Mobileye said it has tripled the retail sales of its early crash warning devices for the first two months of the year compared to last year and expects to carry that increase for the full year over 2013.
Sales of the devices, however, are relatively small, and Mobileye has been trying to make inroads into the aftermarket for a few years now. It says it’s starting to see some gains.
The company has nearly doubled its dealer base since last year to a current 180 dealers with a total of 320 locations. Director of Retail Sales and Gov’t. Affairs, Mark Medawar said the company now employs four trainers to teach how to install the product.
“The Consumer Reports article really helped last year,” in educating the public about the system, he said. And Mobileye has launched a number of grass roots marketing projects.
Since it caters mainly to a demographic of 55 years and older, Mobileye is conducting an education campaign at retirement communities and helping local dealers tie into these programs.
But why would a company valued at $1.5 billion by The New York Times, with a booming OEM and fleet business, court the aftermarket.
Medawar claims, “There’s only a few million vehicles built each year but there are 220 million vehicles in the U.S. And we’re also focused on saving lives and we believe it’s very important to work with the existing vehicles out there.”
He also claims Mobileye will continue to support retailers. “A lot of new technologies hang out for 3 years and decide the 12-volt space isn’t the right space and exit leaving people holding the product. The way we’re going to market instills confidence that we’re in it for the long haul. And our strength in the OEM space helps support what we want to do in the aftermarket.”
Mobileye told the Times it expects to go public within about a year.
Medawar says the company is initiating new programs to help its retailers to enter small fleet sales of its product and to work with occupational therapists that help people who are injured or disabled to return to driving.
The Mobileye 560 device warns a driver if he’s approaching the car ahead to fast. It uses a smart camera and algorithms to detect an imminent crash and other hazards. It also offers lane departure warning and other features at $849.