Car Audio May Have to Fight For This

share on:
V2V car tech

The car audio industry may find itself in a new fight with the car companies and their car dealers.

The fight may center on a new aftermarket business in selling vehicle to vehicle (V2V) communication devices– black boxes that can connect over dedicated WiFi to other cars or to traffic lights and roadway infrastructure (V2X).

Car makers are already lobbying Congress to pass legislation that would mandate that consumers buy V2V equipment only from car dealers (or “officially certified car dealer franchises”), said Technology Consultant Keith Lehmann.  This could bar car audio dealers and independent repair shops from this new market.

No legislation on this has been drafted, but the car makers are actively lobbying, said Lehmann.  The car dealers and auto makers are aggressively “trying to find a way to make more business, and they are going to try to do it through legislating.”

He is sounding a warning bell for the car audio industry to be ready to take action.

Steve Witt, CEO of American Road Products agreed,  “There is no question that the aftermarket retail channels are at risk without a unified effort to coordinate and communicate with the government and automakers.”

He said that two division of the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)– the Vehicle Technology division and the  Government Affairs division–should work together to interface with the government and to “position the retail channels as a viable and capable conduit for the deployment of V2V and V2X. ”

V2V technology
V2V technology may be available in the aftermarket in 5 years


V2V can help warn a driver if a car up ahead is braking and they need to slow down, or let a driver know that it’s not safe to proceed through an intersection because another car (not yet seen by the driver) is quickly approaching.

But for V2V to be effective, about 35 percent of the cars on the road must have V2V installed, hence the need for retrofitting, said Jeff Varick, President of Brandmotion.

Under one scenario, the aftermarket might be restricted from installing this technology on newer cars still under warranty.  They would be limited to working only with older cars to install V2V/V2X communication equipment.

A better scenario would allow aftermarket retailers to get certification to install V2V on any car.

V2V black box technology may require an attachment to a car antenna, so professional installation may be necessary.

The Fed expects to devote a lot of money ($4 billion) to getting this technology in cars on the road, so there is a huge potential for aftermarket business starting in about 5 years.

So what should aftermarket retailers do?

They can start taking steps to be the go-to shop for driver safety in their market.  They should learn the business of driver safety, which includes selling OBD2 devices, which have a side business of collecting data on customers.  By learning this business they may be able to compete more effectively with car dealers, said Lehmann.

Second, retailers as a group may go to their Congressmen, as the states may have some say in how new legislation on implementing autonomous cars will be crafted.

We asked the  CTA, formerly called the Consumer Electronics Association, to comment on the topic.  It said:

“… Preventing aftermarket installers from bringing these new safety features to owners of older vehicles, as well as new, could have tragic consequences. That is why our laws and standards must allow for the aftermarket retrofitting of older automobiles, so everyone can enjoy the benefits of these new technologies. We should not prevent tech-installation experts from doing what they do best.” — Michael Petricone, CTA Senior VP Government Affairs

We contacted two key automotive lobbying groups, The Automotive Alliance and the Alliance of Global Automakers, who both deny that they are lobbying on retrofitting V2V standards.

However a spokesman for the Automotive Alliance said he believes that final rules on V2V and V2X technology will likely address where and how it is sold in the aftermarket.









Want to receive industry news? Sign up here
share on:


  1. Hi Steve.. Hope all is well… The Aftermarket as a whole and all retail channels are not only at risk but are actively under attack by the predatory actions of the automakers, The Aftermarket has been under siege for years.

    As you are aware, many years back some of us within the Aftermarket tried a unified effort to coordinate and communicate with the automakers who just took our ideas and adopted them for themselves leaving the Aftermarket out to dry.

    There is no question the aftermarket needs to coordinate and communicate with the Government to survive and not go gently into that good night.

  2. In 1982 I was informed by members of CASA that the OEMs were going to end the 12 volt aftermarket by outlawing radio replacement. There have been claims for many years about such a practice and the demise of the aftermarket. If the “driver safety” products are included in an attempt by OEM or tier one part manufacturers to outlaw aftermarket manufacturing of and installations of such parts, I am confident that the primary safety part on a car, the TIRES, will be included in such an attempt. If they can’t outlaw aftermarket manufacturing and installation of tires, I think they are not likely to be able to outlaw other aftermarket safety products. Of course “standards” may be applied to manufacturing and installation. That we have to prepare for.

    Beginning of the end…? NOT LIKELY.

    Ray Windsor

  3. I don’t know V2V is an important part of auto safety,
    Letting brands like Fill in the blank______________ Might be foolish.
    I won’t name a brand but you know what’s imported junk and what brands are good.
    But even the good brands have their problems.
    Take TAKATA Air bags for instance, what almost all automakers thought was a good brand, turns out the system they used wasn’t so good after all.
    It’s not a safety system if it fails to do the job it was made for.
    However a blanket law preventing Quality made products from being installed isn’t smart either. So a List of approved devices isn’t out of the question.
    Because it will be a case of Liability, by the auto maker, the brand and the shop that installed it. MECP certification might not be enough for this either this will take some specific training and certification.

Comments are closed.