Lucas Lighting, a three-year old company launched by 12 volt industry members, says its lights offer higher quality and lower failure rates than standard automotive lighting.
Lucas Lighting offers LED replacement headlights, interior lights and some back lights. It plans to sell powersports and motorcycle lighting in the future. It is co-owned by retailer Mike Hong, of Audio Design, San Jose, CA. and Sam Woo, Chicago. In the past three years, it has sold 3,000 units, with a return rate of less than 0.03 percent, said Eric Carter, Brand Manager, and former owner of retailer Cartronix in Indiana.
Lucas Lighting products are more expensive than typical automotive lighting. They start at $100 for a pair of LED headlights and run an average of $160. With a typical install fee of $75, that delivers $185 in profits, said Hong. Most stores sell over 50 a month, which amounts to $9,250 or over $100K a year in profit, he claimed.
His shop sells 100 pairs a month. Other retailers began asking for the products and the business began to grow. Lucas Lighting recently signed up about 25 manufacturers reps and is now going nationwide.
Carter rattled off the problems with many lighting vendors: “High failure rate. Just try to get an RA. No profit to be made. Poor support. Installation difficulties.”
To address that Lucas says its products have more light outputs and higher quality chip sets. The light housing is smaller for easier installation and the LEDs are positioned for a better light pattern. The headlights include built-in CAN bus decoders to prevent tripping an error code. Hong said the lights have fewer dark spots.
To demonstrate durability, Hong showed slides of the bulbs being boiled, torched and frozen. Even if the headlight fills up with water and freezes, it will still work, he said.
If an authorized dealer installs them, the LEDs carry a 3-year warranty.
Automotive lighting is a growth market, increasing at a compound annual rate of between 7 to 9 percent, according to various studies. The vast majority of cars on the road use inferior halogen lights that only offer safe visibility up to 52 mph.
Hong says there’s a demand for better quality that retailers may be missing out on.