SEMA 2015 Kia Optima Concept

Last week I had the chance to attend one of the most amazing trade shows ever - The SEMA Show. If you've ever wondered what might happen if you brought thousands of car geeks together to show off their creations and passion for all things car related then you have to visit this show. Thankfully I was invited as a special guest of Kia to see some of their latest creations as part of this year's marketing theme #KiaWanderlust.

While there was a lot of superficial things that made the SEMA Show awesome - such as the sheer scale of this show and the amazing number of custom cars. What really stood out for me though was the spirit of the show. With 140,000 attendees and 2,400 companies this show is huge, but everyone shares the passion for design and making cars even more fun.  I've done my share of automotive events where at the end of the day it comes down to talking about how the new 2016 has an extra mile per gallon or 10 extra horses. However at this show it was about the artistry of design and celebrating the sheer fun that these machines can bring their owners.

forte koup mud bogger concept

At each booth this was celebrated in a different way, but at Kia it was unified with the concept of taking a road trip across America. These include an incredible trail ready Kia Sorento inspired by the Pacific North West, a crazy "mud bogger" version of the Forte Koup inspired by the muddy south and a stunning Kia Optima concept inspired by the Florida A1A scenic highway. 

kia florida optima grill

This spirit of innovation and the sheer joy of the automobile was shared across the entire show floor. At each booth manufacturers and after-market parts suppliers contributed to this atmosphere that cars should be more than just vehicles to get you from one place the next. While many people bemoan that cars today are boring - this show illustrated that they don't have to be. While it's unlikely that we'll see a chromed up Optima convertible anytime soon, the manufacturers were all watching our reactions and how each vehicle was received. With any luck, these innovations will be inspiring designs that you'll see at the dealership in the future.

While there are simply too many cars to show every single one, but here's some of my favorite cars from SEMA 2015.

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