Keystone BIG Show Returns This Weekend

Jason R. Sakurai
by Jason R. Sakurai
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keystone big show returns this weekend

The Keystone BIG Show, an automotive aftermarket trade show arguably second only to the SEMA Show in importance, will be held Friday, March 5th, and Saturday, March 6th, at the Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center in Grapevine, Texas. The in-person show will be followed March 15-19 by a virtual event.

Why is the Keystone Show of any consequence to automotive enthusiasts? As with SEMA, this is where warehouse distributors, shop owners, and installers come to see all the latest parts and accessories. With the cancellation of this show in 2020, along with the SEMA Show, it’s been more than a year since local sources for information and advice in communities across the country have been able to attend a trade event. For an industry based on new products and innovation, it’s difficult not to have access to the companies and brands that are an integral part of the automotive aftermarket.

It could be argued that the virtual trade shows that took place during the pandemic were informative, and to some degree, this would be a valid argument. However, with many parts and accessories, it’s how they are made that makes a big difference, something that’s hard to ascertain from a small image on a computer screen. This includes the fit and finish, a judgment call that shop owners and warehouses need to make before purchasing what you see at a local speed shop or truck center.

Manufacturers representatives do a good job trying to get to all the accounts they can in their territories, but items such as replacement sheetmetal, fabricated bumpers, winches, lift kits, or large shop tools and equipment, aren’t easily transported or shown. Brochures, catalogs, and electronic images only go so far, and this is why this event and the SEMA Show, are so important to this industry.

Despite the inability to hold large automotive consumer shows and events in most areas, sales of automotive parts and accessories have skyrocketed during the coronavirus, due in part to stay at home orders, work from home mandates, and a lack of other activities. Coupled with difficulty in getting your vehicle into a shop that has a following, it has also given a lot of vehicle owners the incentive to do-it-themselves, thus increasing sales of parts, accessories, and tools to perform the installations. The question is, will this phenomenon continue once the majority of Americans have been vaccinated, and COVID-19 has receded?

[Images: Keystone Automotive Operations]

Jason R. Sakurai
Jason R. Sakurai

With a father who owned a dealership, I literally grew up in the business. After college, I worked for GM, Nissan and Mazda, writing articles for automotive enthusiast magazines as a side gig. I discovered you could make a living selling ad space at Four Wheeler magazine, before I moved on to selling TV for the National Hot Rod Association. After that, I started Roadhouse, a marketing, advertising and PR firm dedicated to the automotive, outdoor/apparel, and entertainment industries. Through the years, I continued writing, shooting, and editing. It keep things interesting.

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  • Stuki Moi "How do you take a small crossover and make it better?Slap the AMG badge on it and give it the AMG treatment."No, you don't.In fact, that is specifically what you do NOT do.Huge, frail wheels, and postage stamp sidewalls, do nothing but make overly tall cuvs tramline and judder. And render them even less useful across the few surfaces where they could conceivably have an advantage over more properly dimensioned cars. And: Small cuvs have pitiful enough fuel range as it is, even with more sensible engines.Instead, to make a small CUV better, you 1)make it a lower slung wagon. And only then give it the AMG treatment. AMG'ing, makes sense for the E class. And these days with larger cars, even the C class. For the S class, it never made sense, aside from the sheer aural visceralness of the last NA V8. The E-class is the center of AMG. Even the C-class, rarely touches the M3.Or 2) You give it the Raptor/Baja treatment. Massive, hypersophisticated suspension travel allowing landing meaningful jumps. As well as driving up and down wide enough stairs if desired. That's a kind of driving for which a taller stance, and IFS/IRS, makes sense.Attempting to turn a CUV into some sort of a laptime wonder, makes about as much sense as putting an America's Cup rig atop a ten deck cruiseship.
  • TomCat1967 Seems a bit steep, but a nice-looking example. Used to see low milage examples at dealers at well over $20K in the last year or so. Too bad Honda decided to pull the Fit/Jazz for US/Canada as I see several around almost daily.
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