Alpine is officially shipping the first aftermarket radio to wedge a 9-inch screen in a factory dash. It is a full 2 inches wider than most aftermarket car radio screens.
The radio is available in two formats: the X009-GM, which is tailor made for GM trucks and SUVs and the X009U universal version.
The X009-GM has a key set for 2007-2013 GM trucks and 2007-2014 GM SUVs with the low-radio dash style. The X009-GM’s external keys are back lit in the same green hue used on the factory dash. Additional versions of the X009 for other trucks and SUVs will be introduced later this year.
The X009, first shown in January at CES, has advanced features like Siri Eyes Free, free lifetime traffic and HD Radio. It delivers Facebook message notifications and plays Facebook messages aloud.
The deck can retain many factory features like OnStar. It achieves this with an additional iDatalink Maestro module (included in the X009GM but optional with the X009U). So when you swap out a factory radio, you keep factory amplification, rear view cameras, rear seat entertainment, SiriusXM and steering wheel controls. Plus you get integration with vehicle gauges, tire pressure, “check engine” warnings, and factory parking sensors.
The X009GM has a suggested retail price of $3,000. The X009U is $2,700.
Alpine recently shifted its target demographic to truck and SUV owners as they like the larger radio screens and they tend to spend more money on accessories for their vehicles.
“We do believe the truck SUV customer is not shying away from high ticket price upgrades, be it lifts or bed covers. Our research has shown the average person who upgrades his vehicle is spending $5,000 per upgrade,” said Alpine’s Steve Crawford.
While the X009 is one of the priciest aftermarket radios, Alpine notes that it includes accessories that are usually sold separately and it has the larger screen. It says the x009 integration into trucks is “better than OEM integration.” “There’s a lot of engineering and R&D that have gone into this,” said Crawford.
“A year ago, in April of 2013, our aftermarket global unit looked at the future roadmap of where we wanted to be. There is constant talk in the industry of racing to zero [in pricing]. We made a decision to get back to the principles that the Alpine brand stood for when it was first created in the late 80s; to be as premium as possible and create unique solutions,” he continued.
“We looked at our portfolio and it was right in front of our nose. We saw that our most premium solutions, our 8-unch AV, introduced in 2012. We introduced that with controlled expectations. No one else had done a large screen in the marketplace. But after a year of selling the 8-inch we discovered that a large percentage of the customer base for the 8-inch was SUV and truck owners, and in most cases, used truck or SUV customers.
Alpine is now embarking on a large promotional campaign to introduce its new radios to truck and SUV owners.