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SEMA to launch wheel/tire specialists certification program

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The Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) will expand its program to certify automotive accessory specialists by launching its Custom Wheel & Tire Specialist Exam next year.

The test, to be known as Z5, will measure real-world knowledge and skills of the wheel and tire professionals who install custom applications on passenger cars and light trucks.

To earn SEMA's Custom Wheel and Tire Specialist designation, an installer must have at least two years of hands-on experience in the specialty as well as pass the written exam. The SEMA credential will be valid for five years, and certified specialists will receive a certificate suitable for framing, a wallet card, sleeve patch and chevron.

The first administration of the SEMA Custom Wheel & Tire Specialist Exam is currently slated for May 6, 2004. The other SEMA exams will be administered on the same date. All five exams will be offered at more than 700 test centers nationwide and in Canada.

The first four exams (Z1 - Z4) developed by SEMA in conjunction tahe National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) assess competency and knowledge regarding installation of accessories, such as sunroofs and leather upholstery.

SEMA has granted certification credentials since 2001 to specialists who meet the work-experience requirement and successfully complete written exams.

"With today's market changes and innovations in wheels and tires, a great deal of knowledge is required to provide correct fitment for custom

wheels and tires," said Christopher Kersting, SEMA president and CEO.

Kersting said that an industry-wide effort was required to develop the Custom Wheel & Tire Specialist Exam. The effort consisted of three lengthy workshops to define areas to be tested and develop the questions.

"As we did with our first tests," Kersting said, "we worked in cooperation with ASE to develop this fifth leg of the SEMA Installer Certification Program. For this particular exam, we drew upon the experience and expertise of a cross-section of industry experts, including tire and wheel manufacturers, equipment suppliers, wheel and tire dealers and installers, educators, and industry groups such as the Tire Industry Association (TIA) and American Auto Care Centers. It was quite a joint effort."

The certification program is a voluntary process aimed at elevating the level of professionalism within the industry. Certification also serves as an impartial, third-party endorsement of an installer's knowledge and expertise, thereby helping to boost consumer confidence and enhance the stature of the industry.

For more information about the SEMA Installer Certification Program, go to www.sema.org/certification, or call (909) 396-0289, ext. 158.

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