New products have been few and far between for the past year. With all the factory and shipping delays still raging, what can we expect by way of new introductions for the rest of the year?
JL Audio said it will offer “a first ever” product for the brand, hopefully this year.
JVC and Kenwood will introduce a few new products this March and April including JVC’s first dashcam.
Sony said it has a new product announcement coming in April.
Kicker is scheduled to ship new amplifiers and speakers this year and Jensen will ship some new head units.
JL Audio said, “New product introductions will include some exciting new electronics, including a ‘first ever’ for JL Audio, plus new car speakers and marine speakers,” according to Manville Smith, Senior VP Marketing.
Kenwood plans to offer some new powersports products in April in time for the good weather.
Kicker hopes to bring in new KXMA amplifiers in April, and KMA amps in May. New sound bars named Kicker Power Bars are slated to begin shipping in late May. Kicker will also ship other amplifiers and speakers (see the end of the article).
But generally, the wide, full-line head unit introductions typical of past years are not likely to materialize this year.
“It’s not going to be a year like previous years. I know our number one goal right now is just to get availability of product to dealers,” said Kenwood’s Seth Halstead.
Speaker maker, Audiofrog was planning to enter two new product categories, but is postponing the debut. Audiofrog President Andy Wehmeyer said, “We were designing amplifiers and digital signal processors… There was the AKM fire. We were in the middle of a big redesign to move to different A to Ds and D to As, but now other parts are not available like microcontrollers. It’s so unpredictable.”
JVC’s Ron Trout said, “I think for us, the delay in new products was just the delay of factories not shipping product for 3 or 4 months when COVID hit in March. The US shut down and a lot of other countries shut down and nobody knew what the economics would be. Projects were put on hold; some were not put back on until August. We’re going to have new products; we’ll just have them at a different time frame. I would assume other companies are in the same boat…”
Another supplier said, “I have amplifiers that should have been finished and delivered to me in August that are still not here.”
“Right now, it’s about getting product to fill the pipeline, it’s not the time to refresh. It’s about getting as much product here as possible. They’ll transition to new models later. It will be like this for the foreseeable future, especially if we get another $1,400 stimulus,” said one manufacturer’s rep.
Kicker said some of its marine product introductions that were planned for release in Q1, prior to the spring selling season are now due later in the second quarter due to global parts shortages and world-wide delays in shipping. Some of its additional products slated for this year include new powersports amps to begin shipping late Q2 to early Q3. Also a new KSMT2504 dual pod speaker, shaped somewhat like a snowman, is intended for custom installation in cars and trucks, and should ship late Q2. The PSM3, a powersports handlebar speaker set, is targeted for April release.