detroit Three’s off-road stars will take center stage at the Nov. 2-5 Specialty Equipment Market Association’s annual show, which is back live after taking last year off because of the pandemic.
The show has been an annual pilgrimage for Wrangler, the halo car for Jeep’s rugged lineup of SUVs. The Wrangler will showcase two unique off-road mods this year. But in an indication of the escalating off-road battlefield in an SUV and truck-crazed nation, the Wrangler will be joined by debut outings from Bronco and Hummer EV.
SEMA represents auto-mod businesses — a market estimated at $40 billion in 2020 – geared towards enthusiasts who want to personalize their vehicles beyond the multitude of trims that manufacturers offer. The convention floor is a toy chest full of vehicle mods for everything from pickups to sportscars.
Ford traditionally brings hot-rod versions of its Mustang muscle car, while Chevrolet is sure to show off its new, 670-horse Corvette Z06 supercar as well as a 632-cubic-inch V-8 crate engine — offering the most horsepower in Chevy history at 1,004 horsepower. Foreign brands like Toyota have made SEMA home with its smokin’ Supra sportscar, while the floor is also littered with aftermarket shops like Dana (axles) and Wixom-based Lingenfelter Engineering.
Off-roading has been supercharged in the pandemic and overlanding age, and Detroit’s rugged brands are determined to capture the market with hundreds of high-margin accessories. In addition to ogling cars at manufacturer booths, SEMA attendees can climb aboard for rides in activations outside the Las Vegas Convention Center.
Having locked horns with Wrangler at Michigan’s Motor Bella