April 8, 2003

Nine automakers to unveil customized and concept cars at SEMA in April

Diamond Bar, California – A record-breaking nine automakers will exhibit the latest trends in the sport compact car scene at SEMA’s 2003 International Auto Salon (IAS). This marks the largest original equipment manufacturer (OEM) participation in IAS history. Dodge, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Mazda, Nissan, Scion and Toyota Racing Development (TRD) all will exhibit at the show, to be held Friday through Sunday, April 25-27, at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Currently, Dodge, Ford, General Motors, Nissan and Scion have scheduled press conferences during the media day activities on Friday, April 25.

“It’s significant that many of the world’s top carmakers have chosen to exhibit at our sixth International Auto Salon,” said Christopher J. Kersting, president and CEO of SEMA. “For 40 years, SEMA has been the organization that provides the venues for introducing the latest automotive innovations. As this youth market trend evolves into a truly significant automotive business, SEMA is again at the forefront and we’re pleased to have the carmakers with us.”

Ford’s teams will work all weekend to transform a stock 2003 Ford Focus ZX5 into a totally customized “tuner car.” Groups of installers from such companies as Centerforce, Konig Wheels, Nitrous Express, and Xenon will demonstrate how easy it is to install their products on this domestic sport compact car.

General Motors returns as a major exhibitor at IAS. The company plans to demonstrate its commitment to the youth market by displaying a broad variety of performance enhancements, creative styling possibilities, and personalization opportunities. The General Motors booth will include numerous customized vehicles, as well as parts that enthusiasts can use to customize their own cars.

American Honda will show off modified versions of its latest production vehicles, including the all-new Acura TSX sports sedan and the Honda Element. These vehicles will combine upgrades from top aftermarket suppliers with a host of Acura and Honda accessories. American Honda also plans to display a turbocharged Honda Civic Si concept car and a Factory Performance Acura RSX Type-S.

Nissan continues its charge with products for the enthusiast driver. The automaker will premier several exciting new vehicles at IAS. Scheduled appearances include the 2004 Maxima and Sentra SE-R, NISMO-equipped Zs, a Stillen-prepared Altima and several other aftermarket creations. Look for the West Coast reveal of the 2004 Z Roadster — billed as “how Nissan ‘tops’ perfection” — as well as the first peek at some exciting new track-only Nissans.

Scion’s exhibit will feature a hot Scion xB limo, a prototype Scion bbX and Blitz’s fully customized xA, but that’s not all. DJs also will be spinning some of today’s hottest tunes, and graffiti artists will be giving one of the Scions a custom paint job live during the show.

“One of the most exciting aspects of the automotive industry today is the youth market divisions the carmakers are developing,” said Carl Sheffer, SEMA vice president of OEM relations. “Their products are a great canvas for personalization by the Millennials. Our International Auto Salon represents a great opportunity for the automakers, accessory manufacturers, youth marketers and the young auto enthusiasts — to come together at this annual event. It’s the perfect venue to spot trends within our industry.”

The International Auto Salon is the only show SEMA produces that is open to consumers, as well as industry personnel. The show will be open to industry professionals and media only on Friday, April 25, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and on Saturday, April 26, from 10 a.m. to noon. Consumers will attend, along with industry professionals and media, from noon Saturday until 8 p.m., and on Sunday, April 27, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Registration and additional information about IAS is available at www.ias2k3.com.

SEMA, the Specialty Equipment Market Association, represents the $27 billion specialty automotive industry.

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