SEMA Council Changes Name to Reflect Growing Off-Road Market
The Light Truck Accessories Alliance (LTAA) has changed its name in a rebranding effort. The SEMA council will now be known as the Truck and Off-Road Alliance (TORA).
“It represents a change in the market, and we have to be adaptable to those changes, because it’s not the same as it was 10 or 20 years ago. So it’s an exciting time to be a member of LTAA/TORA,” said Kathryn Reinhardt, the chair of TORA who oversaw the change. “It’s going to open the door for us to have more membership, but also to be more inclusive of any aftermarket company-jobbers, retailers, reps, media, manufacturers, distributors-that want to be part of the Truck and Off-Road Alliance. It’s really going to bring together a new community of people who want to be represented.”
Some may consider Light Truck Accessory Alliance as a name representative of the entire truck-accessory market, including both on- and off-road segments. But as LTAA leadership looked around at the evolving landscape, they realized the off-road market has been underserved, according to the council.
“We created an off-road taskforce that involved some council members, non-LTAA members who belong to SEMA, and some non-SEMA members, and held a strategy session during the Off-Road Expo in September,” Reinhardt said.
As its first order of business, the group brainstormed how to define a truck.
“There are all these different terminologies-a pickup truck, an SUV, a CUV, a UTV-that we’ve utilized and assumed that everybody thought were under LTAA’s umbrella. But, in reality, we found that a lot of people, when they think of LTAA, think of a pickup,” Reinhardt said. “So, it was important that all of our definitions matched, and we agreed a truck is a pickup, an SUV and a CUV.”
The taskforce also examined another aspect of the off-road market-motorcycles and ATVs-and came to a conclusion.
“We had to draw the line between handlebars and steering wheels,” Reinhardt added. “We made a conscious decision at that meeting that a vehicle classified as a truck and with a steering wheel fits the profile. Motorcycles and powersports are outside our realm.”
Following an open meeting that included numerous stakeholders and a discussion with the council’s select committee, there was consensus. LTAA would embrace the off-road market. To effect the change, the SEMA Board approved the council’s proposal to be more inclusive and rebrand LTAA as TORA, the Truck and Off-Road Alliance.
In May 1989, 26 industry folks-manufacturers, suppliers and retailers-met in Omaha, Nebraska, to consider a proposal to form a trade association that would represent the collective interests of the truck-cap industry. The result: 18 of those present became the core of the first board of directors of the Truck Cap Industry Association (TCIA).
In the ensuing years, TCIA focused on expanding its membership and services, including producing trade shows focused on the truck cap and light-truck accessory market. As the industry continued to evolve, and to better define its members’ interest in all aspects of light-truck accessories, the organization’s name was changed in 1992 to the Truck Cap & Accessory Association (TCAA).
Flash forward to early 2000, following months of behind-the-scenes dialog and speculation, it was announced that SEMA and TCAA had formed a strategic alliance. Under the terms of the alliance, TCAA merged into SEMA as its largest niche-market council and was renamed the Truck Cap & Accessory Alliance.
A few years later, the name changed once again, this time to the Light Truck Accessory Alliance (LTAA).
LTAA isn’t the first council to change its name to better reflect its identity, community and focus. HRIA, the Hot Rod Industry Alliance, for instance, used to be the Street Rod Market Alliance (SRMA). The Street Performance Council (SPC) morphed into the Emerging Trends and Technology Network.
“A lot of people don’t realize the amount of effort, time and communication that has to happen before these changes happen,” Reinhardt noted. “It was tough and we wanted to make sure we did it right. We’re super excited. It’s a monumental change to be part of and have as a legacy, because I’m terming out (from TORA).”