January '20

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22 THE SHOP JANUARY 2020 T he first SEMA PRO Cup Challenge competition has come and gone, but it was far from the blink of an eye. The planning, designing, building and orga- nizing required to bring these showcase vehicles to the 2019 SEMA Show floor was a feat worth celebrating. Starting as a best idea-winning entry at a Restylers United meeting in Fort Lauder- dale, Florida in March 2018, the concept was then introduced to the SEMA PRO Council at a membership meeting in Detroit soon after. With the SEMA Show a mere seven months away, a task force led by Eric Holmes of Eastman Performance Films would see that this initiative crossed the finish line. The idea was simple—challenge four restyling shops to put together a creative- yet-attractive dealership package that would appeal to a wide range of consumers, bring them to the North Hall of the SEMA Show, and then let a panel of judges and a Fan Vote determine the winners. The rules were simple: design and build a package that does not exceed $12,500 at MSRP, and do it within 20 build hours. PACKAGE MAKES PERFECT When the SEMA Show opened its doors on Tuesday, Nov. 5, the four SEMA PRO Cup builds were proudly displayed and had already been critiqued by the judges—a panel comprised of five industry professionals with strong ties to the restyling industry. Nine hours later the results were announced at the SEMA PRO annual recep- tion, poolside at the Westgate. Prior to the announcement of the winning build, however, each shop had a company rep- resentative on stage to answer questions about the choices made leading up to their finished package designs. Cristina Jorge of Specialty Automotive Treatments in Fort Lauderdale made a case for the company's 2019 Hyundai Palisade build. "The new release of this vehicle has created much excitement with SUV buyers. The blackout design gives this a Range Rover look that is sure to turn heads," she says. Catherine Juul from Automotive Con- cepts in New Hope, Minnesota explained the difficulty in securing the popular 2020 Subaru Forester. "The demographics for this vehicle really hit home with us on the type of activities the consumer is using this vehicle for. The growing increase in sales of Foresters intrigued us to hit the mark with our package idea." Josh Poulson of Auto Additions in Columbus, Ohio explained why his team chose the 2019 Toyota RAV4 for its build: "It was decided that since smaller SUVs and CUVs are currently popular, that it would appeal to our target market. The idea was to create demand for a package in a newer niche." And Brandon McNew of Altered Garage in Omaha, Nebraska offered information on the shop's 2019 Jeep Gladiator build. "With the Jeep Wranglers having been one of the most highly accessorized vehicles on the market, the new Gladiator should follow suit, and right out of the gate it has proven to be a strong customizing candidate." The quality of the builds was undeniable. Four experienced shops all put their best foot forward, having enjoyed success in the past introducing dealership packages in their local markets. The 2019 SEMA PRO Cup Challenge showed how creative packages can lead to profits. Challenge Accepted! This 2019 Hyundai Palisade build was completed by Specialty Automotive Treat- ments in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. "The new release of this vehicle has created much excitement with SUV buyers," notes Cristina Jorge of Specialty Automotive Treatments. "The blackout design gives this a Range Rover look that is sure to turn heads." The Palisade was the Fan Favorite winner. By Dino Perfetti

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