Suppliers say they expect remote start supply issues this year. VOXX, which also sells leading Directed remote start, said it is allocating product, although inventory is coming in. Additionally, the shortages may continue into 2023, said suppliers during a Canadian Mobile Audio Live Round Table on Facebook moderated by Ben Woo.
Remote start suppliers are dealing with microprocessor and parts shortages, as are all consumer electronics companies.
Joe Dentamaro of VOXX said, “It’s important for everybody to understand how many components go into a unit. There are hundreds of components on a circuit board, and if a microprocessor isn’t there or a resistor or diode, it can’t go further down the assembly line. We place orders for parts inventory two years out… They say we’ll ship 10,000 tomorrow and then tomorrow comes and they say sorry we can only give you a thousand. It’s incredibly difficult.”
VOXX is sending out allocated orders two times a week. “We’re getting inventory, we’re bringing in inventory, we’re air shipping inventory, I know a lot of companies are.. It will just be herky jerky this year season rather than fluid,” said Dentamaro.
As digital products require more chips than analog, it is expected that dealers may need to brush up on their analog remote start wiring and relay expertise. Additionally, there are fewer new cars shipping this year and so digital solutions may not be available for some of the newer cars, said Jean-Paul Raymond of Fortin.
Fortin said it expects tight supply this year but it is not allocating product. Raymond said, following the round table, “For sure we will prioritize our existing customer base over somebody new. We are expecting tight supply, but not necessarily shortages.”
Rob Nelson of distributor Automobility added, “When digital is out of supply you’ll see dealers going back to the way of wire-to-wire and wrapping a key the way we did 10 or 15 years ago. I wouldn’t be surprised if before the end of the year, people are wrapping a key.”
Jeff Bates of retailer Lockdown Security, Markham, Ontario added, “Dealers are going to have to polish up on their wiring knowledge and know how to hard wire rather than relying on Can Bus. Installers will have to polish up knowledge of relays and they will need to have wiring software and data bases and get their schematics for cars…Training, especially for junior techs, is something dealers really should be looking at.”
Additionally, years ago, when retailers were requiring their customers to lose a spare key for an analog installation, cars came with cheaper valet keys. Now keys are expensive.
Nelson said it may not be that easy to tell a customer he has to give up a key, noting Audi and Honda are currently delivering cars with only one key.
VOXX/DEI and Fortin said they expect factories in general will continue to experience chip shortages into 2023.
Next year’s remote start season should see fewer shortages however than the current season, said Dentamaro. Al Fontane of VOXX/DEI encouraged retailers to place their orders now. Dealers will not receive huge orders all at once, but allocated orders as shipments come in.
Dealers were told that reps would contact them in the event supplies opened up and there was a large outstanding order, ‘You won’t get an order of 1,000 all at once. The rep will contact you first to see if you want it,’ said Dentamaro.