It’s been almost a year since Pioneer was sold to Baring Private Equity Asia, in about a $1 billion deal that included a $680 million investment in Pioneer.
Since then, we’ve seen a few layoffs of district and other sales managers, but, overall, the company has been relatively quiet on new strategies.
VP Marketing Ted Cardenas said the cash infusion by Baring will help Pioneer’s aftermarket product development. “From my personal opinion, everything has been very positive. Good things are happening and good things are coming.”
He offered few details on future products but noted that a new AV deck will be introduced mid next month with specifics to be revealed at that time.
Pioneer participated in Amazon’s roll out of new Alexa products last week, demonstrating its head units with Alexa capability, but it’s still waiting for final approval from Amazon to unlock Alexa capability. There’s a “bottleneck” in the approval process for Alexa automotive products at Amazon, he said. “We are just waiting for the bottlenecks to clear.” Owners of many 2019 Pioneer decks will eventually be able to update either of two apps to unlock Alexa voice control on the radios.
Pioneer hinted it might offer versions of its modular DMH-C5500NEX radio with 8-inch screen in even larger screen sizes in the future. Cardenas said,”You definitely see others [suppliers] are moving in that direction and, as in Pioneer’s history, we don’t want to be left behind in any way, so you can draw your conclusion.”
Pioneer is beginning to push its new rDrive Lojack vehicle recovery, tracking, and concierge system, offering dealers promotional materials for it such as a cardboard merchandiser and a new “buy one get one free promotion” on the unit through December. The OBD2-based rDrive has a retail price of $300 including one year of free service. Service fees are $200 per year after the first year.
The company has also released this month 17 new lower end car radios as reported here.
Finally, Pioneer announced this month that its speaker system has been adopted for the MAZDA-CS-30. It uses 8 speakers including a woofer that is now installed in the vehicle’s front corner instead of the front door for better sound propagation and less noise. Speakers include two 2.5 cm tweeters plus four 8cm midrange drivers, and two 12cm box woofers.