Ford, GM and Hyundai Out at SEMA Show

UPDATED, 5/20/2022: When this story originally ran on 5/4/2022, we reported General Motors was still committed to attending this year’s SEMA show. This week we learned GM has decided to pull out. The story has been updated to reflect the change.

  • Ford, GM and Hyundai have pulled out of the SEMA show this year.
  • Toyota, Honda, Lexus, Volkswagen, Nissan, and MOPAR look to remain.
  • SEMA is still contending with Covid and with the fact that automakers have many new ways to reach many new customers and clients, meaning the B2B SEMA trade show is facing many of the same challenges as consumer shows.

    As has happened with other auto shows around the world, some major carmakers are pulling out of this year’s SEMA show in Las Vegas, but other carmakers are taking advantage of those withdrawals to increase their presence at the big Las Vegas power-parts trade show.

    If you’re going to Vegas this November, it may look like any other year and any other SEMA, with a few changes. The show has been evolving—and growing—every year since it was founded in 1967, except these last pandemic-fueled weirdness years. But as marketing opportunities diversify and marketing dollars get increasingly scarce, carmakers have to be more selective with how they spend their money.

    Thus, Ford, Hyundai and GM will not be in Glitter Gulch this year.

    “We are proud to support the automotive aftermarket industry and collaborate closely with its members,” said Ford in an official statement. “However, we are taking a new approach to the SEMA show. Instead of our traditional display, we look forward to showcasing our winning portfolio of vehicles digitally online as well as at Ford events and shows.”

    Ford traditionally had one of the biggest booths at the show, located at the top of the stairs in the ginormous Central Hall. Ford also created a tire-squealing, rubber-burning festival of horsepower and rear-wheel tire-shredding out in front of the Central Hall called “Ford Out Front.” Both those exhibitions will be gone this year. The former Ford space in the Central Hall now says simply, “SEMA” on the show floor layout.

    Earlier reports that Ford’s official presence would take the form of concept and project cars at customer booths was disavowed by the big blue oval.

    The SEMA show is loaded with cool new products.


    GM has also pulled out.

    “GM has made the decision not to participate in the 2022 SEMA Show,” read an official statement. “The SEMA show has always inspired us, and accessories and performance parts remain an important part of our business.”

    GM’s former space, meanwhile, appears to have been taken by Toyota and Lexus, again, according to the floor plan, moving them from the far corner of the Central Hall to smack dab in the middle of it.

    “I’ve confirmed that we are 100 percent committed to SEMA and we will be at the show this year,” said a Toyota spokesperson.

    Honda, which was usually in the far corner opposite Toyota, does not appear at all on the floor plan but does plan to be at the show.

    “Honda will have a presence at the SEMA show but we’re still working on the specifics,” said a spokesman.

    Hyundai has withdrawn from the show this year altogether.

    “Hyundai has been an active participant in the SEMA show for many years,” the company said in a statement. “For 2022, our strategy has focused on some specific vehicle launch strategy and media events, and in these plans, Hyundai will not have a corporate presence at SEMA.”

    Still, it left the door open.

    “As we evaluate our strategies and resources for 2023 and beyond, we will continue to evaluate our presence and activities at upcoming SEMA events. It is an exciting show!”

    Note the exclamation mark.

    Other manufacturers have reserved space on the floor. MOPAR has its usual dark space in the dank downstairs of the South Hall, while Volkswagen and Nissan have both committed to plots of land in the North and West Halls, respectively.

    It looks like the show will use all the halls, too, including the massive West Hall that opened up with last year’s show, crammed to the brim with Jeeps and overlanders (“It’s camping, dag nabbit!”).

    The number of tire makers—the major players of the South Hall—look to be diminished by about half or less of what they used to be. None of the true major tire makers exhibit at SEMA anymore (Pirelli was the last), and with Goodyear buying Cooper, it’s doubtful even Cooper will be there. The exodus really began a few years back after the United States imposed elevated import duties on China, followed by the same last year for Taiwan and Thailand. Now, it’s mostly big tire wholesalers and importers, with Toyo and Nexen the only true tire manufacturers of note.

    Does any of this foretell any troubles with SEMA in general? Maybe or maybe not.

    Stalwart aftermarket players like Mothers, Holley, Edelbrock, and Lingenfelter are all in place. EMPI, Borla, Mobil 1, and HKS are also on the list. The Central Hall is about sold out. And remember that the floor plan just opened up for reservations, so the big swaths of floorspace that show no exhibitors in other halls doesn’t mean they won’t be filling up soon.

    What does it cost to have a presence at SEMA? If you register at, it’s $21.95 a square foot for members, $36.95 for non-members. The smallest booth available is 100 square feet, meaning you and your company could be in fabulous Las Vegas for as little as $2195 for four days in November, minus hotels for your staff, meals, and (possibly) bail money. Considering all the customers you could meet to sell your turbovortexgeneratingfuelsavingdevice, that’s cheap.

    So make plans now and we’ll see ya’ at SEMA!

    Mark Vaughn grew up in a Ford family and spent many hours holding a trouble light over a straight-six miraculously fed by a single-barrel carburetor while his father cursed Ford, all its products and everyone who ever worked there.

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