It’s been a while since car audio retailers had a $1,000 (loaded and installed) car AV/DVD radio to sell (we’re talking just AV, no navigation). So some retailers are turning to pushing the new multi-camera safety add-on systems to bring the radio up to the $1,000 mark.
Multi-camera systems are the “new mobile video,” although they provide safety rather than entertainment. They include cameras mounted on the side mirrors that automatically show a view of the blind spot in your side lanes when you activate a turn signal.
Blind spot detection is one of the most wanted technologies for the car, according to JD Power.
Some dealers report the side camera feature is growing in popularity since Honda and Volvo began offering it in some car models. “It’s the same thing that happened with Bluetooth. Dad or mom gets a new car with blind spot cameras and then the other has to have it,” said Dan Jeancola of Sound Advice, FL. ” I had an older couple yesterday, same situation. Husband got a new Honda….” so they came it to outfit the wife’s car with side cameras.
Suppliers are also starting to see movement on multi-camera systems. Rydeen says the segment is close to 10 percent of its sales, expected to grow to 20 to 25 percent in two years.
Joe Shemula of Del Rey Customs, CA, “Before we could sell a double DIN unit and it would be $1,000 by the time you added a kit and harness and an install. Nowadays that opportunity has shrunk, so now we find ourselves improving the safety features of the car.”
“It’s the first time we don’t have a $1,000 AV piece, said Tony Denke of Driven Audio, in British Columbia, Canada. It’s going to go to multi camera systems. That’s the trend I’m seeing,” he said. It’s even more important, he said, because navigation sales are also falling at many specialist shops.
“Last year if we showed people CarPlay, they still wanted navigation. This year, it’s …they don’t need maps.” Denke added, “The 40 plus crowds, they now are trusting their phones for navigation… So two years from now, when everyone’s rented a car with CarPlay and are feeling comfortable, we’re going to have to find a way to replace that $1,000 product.”
Meanwhile, standard car AV radios are growing less profitable. At the low end, name brand models can be found at $200 and off-brand models have dipped below $100.