Gallery: the best of SEMA 2012

As any true trendspotter will tell you, you have to look for clues early to get a sense that a new trend might be on the way. That's why we are here at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas. If it's happening now or going to happen soon, chances are there will be some car or product at SEMA pointing the way.

The problem is, finding the clues at SEMA is usually like trying to find a bad stitch in a Persian rug. With more than 40 kilometers of stands in two massive, double-decked halls, plus vast outside expanses of show and event space, you have to look long and hard to find the really good stuff.

But not this year. The first trend is that the big three US manufacturers, plus Toyobaru, really dominated the show. All four have traditionally had a substantial presence, but you got the idea that they were there with a real purpose this year. Instead of flights of super-chromed fantasy, all their stands were packed with interesting and cool products that you can - and want to - buy now.

To save you the trouble of having to visually trudge around every press pack and stand online, we've whittled down the show into some trendy chunks. Take note of these and let's revisit them in a year to see where they went.