Meeting the Younger Generation Where They Are At


One of the concerns of many in our industry is the involvement of younger generations and will they carry the torch forward. This used to really concern me also but I have come to realize there is a strong level of interest in cars and trucks by young people. The proof is right at our own SEMA Show. There are young people everywhere at the show. They are working the booths, they are building cars, they are walking the aisles searching for the latest new products and they are producing their own social media programs. There are young people at the SEMA Show that are just as passionate about their rides as the older generations are about theirs.

Attend a local car show, drag race or local dirt track race this summer. You will see young people participating as drivers, crew members, working for the track etc. Often they are second and third generation kids carrying on the family tradition. Our industry is exciting, attractive and popular. There are a lot of great kids out there that love their car or truck. SEMA’s opportunity is to identify those trends that are attracting the younger generation and market and promote them.

I attended a car show a month or so ago. It wasn’t the normal car show circuit I usually participate in but because it was so heavily promoted on social media, I decided to attend. I was probably the oldest person there and the only one with a 1930s hot rod. What was exciting though was how young people were. They had late model Mustangs, Camaros and Challengers. They were driving import cars like Nissan 350Zs and Subaru BRZs. Better yet, it was a family affair with husbands and wives along with their kids. They are already passing the torch. They may drive different cars than us in the older generation but that doesn’t mean they aren’t passionate. Every car there had been modified and customized with aftermarket performance parts. SEMA represents these young people.

As an association, SEMA needs to connect with the younger generation where they are at. That means identifying key social media places and websites they visit. We need to reach out to them and bring them into the association. Let’s find out what they need and what they like. SEMA represents them and the manufacturer’s that they support. They may drive different cars but their passion cars is just as strong.