Advanced driver safety products such as lane departure warning systems have picked up over the past year, mainly in expeditor sales, according to our poll of dealers.
Where last year we were hard-pressed to find a dealer selling the products, this year, some are starting to find success with the niche or are about to invest in it with new displays.
Vick Moolchandani of Avenue Sound, Freeport, NY says he is now selling about 3 or 4 lane departure/crash warning systems a month, almost all of that in expeditor sales. “We’ve definitely seen an uptick in collision avoidance over the last year and a half. It’s still not a huge amount… but it’s definitely become more relevant.”
Long Radio, Springfield, MA says its advanced driver safety sales are up by 25 to 30 percent over the last 2-3 years. “For a long time it was stagnant. You might sell one here or there, but in the last couple of years it’s growing, particularly for customers buying a new vehicle that doesn’t have the product and they want to upgrade…” said Keith Imbriglio.
Mobileye’s dealer base has grown from about 180 dealers a year ago to close to 275 currently (that’s dealers, not storefronts), according to Mark Medawar.
VOXX’s Tom Malone said, “More [dealers] are trying their first one, buying a few more and dipping their toes in the water, having some success and then getting behind the product. …It’s not an exciting category, not like when you put in a rear seat entertainment system and the kids are thrilled; it’s safety. But consumers have become so much more aware from the car manufacturer ads, people are recognizing that the products creating a safer environment in the car.”
Al & Ed’s has been pushing driver safety and says, “yes, its growing. I just wrote another purchase order for Mobileye. ..we forecast it will grow for us for at least another 5 years,” said John Haynes.
Both Foss Audio, WA and Car Tunes of Santa Rosa, CA said they are just starting to add driver safety displays in the store.
Suppliers caution that advanced driver safety requires a demo and display to be successful.
“You’re not going to sell it out of a catalog. It has to be sold with a demonstration; that’s been the biggest issue with getting it launched quickly,” said Rydeen’s Bob Goodman.
More suppliers continue to enter the driver safety arena including AAMP of America, which recently expanded its driver safety selection with the purchase of Rosen (which owns the Echomaster brand). Metra launched late last year the iBeam line of driver safety products, and Rockford entered the category last year with the purchase of Crimestopper.
Advanced driver safety products include blind spot detectors, 360 parking systems, in addition to early warning crash/lane departure warning systems.