Alpine Electronics confirmed it will start selling its Restyle line of navigation/radios for trucks and SUVs through Amazon starting in late February.
Alpine noted that 30 percent of consumers purchase accessories for trucks online (according to SEMA statistics) and the company can no longer ignore this sizeable segment of the market.
A letter to its dealers said that “after much internal discussion, we have formed a business relationship with Amazon whereby they will begin offering our Restyle products on their website beginning late February 2016.”
The products will be displayed in Amazon’s Car Audio section and in its vehicle accessory sections.
Other Alpine products will not be sold on Amazon. And Amazon will sell Restyle products at MAP (Minimum Advertised Price). Alpine promised it will “remain as vigilant as ever in policing the internet and taking appropriate action against people who choose to sell these products to unauthorized sources.”
Decades ago, Alpine was arguably the first company to target its products to car audio specialists. It said it did not make the decision to sell through Amazon lightly.
The company noted it has made significant distribution moves in the past that were controversial but did not disrupt the specialists’ business.
It stressed that a key goal of the move to Amazon is to build awareness for the Restyle products, which would, in turn, benefit specialists.
Alpine launched the Restyle line at CES in 2014. The Restyle navigation/radios are unique in that they have supersized 9- and 10-inchs screens. They are customized for specific trucks and SUVs.
“Amazon is a business just like you and I” ? Stop sucking Amazon’s knob. They are not a business like you and I, they are a whore house, whoring out anything they can to anybody they can and using fools like “you and I” to install the s**t in the customer’s car for them. Maybe we all need to watch the movie ‘Roots’ again sometime so that ignorant people can recall how slavery really works. F**k amazon, f**k the internet, f**k facebook, f**k ipod, f**K apple. Capitalists? Some of you business owner’s are truly pathetic. Quit trying to be politically correct, quit trying to make friends and quit sucking up. This is not social media…..this is capitalism. Grow a pair and play ball or find something else to do with your self.
I’ve been a supporter of Alpine for close to 30 years. I personally have Alpine in my car. With that being said, Over the last 2 years I’ve been extremely dissapointed in the quality decline of their nav products. Namely the NAV-40 I’ve had more defective units in this series that we switched to Kenwood and haven’t looked back. The restyle product is unique but in the expeditor realm trying to get $3k plus for a nav is few and far between. What will happen when these units start going belly up? I’ll stick with Kenwood. In 2 years i haven’t had a defective nav.
Knock on wood after that last part!
I’d agree that they are simply too expensive and this is probably why they are going to be sold online. Alpine needs to update them to accommodate Android Auto and Car Play and bring the price down. People want their phones to work in their cars so just give them that ability. Quit selling them navigation they don’t wantand concentrate on a quality product the world’s and lasts.
I think the big picture is being missed. Alpine is trying to get the product in the eyes of the consumers. They have tried tv adds as well as attending local events in all areas of the country. Amazon is a great tool for advertising and for people to see the product. In all reality how many people do you think will buy a headunit at those prices without first wanting to see it in person. With that being said the consumer will enter their local dealer to get more info and to see the unit in person, then it will be the dealers to close the deal in the store. With this being said the restyle products have never been on amazon before and Alpine will police them and keep them under control. Lets face it amazon is free advertising nation wide and we can use this to our advantage. As for Alpine not caring for the specialist store is complete bs. They are at least trying to help our industry by coming out with new products other than a $80 head unit or a 399.00 nav piece. They have made a game changer that creates excitement in our industry that nobody else has done. They are one of the only companies in my mind that actually do care about the retail specialist. They care enough to go out and develop a unique product for industry and have tried to develop a buzz for it. Its just a shame that we couldn’t have done more to help them move more units. If your an Alpine dealer then you know they care about you and you should give them the benefit of the doubt and trust they will police the amazon deal and trust they will continue to help find ways to get customers in your stores. I for one am not scared about these units on amazon. I look forward to helping the customers as closing the sale when they come into my store to check out the restyle headunits.
Great take Shawn.
One thing that could backfire with Amazon is that people could write unfavorable reviews (and people are more likely to write negative reviews than positive ones) and Alpine’s customer satisfaction image can go down.
Then why sell it at MAP? Put it online at MSRP and drive customers into the local dealers and let them sell it at MAP if they want to. MAP is a discount and if you advertise with a discount you are devaluing product. Also, customers often expect an even lower price than the price they see online. I hear people say that all the time using it as leverage in a store expecting an even better deal so they won’t just go buy it online.
Amazon is a business just like you and I and they wouldn’t agree to that. They understand the online retail landscape better than most. From Amazon’s perspective….Alpine needs them more than they need Alpine…..and with Alpine deciding to move this direction it seems to me that is true.
Amazon is smart, if Alpine started at suggestion retail Amazon would find out they are not competitive with other places and would start to lower the prices on the units. If Alpine start at map they are competitive out of the gate. Listing these head units at map is in no way de valuing the product. Amazon is going to be a great way to get the product in the consumers eyes. It could gain you new customers that may never possibly step foot in your door. We all know that advertising isn’t cheap and we all know you can never reach all customers. This move will get this product in front of more people than you can imagine. If people see this and they want more info on the product they will visit a local dealer or Alpine’s website and they will be directed to a local dealer. If your afraid of people coming into your stores and price shopping you will amazon then you are not doing your job. You can take control and sell your store and your service and never lose a sale to amazon. In reality how many of you would purchase a head unit at those prices without first seeing it in person or seeing how it works? My guess would be zero would purchase this on amazon. Embrace this change and try to understand this could be very beneficial to your businesses. I very rarely lose a sale to amazon and I believe with this move I will have more customers purchase this radio from my store. As for the bad reviews, you will always have good and bad reviews, which in return if a customer is truly interested in the product they will search out the product locally to see it and get more info from the people who sell. It will be no different than what you guys are saying is happening in your stores now with the whole people will expect a lower price because it is cheaper on amazon. Please don’t take this the wrong way but if your losing sales to the internet than your staff isn’t doing their job on selling your store. My suggestion is get your sales staff on board with promoting your store and believing in you and your store.
I’m pretty disappointed in this decision. I push the Restyle product to every customer with an applicable car, but when they see the price as compared to a regular double-din, they go with the universal product 98% of the time, especially now that Apple Car Play & Android Auto have entered the equation. I agree with Chris — I know Alpine has to recoup money from R&D and production, but the sticker shock is hard for consumers to get over. I’m not worried at all about car dealers picking up this line, at least in our area. We have a great relationship with dealers sales departments but I don’t think their service technicians will be able to handle these installs (thats as nice as I can put it). We are all in business to make money, but it’s sad to me that Alpine has chosen this route. Definitely makes me feel different about their willingness to support their loyal dealers. Talk is cheap, but our labor to install their products that customers purchase on Amazon isn’t. Our technicians are worth every penny, and so is our knowledge of the product. Would you go to Wal-Mart to pick up a steak, then take it to Ruth’s Chris to have it cooked for you? Don’t think so.
Our customers barely have $2500 cars lol….
Bing there went the best or one of the best Car radio brands.
Now watch them find out It won’t sell on Amazon to car dealers either.
Because you just showed everyone what a unit cost retail. Car Dealers like to Mark up items they buy to make a profit. All Amazon is going to do it sell to retail buyers, people that should be walking into a store to buy an item like this. Now it’s definitely going to need a Pro to install it, So soon coming Amazon Installation trucks we come to your door. Deliver via Drone’s.
We can drop off your Package and robots can install it.
Amazon will be at MAP until the moment anyone in the world acquires one piece and lists it below MAP, Amazon’s price matching policy that has no regard for profitability will then strike and Alpine will have no say in the matter. To say nothing of the fact that Alpine just moved the 12V industry one step closer to the book industry with this announcement. Hey Amazon, here is our balls on a silver platter! Thanks Alpine! I’m sure you’ll love dealing with the draconian policies of the world’s largest online pricematching engine.
in the future most, if not all will use amazon for wholesale fulfillment.
We have supported the product. Ive sold several but if they think car dealers are gonna jump on this, they are crazy. Maybe a car dealer in LA or NY or Miami but not your normal run of the mill car dealer. They need to do more real world research like talking to their dealers rather than relying on the internet.
Great move to Alipine but not for the 12 volt shops !!
Just dropped the line. I’m not going to support a company that doesn’t try to drive business into their dealers stores. Bad move alpine.
I love when Alpine says “Alpine promised it will “remain as vigilant as ever in policing the internet and taking appropriate action against people who choose to sell these products to unauthorized sources.” Look on Ebay or amazon and we all know this is not true. If Stillwater, Memphis and a very few other can do Alpine could also. Words really don’t mean anything without actions!
When I read this statement, “The company noted it has made significant distribution moves in the past that were controversial but did not disrupt the specialists’ business.” , here lays the real problem that Alpine and others have made. They have no clue what is going on in the real world. Come work in my shoes for a month and you can see what your policies have done to my business. I have been in the electronics business for over thirty years and yes your policies have affected my store. Mark it down Alpine will soon be skipping dealers completely and marketing directly to the car dealers. At one time Alpine understood what direction they were going in now management has no clue.
Completely agree. Most manufacturers these days are out of touch with their dealers and what really goes on. This is not a good way to promote a specialty product like their Restyle systems. I guess Alpine thinks it’s ok to simply sell to the end user and allow someone with no experience to install their products. Maybe they should come up with a better distribution system, training and pricing for these systems rather than just discounting them online because that’s simply what is happening here.
To coincide with the overall theme of this weekend:
“You cannot resist the power of the darkside!”
If the current distribution channels (i.e. car audio specialists) supported the product when it launched, Alpine wouldn’t have chosen this direction. ((but that’s none of my business))
Selling $2500-up radios is a totally new segment and a tough one to crack as many of the targeted vehicles already had most of the same feature set that the Alpine Re-Style kits offer. I do not think it was lack of dealer support, but more lack of manufacturer training or misjudgement of consumer demand/awareness.
When XM launched 1n 2002, the product was awesome, but their connection to their potential client base was nearly non-existent. Without first knowing who will buy the product and then ensuring that you can show value to those people, you will struggle mightily. Ask Hugh Panero.
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