OE replacement radios that have a factory look and that install in a specific car model are gaining steam, and could become 10 percent of aftermarket head units in two years.
By the end of this year, OE radios should have a 5 to 6 percent share of the aftermarket radio business, estimates Rosen.
More retailers are stocking the products, and special ordering them for certain installations. A special order is required as the radio is tailored to a certain car model so you need to know your customer’s car make and model in advance.
Both Audiovox and Rosen believe the market could reach 10 percent of aftermarket deck sale during 2013. A third supplier believes it will dominate the mid end of the head unit market eventually.
Metra has also entered the market, and as many dealers are already frequently ordering car-specific kits from Metra, it makes sense that they could step up to purchasing car-specific OE radios, said a dealer.
Japanese suppliers are eying the OE replacement radio too. JVC Mobile VP Bill Turner said, “We’re working on several related projects at this time, “ but JVC is not yet ready to offer details.
Presently the prices on the radios are often $699 and up, so the profits may entice retailers and the extra dollars could offset the cost of special ordering the radios, some said.
Until recently, OE replacement radios were mainly aimed at expeditors (who sell to car dealerships).
Another appeal of the products is they may find more favor with women who are less brand conscious than 16 year old males and more concerned with the factory look of the radio and its features, like Bluetooth, satellite radio, HD Radio and navigation.