Both Sony Car Audio and Kicker (Stillwater Designs) say they have sacrificed millions of dollars in sales by cutting off discounters of their car audio products.
Sony said it has been cutting off unauthorized sellers for more than six years as part of a corporate Sony-wide effort to stop discounters.
Kicker’s Tom Heath said the company intensified its efforts to stop unauthorized sales and discounting when he took his post as Domestic Sales Director about 2.5 years ago. “Yes, we’ve sacrificed millions and millions of dollars. It’s very expensive to do this.”
Sony Tech Team Representative Anthony Tozzi also said, “A lot of retailers don’t see the double-edge sword behind Internet compliance. It’s good on the surface for everyone and we’re very happy about it, but the cost to manufacturers is millions of dollars worth of revenue. If you just want to dump things on the Internet and sell them for little to no profit, we could do literally millions extra in revenue,” he said, adding that Sony made the decision to focus on profit and not revenue.
Industry members continue to cite Internet discounting as one of the chief problems of the 12 volt aftermarket. Some estimate that as much as 75 to 90 percent of sales of car audio on the Internet are below the Minimum Advertised Price (MAP). Two industry members said the figure may be higher than 90 percent.
Sony has severed ties with a couple dozen dealers in the past year alone, and it has eliminated some distributors, it said.
“If you go back about 5 or 6 years, we were probably one of the worst offenders.” Tozzi now claims Sony is one of the cleanest lines.
Sony and Kicker are two of a handful of top brand suppliers that are making strides in reigning in 12 volt discounting. MTX also revamped its sales process in 2013 to stop online discounting. Retailers also mentioned JL Audio as taking effective measures. Both were not available for comment.
Photo credit: Grey Suit Retail