Sony said it is sharpening its focus on independent car audio retailers and changing a few of its marketing strategies.
First, as part of an overall shift in the car audio, Sony is boosting its warranty program, extending it to 2 or 3 years, instead of one or two years. 7-inch AV radios will now get a 3-year warranty and 6 inch AV radios will get a 2 year warranty, starting with two MirrorLink models that ship this spring, said Sony Business Manager for Mobile Taka Noguchi. Warranty extensions also apply to new GS speaker models to be offered this fall with 3 year warranties.
Secondly, independent 12-volt retailers are now offered Sony’s OEM integration systems that were available last year for expeditors and car dealers. The systems include an iPod cradle and hideaway amp, so customers can upgrade a factory radio without removing it.
Sony will also be the first company this spring to ship MirrorLink aftermarket radios. Its models XAV-701HD (for independent retailers) and XAV-601BT (for general retailers) are both AV receivers that offer full control over Android, Nokia and Windows Phone smartphones. Apps appear as mirrored onto the car radio and users may control them from the radio.
For iPhone users, apps may also be mirrored onto the car radio but not controlled by the radio. An exception is a GPS app by Telenav, which permits control via the car radio.
“MirrorLink is becoming the defacto standard in the industry—in the OE industry, the aftermarket, as well as the mobile phone industry. You can easily connect a smartphone and car audio,” said Noguchi.
The MirrorLink model XAV-701HD will carry a 3 year warranty and will retail at $700. The XAV-601BT will carry a 2 year warranty and will retail at $550.