More dealers say they have hit or will soon reach a new milestone in car audio installations. Many say their shop is now at the 50/50 point, where they are keeping the factory radio in half of customer installs, rather than swapping it for an aftermarket radio.
Those car audio dealers who primarily work on new cars will tend to keep the factory radio more often than those working on primarily older cars.
But Tint World’s Paul Pirro says generally speaking, “..industry wide, 50/50 is probably a good radio. In the new model vehicles if you take out a radio and put in a radio that’s $300, it could be lower in value that what comes with the car.”
Hi Fi Buys Atlanta says the shop is keeping the factory radio in about 70 percent of its installs. Not surprisingly, it works mainly on new cars said Scott Kaminsky. He said the tipping point to 50 percent was two years ago.
Two leading car audio chains, Sound of Tristate, DE and Norton’s Car Stereo, SC both say they are at the 50/50 mark, keeping the factory radio about half the time.
For other retailers, changing out the radio for an aftermarket model is still the bulk of their business. At the Custom Sounds chain in Texas, they swap out the radio about 85 percent of the time. And at SoundFX, RI, they’ll swap the radio 95 percent of the time. “We tend to see more older cars, so the integration hasn’t been huge. That doesn’t mean we’re not ready for it,” said Mark D’Elia.
Meece Car Audio in Lancaster, CA is up in a high desert community where everyone has a truck. “Eighty percent of the time we’re replacing the radio,” said owner Jeff Meece. But he acknowledged, ” If you’re in a higher end area and you have a lot of luxury vehicles, there’s no way they’ll replace those radios.”