Tuesday, October 23, 2012

SEMA Show 2012: Assessing the small car quotient

Chevrolet Spark SEMA concept

It's only seven days until the SEMA Show—the world's largest bastion of customized automobiles in the world. It's the who's who of the automotive aftermarket. This will be my seventh consecutive year at the show, and just as excited as I ever was.

Every year the automotive landscape at the show changes. The last couple of years, muscle cars have been the big deal—Mustang, Camaro, Challenger, etc. However, there is always a small car quotient. The question is how many customized small cars will be there? Here are some of the known smaller cars being shown in Vegas next week.

Chevrolet Sonic Z-Spec 1
This year we know Chevrolet is bringing a couple custom Sparks and Sonics, including the Sonic Z-Spec 1 at left. GM even says, "Chevrolet's small car momentum drives SEMA Concepts.

Ford Focus RS
Ford will be bringing a few Focus RS concept vehicles, including this Bojix Design model. The RS, the fire-breathing Focus, features a 2.0-liter EcoBoost turbocharged engine. We've never gotten the RS in the States, and it will be a welcome addition.

Hyundai Veloster Velocity
 Hyundai is bringing a couple of tricked-out Velosters, including this "Velocity" model. With Cosworth engine upgrades, 19" wheels, and a host of exterior mods, it shows Hyundai is definitely in the tuner game.

Fiat 500 Beach Cruser front
We've already shown you the Fiat 500 Beach Cruiser—a 500c with a roof rack, big fender flares, red steel wheels, and a flat black paint job. You can read more about it here.

There will undoubtedly be a bunch of other small customized vehicles at the show in both the manufacturer's booths as well as all around the show. I'll snap a few photos here, so be sure to stay tuned.The big question on my mind is will there be a lot of the small cars, or will the focus remain on muscle cars?

A few years back, there were a lot of Fits, some Yaris models, MINIs, ForTwos, and even the stray Versa and Cube, not to mention Souls and Fiestas. However, 2010 and 2011 had a marked decrease in overall customized subcompacts. What will 2012 bring? Stay tuned to Subcompact Culture and we'll find out.

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