Audiovox Electronics said it will head upmarket on car audio head units and refrain from the current “ race to zero” to drive prices into the ground, said President Tom Malone.
Retailers are asking suppliers to refrain from price cutting, said Malone, adding “The way some of the bigger manufacturers are driving prices down is a concern for dealers.” As a result, Audiovox’s Jensen-brand radios will be positioned as a value-added profit line.
“The retailers we speak to don’t understand why price needs to be driven this way,” Malone said. Instead retailers want unique features and more controlled distribution.
In response, the company redesigned the Jensen car radio user interface to be more competitive and it added Pandora control in a new VM9700 in-dash radio series. It also includes Parrot Bluetooth and an external mic (to register your voice more accurately). You also get steering wheel controls for push-to-talk voice dialing if your phone supports it. The top of the line VM9725BT works with the new SiriusXM SXV100 tuner (a new lower cost solution for satellite radio). And it has a 6.2-inch touch screen and includes navigation. It also supports iPod and iPhone control and an optional rear view camera. Shipping is expected this spring at a suggested retail price of $649.99, which is the same price of a comparable model last year, said a spokeman.
Pandora control now goes to all Advent branded OE replacement radios from February forward. Current in-stock models will also be upgraded.
Pandora control will also be available on Advent’s new OE replacement radio for the 2012 Toyota Camry. While Advent provides many radios for the Camry, this is the first to work with the 2012 model year. The radio also delivers Parrot Bluetooth with an external mic and built-in navigation. It has Bluetooth audio streaming, an XM-ready receiver and rear-view camera with instant on. There’s an 8-inch screen and iPhone and iPod audio and video.
Audiovox will also introduce new factory replacement radio models for several Mazda systems, a Subaru Forester and a Jeep/Chysler/Dodge model.
In mobile video this year, Audiovox is showing new headrest monitors with high definition, LED backlit screens with 800 by 480 resolution. They now come with 50 games in a separate Game Pack module that the dealer may sell as an upgrade pack. They also now include a full FM band wireless FM transmitter. The headrests themselves are smaller this year, and include 7-inch screens, and USB with charging.
Audiovox is also offering portable DVD players with a new quick-connect mounting system so the DVD has a “clean, professionally installed look” when mounted on the back of a headrest, it said.
Source: Audiovox Electronics