Car Toys: Here is How Driver Safety Will Lift the Aftermarket

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If you are in the car audio business, driver safety may save your neck in more ways than one.

Driver safety could be a key source of growth for your store during the next five years.

Car Toys, Seattle, which will push the category more vigorously this year, believes that driver safety will help grow the aftermarket in the future and could be a “very big” category for the aftermarket, according to VP Merchandising & Marketing Jim Warren.

The 49-store chain is updating its store displays to feature driver safety products for  brands including VOXX, Brandmotion, Zubie, and others.

Car-ToysBut here’s the bigger picture. The Dept. Transportation (DOT) will need the aftermarket for its autonomous car plans to succeed in a timely fashion.  The DOT is very bullish on self-driving cars and is ready to spend a lot of money –$4 billion– on getting autonomous cars on the road.  To do that, cars must talk to each other with V2V (vehicle to vehicle) technology and talk to traffic lights and highway infrastructure (V2X technology).   And for this to work, you need the aftermarket because if you rely solely on new car sales, there won’t be enough equipped cars on the road for a long time to come.

“…from what I’ve learned, I believe aftermarket cooperation will be needed to achieve the goals of the Department of Transportation,” said Warren.

He points to the DOT’s report from August 2014. The report said this:  “We believe that a trained technician is likely to be needed to install aftermarket equipment properly, since.. it is not so easy to determine where to attach antennas on the vehicle to ensure their effectiveness.”

We’ll have traffic lights that can talk to aftermarket products in the car. They might let you know how many seconds until the light turns green, for example, said Warren.

That doesn’t mean that the aftermarket will be turning everyday cars into autonomous cars. But car audio dealers will sell intelligent driving devices.  “The collective space for the aftermarket will be big,” he said.

“I tell people it’s like the moon shot program in the 60s,” he said.  The calculator and the PC were byproducts of the program that sent astronauts to the moon, as scientists sought to miniaturize electronics.  “In a similar way with the billions and billions invested in self-driving cars, there will be a lot of technology that can be monetized for 12 volt retailers.”

Consumers might be incentivized to go to the local 12 volt shop for products by lower insurance rates. And there might even be “subsidies for the 12 volt community… The Dept. of Transportation [DOT] appears to be steadfast in their commitment to achieve this goal,” said Warren, and it looks like the local 12 volt shop may play a role.

The result for everyone on the road is the technology could help prevent 950,000 injuries a year and 161 deaths per year.  It will mean lower insurance rates, greater productivity because we’re not stuck in traffic and less gas burned.

Again, a double win for car stereo dealers.



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