HomeNews and Events2020 SEMA Show latest casualty to COVID-19

2020 SEMA Show latest casualty to COVID-19

Car culture looks forward to 2021


In what came as no surprise to the Journal staff, SEMA, the Specialty Equipment Market Association, announced today that due to Covid-19 and concerns that event facilities and services will be unavailable, the SEMA Show will not be taking place in 2020.

After the cancellation of the Consumer Electronics Show, the largest trade show to come to Las Vegas, it was only a matter of time before the second largest show, SEMA, would also be cancelled.

In April, Tom Stahler spoke with Tom Gattuso, SEMA VP of Events, when they had a more encouraging perspective.

“The SEMA Show is committed to furthering businesses in the automotive specialty equipment market, and to providing manufacturers and buyers with the best opportunity to connect, promote new products and discover new trends,” said Chris Kersting, SEMA president and CEO. “We appreciate the spirit, hard work and innovation our industry puts into the SEMA Show each year. While we are disappointed circumstances prevent us from hosting the Show in November, we look forward to getting everyone together in 2021 for another outstanding event.”

“While both event organizers and industry members have been working tirelessly to deliver an outstanding SEMA Show in November, mounting uncertainty has rendered continuing with the event inadvisable,” according to Kersting. “SEMA expects the decision will bring much needed clarity to an uncertain picture and will help exhibitors, attendees and partners plan accordingly.”

Like CES, recent SEMA Show survey results indicate interest in a possible virtual trade show with related live elements. SEMA will be working with industry members to determine interest levels on specific alternatives.

According to SEMA, “Full refunds for SEMA Show exhibitor booth deposits and attendee registration fees will be issued.”

Tom Stahler
Tom Stahler
Tom Stahler is the Managing Editor of the Journal. Tom has a lifelong love of cars and motor racing – beginning with the 1968 USRRC race at Road America, in a stroller, at eight months of age. His words, photos and broadcasts can can be found on a myriad of media. He has won the Motor Press Guild’s Dean Batchelor Award and a Gold Medal in the International Automotive Media Awards.


  1. If Joe Biden is elected president in November, with his and Democrats’ avowed anti-car agenda (much more a threat to the automotive aftermarket than Covid-19), 2019 may well have been the last SEMA Show as we have known it.

    Anyone in our industry that votes Democrat in the 2020 presidential election is signing their own death warrant.


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