March is For CarPlay

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Pioneer AVH-4200NEX

CarPlay and Android Auto get a refresh in the aftermarket starting late March when brands such as Pioneer and Kenwood plan to deliver more than a dozen new radios with the new Apple and Google systems.

As many dealers are out of stock on popular CarPlay models, the shipments are anxiously awaited.

Also this spring, a lower cost deck from JBL will debut at $399 with CarPlay and Android Auto, as will a Jeep-specific deck from Alpine with CarPlay followed by other decks this year from JVC, Jensen.

With the new products, some dealers, who have shied away from CarPlay  say they will begin pushing it.

Car Toys’s Jim Warren believes CarPlay and Android Auto “will continue to be the primary engine for 12 volt sales for the next several years. ”

The VP Merchandising and Marketing for the 49-store Seattle chain added, “Since day 1 our customers have embraced this technology.  We sold our first units the day the software was released and we’ve never looked back.”

California Custom Sounds, Dayton, OH avoided promoting CarPlay last year, but will get behind it with Kenwood’s new models due in March. “I haven’t seen a ton of customers coming in and asking about it. But since the first of the year, we’ve been getting more inquiries on it,” said Owner Zack Knoop.

Mobile Electronics, LaGrange GA also said it just started seeing traction for CarPlay.  Demand began in December when Kenwood launched a rebate on CarPlay models. Prior to that, the store’s  CarPlay sales were non-existent, said owner Keith Roberts.

Overall, some dealers say CarPlay is big hit while other see moderate sales.

CarFi, St. Louis, sells about a dozen CarPlay units a month.

A big proponent is Sound Advice, which just opened its third store in Florida. CarPlay/Android Auto accounts for 60 percent of the store’s head unit business. About 8 out of 10 of those sales are CarPlay versus Android Auto. But like others, the shop is looking forward to the new Pioneer decks with CarPlay including the NEX models 4200, 6200 and 8200.

Empress Audio, Gulfport, MS has been advertising CarPlay on TV and the Internet and has seen strong sales on both CarPlay and Android Auto decks, although CarPlay outsells Android Auto 5 to 1.

For Soundwaves of Tampa, sales run 20 to 1 in favor of CarPlay.

Several dealers say they never see an Android Auto sale.

“Android Auto doesn’t live up to most of our staff’s expectations,” said Joe Cassity of Tunes-n-Tint, Lakeland, FL.  “It doesn’t have the fluid operation of CarPlay.  There’s a lot of conditions for pre-qualifying the customer and not all the Android customers have their phones up to date…”

Android Auto also requires the user download an app before it can work with his phone while CarPlay does not, said industry members.




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1 Comment

  1. I have had android auto since it was available. To say that it doesn’t live up to expectations is merely a shop being biased to apple and carplay. Would you rather use apple maps or google maps for navigation? no comparison. Google play music is fantastic to use, giving you pretty much any song you want to listen to with a voice command. Carplay has no such feature. Not to mention, google’s speak to text and listening skills are FAR superior to Siri, who still has no idea what you’re saying half the time. I like the layout of the carplay screen better but that is pretty much it. The function of Android Auto walks all over Carplay in my opinion.

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