High End OEM Radio Sales to Jump

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High end audio systems in new cars are gaining as they migrate south from luxury to mid-priced cars.

BMW radioSales of high end or premium systems will increase by 14 percent this year to 7.9 million units worldwide, up from 6.9 million units last year. And sales will continue to grow through 2015, reaching 13.3 million units, said IHS iSuppli.

High end systems include features such as 8 or more speakers or 400 watts + power or surround sound.

Most premium system are branded as consumers about to spend $300 to $6,300 are more comfortable buying from a familiar vendor. Bose and Harman/Kardon are the leading names.

Bose supplies more than 18 car makes, including many General Motor brands, as well as Alfa Romeo, Audi, Infiniti, Mazda, Fiat, Nissan and Porsche. Harman is found in BMW, Buick, Hyundai, Land Rover and Mercedes-Benz vehicles.

Other premium audio suppliers include Alpine; Sony, Clarion, Pioneer, D&M Holdings for Boston Acoustics; Bowers & Wilkins; Burmester; Hyundai Mobis for Dimension; Panasonic for ELS Surround and Fender.

Average premium power is 507 watts in U.S. high end OEM systems in model year 2011.

An iPod interface is now available in 91 percent of 2011 model year cars. The next two years will see the growing dominance of two more interfaces—USB and SecureDigital, IHS believes.

Speaker count is an important differentiator for premium audio, with high-end cars featuring as many as 14 speakers.

Other important high end features include surround sound, with 5.1 and 7.1 surround formats growing in popularity.

The uptake on HD radio is gaining and the use of Class D amplifiers are on the rise. The more efficient amplifiers are optimized for small cars, including hybrids and electric vehicles. The JBL GreenEdge audio system in the 2012 Toyota Prius v will use 120 watts of energy and convert to 600 watts of power output, said IHS iSuppli.

The findings are in a new study called Premium Audio: Music to Everyone’s Ears.

Source: IHS iSuppli

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