Just as a polar vortex hits the Midwest, remote starters are in back order, with product orders being partially filled, in many cases.
Sales are up in remote starters, especially in digital models (where the remote start and data module are in one unit), causing spot product shortages of the leading digital platforms and wiring T-harnesses.
Directed and VOXX say they are air-freighting in product. Still, some dealers report back orders of up to three weeks.
Compustar did not respond to a request for comment.
The cold weather early in the season in the Northeast helped spur sales of remote starters overall. In addition, more dealers are adopting the digital remote starters, which first came on the market 12 to 18 months ago, leading to shortages.
A Directed spokesman said, “The elevated demand and some port congestion in late 2018 unfortunately caused some product shortages. To alleviate the issue, Directed accelerated production, air-freighted shipments to warehouses and customers, added additional labor to handle orders, and, where possible, substituted, upgraded or converted models to meet customer demand.”
VOXX Electronics reported higher sales of its Data Start and T-harnesses (while analog remote start sales remained even with last year). Aron Demers Senior VP said, “The increase in the digital remote start product has come from both new dealers added and new SKU’s placed with our existing dealers. This has really been the only product that we have not been able to keep up with demand, however we are air-freighting in product and increasing orders to the factory.”
He added, “At this point in the season we see our remote start category tracking ahead of last year. We have also seen a significant increase in both of our CarLink Telematics products – the ASCLBTLR and ASCL6. We attribute this to the addition of My Branded App program, the first full season of CarLink long range with no monthly or annual fees to the consumer and the aggressive consumer renewal plans for ASCL6.”
The shortages started around December. Dealers who bought in heavily, and who are not short on product say that other dealers are calling and asking if they have any to spare. Dealers are adjusting by either using analog remote starts or simply booking out installs into March, they said.
Meanwhile, the Midwest this week has been hit with record cold temperatures due to a polar vortex. Wednesday’s wind chills will make it feel as low as 50 degrees below zero. Perfect weather for remote start.
Top photo: ABC News