By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Klipsch will launch a revamped Aragon line in September and temporarily suspend Acurus marketing early next year after current Acurus inventories are depleted, Klipsch executive VP T. Paul Jacobs told TWICE.
Co-branded Aragon/Klipsch high-end home theater solutions and high-margin executive-style tabletop systems are also part of Klipsch's plans for the brands, which were marketed by Mondial Designs before Klipsch purchased select Mondial assets late last year (see Jan. 29, page 8). Klipsch also hired Mondial's top two engineers and co-founder Paul Rosenberg.
In refining his plans for the brands, Jacobs said CEDIA Expo attendees will get the first look at an entirely new line of Aragon-branded products, including a working prototype of the brand's first source unit. Although the Acurus name "will be shelved for the time being," after current inventories are sold off early next year, the name will return at an undisclosed time, when "it is highly likely Acurus will be very focused in custom," Jacobs said.
Until then, "with fewer SKUs, we'll do what Aragon and Acurus did with more marketing behind one brand," he said.
Undercapitalized Mondial, with sales of about $3 million to $4 million, couldn't afford to market and promote aggressively, and what marketing it did was split between two brands, Jacobs said.
Klipsch chose to focus exclusively on Aragon in the interim because of its top-end heritage, he said.
Aragon is positioned in the high-end market where companies such as Proceed compete. Acurus is described as a more affordable mid-fi to upper-mid-fi component brand, competing with companies such as Adcom and Rotel. Both brands' strengths included industrial design, the "human interface," and bullet-proof designs that drive any speaker load, he said. Although it focuses on amps, Aragon also offers a 5.1-channel processor. It's planned $4,500 DVD-A/V player has been shelved.
Mondial engineering will appear first in co-branded Klipsch/Aragon products, which will include two high-end home theater audio solutions, the first of which might appear at the Expo, Jacobs said. "We'll pull our electronics and speaker design teams together to focus on ease of use and complementary industrial designs," he said. Mondial technology will also trim the cabinet sizes of horn speakers without compromising Klipsch's detail, efficiency, and power. The cabinets will nonetheless remain larger than most other brands' cabinets to underscore the Klipsch heritage. One solution will be priced at around $30,000, with the other being smaller in size and price.
Co-branded executive-style shelf systems will also be introduced at about the same time as the home theater systems and will offer component margins, he said. They will help meet requests by specialty retailers who've lamented the slipping margins of brands made in the Far East.
Also in the fall, Klipsch will pump up Aragon marketing and advertising.
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