Since late last year, aftermarket navigation add-on kit sales have surged for some suppliers, because many new factory car radios now come with LCD screens even if navigation is not a standard feature.
This provides an opportunity to add navigation later, at some point after the car sale, through a kit with an electronic navigation module that makes use of the factory screen, often at a lower cost than purchasing navigation as a new car option.
As a result, NAV-TV says its kit sales are up 400 percent over 2012; Unavi said its sales have doubled since last year and Intraphex said sales are up, as well.
Until last year, about 20 to 30 percent of cars came with an LCD screen. This year that figure will jump to 40 percent and by 2020, fully 80 percent of cars will include a screen, said Strategy Analytics. And the inclusion of a screen in a car, no longer means that the car must have navigation. Instead the screens are used for audio controls, satellite radio controls, and other features.
Plus many consumers forgo navigation as a factory option because it is offered as an expensive bundle with leather seats and other luxury items, so the cost can range from $2,000 to $8,000 and even higher.
A Dodge Journey starts at a $19,000 base price but if you want to add navigation you have to step up to a $33,000 model, says NAV-TV’s Derek Schmiedl. He said of navigation kits, “In my opinion, it’s the next satellite radio and the next next iPod add-on.”
Greg Delgado, CEO of kit maker GCH Automotive said, as more cars include video-capable screens, the need for these type of electronic kits will grow, said . “This is where navigation systems are heading for the future,” he added.