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New SEMA Garage propels aftermarket industry into future technology

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Growth of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADA)
S) and the popularity of electric vehicles mean new opportunities for the $50 billion aftermarket industry. A large part of that led to the opening of his new 45,000-square-foot product development center in a Detroit suburb on Thursday. The center was built by the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA), which represents more than 3,000 companies that manufacture automotive accessories, customization, appearance, and comfort products.

The SEMA Garage in Plymouth, Michigan is the organization’s second facility, but it’s more than three times the size of the 12,000-square-foot garage in Diamond Bar, California.

“The number of engineers in Michigan is unbelievable. They’re automotive engineers. We wanted to access that brain trust here, access the test systems available here, and be close to the automakers…night. grand opening ceremony scheduled for

He also pointed to the convenience of the test track’s relative proximity to Pontiac’s M1 Concourse and Ypsilanti’s Willow Run Airport.

SEMA members have access to the facility’s emissions testing and dyno labs, workspaces, tools, and even the kitchen.

But a key addition is the 5,000-square-foot ADAS Technology Center, which has been developed to unlock new mysteries for aftermarket product manufacturers.

“In the aftermarket, no one has really done that yet, but it’s about understanding what happens to all these systems when the vehicle is modified,” explains Spagnola. “What happens to all these systems and safety systems when you think about putting larger tires on a vehicle, lifting them up, and lowering them down?”

While walking through one of the ADAS labs, Spagnola explores ADAS calibration, braking and lane-change deviation techniques, as well as “What happens when you lift a truck two inches?” pointed out the operation of

ADAS Tech Center provides SEMA members with “OEM quality equipment and procedures” to enable static calibration of automotive ADAS systems (radar and camera) and troubleshooting of software and hardware issues To do.

Another lab is designed to mirror what automakers see in their own labs, so we can compare what the OE (automakers) see with what the aftermarket sees. If someone in the field has a problem, we should be able to reproduce it,” explains Spagnola.

If ADAS is one of the “frontiers” the SEMA Garage hopes to address, the second, according to Spagnola, is the onslaught of new electric vehicles hitting the market in the next few years.

“It’s a conversion to electric vehicles,” he said. “We put the electric motor, the battery pack and the wiring harness on the ’69 Camaro. We see this as a great opportunity to connect all the suppliers with the builders that make those transformations.”

The real key to the aftermarket industry is working with automakers before new products arrive in showrooms to develop and make their own products available as soon as the first customer takes ownership. is to

This was another feature of the SEMA Garage, used to coincide with the launch of the Ford Bronco.

“We had that Bronco six months ago,” says Spagnola. “Ford worked with us to enable the aftermarket to develop the product so that when that vehicle hit the market, the product would be ready to use.”

Demand for this newest SEMA Garage is already strong as aftermarket companies try to keep pace with automakers. Spagnola said there are already reservations left for members, and that his engineering staff will start with his nine and could grow to about 35 people.

In addition, SEMA has purchased a new office in Indianapolis and “will eventually do some garage work there,” Spagnola said.

At SEMA, we use facilities like the SEMA Garages to conduct research and testing to create aftermarket products that are in sync with future technology.