Looking ahead, it is clear that OEM technology and ways it can be improved by enthusiasts or made compatible with specific performance objectives is a further challenge. The car companies build vehicles with technologies that must be understood and addressed, not only within regulatory requirements that include safety and emissions, but also as the platform on which the aftermarket must operate. This challenge has included increased pressure from regulatory requirements, largely dealing with emissions performance and compliance. Gone are the days when performance parts manufacturers could simply expand on the dimensions or specifications of an OEM part or system to produce more power. Aftermarket parts manufacturers are required to upgrade their own technical capabilities and be prepared to meet new challenges to integrate emissions-related parts to regulatory test methods.
Looking further into the future, it is abundantly clear that Federal and State governmental regulations will continue to affect the performance aftermarket, ranging from parts manufacturers to enthusiasts. Historically, it is not a matter of "if" regulations will impact this industry but "when" and to what extent they will do so. An integral part of working toward the prevention or reduction of such actions is the combined ability of SEMA to identify and confront heavy-handed legislation potentially damaging to the performance enthusiast community while working directly with government regulators to address mutual concerns. By linking and integrating these critical elements, the high-performance industry and enthusiast landscape we know today will be ensured a viable future.
Issues That Affect Our Hobby:
In recent years, state and federal officials have attempted to implement emissions reduction programs that target older vehicles. Most scrappage programs allow "smokestack" industries to avoid reducing their own emissions by buying pollution credits generated through destroying these vehicles. These programs accelerate the normal retirement of vehicles through the purchase of older cars, which are then typically crushed into blocks of scrap metal. Hobbyists suffer from the indiscriminate destruction of older cars, trucks, and parts, which anyone undergoing a restoration project can attest to. America safeguards its artistic and architectural heritage against indiscriminate destruction, and our automotive and industrial heritage deserves the same protection.
While some legislation designed to spur sales of new and used automobiles is positive, such as vouchers towards the purchase of a new or used car or tax credits to help upgrade, repair, or maintain older vehicles, scrappage provisions are not. Scrappage programs focus on vehicle age rather than actual emissions produced. This approach is based on the erroneous assumption that all "old cars are dirty cars." However, the true culprits are "gross polluters"-vehicles of any model year that are poorly maintained. Scrappage programs ignore better options like vehicle maintenance, repair, and upgrade programs that maximize the emissions systems of existing vehicles. In the past year, scrappage initiatives have been defeated California, North Carolina, and Washington.