Instead of the usual battle to keep prices as low as possible, dealers are marking up price tags when it comes to one head unit in particular.
Many independent car audio specialists are selling Alpine’s iLX-W6550 at $50 or more above the minimum advertised price (MAP). The popular new CarPlay/Android Auto mechless deck has a MAP of $299, but some independent retail specialists are selling it at $349 or higher. One shop we called, said it was selling for $499 over the counter, uninstalled.
The iLX-W650 made waves when it was introduced this year. Until then, the lowest priced CarPlay/Android Auto deck from Alpine had a $599 street price. Some dealers welcomed the low cost, while others felt it was under-priced because a comparable deck from Pioneer sells for $349.
John Haynes of the Al & Ed’s Autosound chain in CA said, “Alpine iLX-w650 is a tremendous value at $299 and is definitely under-priced. It should probably have a retail selling price of $399. Some dealers have sold the product for more than MAP when it was in short supply.”
The iLX-W650 has been on backorder at various times earlier this year, but is in good supply at this time, said retailers.
Jodi’s Sound Center, CT sells the unit at $349. Jodi O’Connor said, “Yes, we love theW650. Great to have Alpine back in the game. We sell that unit at $349.95 all day long.”
HiFi Buys Atlanta shows the deck at $349 on its demo board but often sells it at $299. “We’re thankful Alpine was able to reach a price point that’s competitive with other manufacturers in the market. Historically, Alpine’s units have been much higher priced, which kind of priced people out of the purchase,” said Scott Kaminsky.
A spokesperson for Alpine said retailers are free to set the price themselves. The company is also focused on selling the deck with a companion optional power amp (KTA-450) as a “PowerStack system.” That package carries a MAP of $509.89.
Alpine said it is targeting a 30 percent attachment ratio of the power amp to the iLX-S650.