By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Avid Worx is building one of the first drive-in mobile sound displays that allow a customer to actually drive a car into the soundroom.
The mobile sound displays will have speakers on retractable wires so that they may be placed in the customer's car for a live demonstration, said Avid Worx co-owner Mark Greenberg.
The display has been commissioned by AutoEffects, Monaca, Pa., which is creating a mobile soundproof room for the display with a retractable overhead door. Owner Ryan Eichhorn said he is spending $30,000 to $35,000 on the entire project because he's tired of customers visiting his store and receiving a demo on a $1,000 system, only to go to Circuit City and buy $49 speakers, believing they've gotten a better deal.
With the new display, the speakers are placed in the car, running off of amps and head units that remain in the sound display. The display allows the driver to A-B between his factory head unit and an after-market head unit in the sound board. All told, Eichhorn plans to fill the display with four sets of 6x9 speakers, eight sets of component speakers and 34 subwoofers.
Drivers “open the windows and pull the speakers into the car like an outdoor movie theater. You can lay three component sets in the car and A-B switch them. But when there is no car in the room, it looks like a regular, normal soundroom,” said Eichhorn.
He added, “When you put the speakers in the car, you can hear the bass, and they say, 'That's what I really wanted.' This business is changing. You have to interact more with the customers, and this makes it easier to up-sell.”
Eichhorn expects delivery on the display, which cost about $20,000 (without the soundroom and demo units) in about four weeks, he said. The store is planning a local advertising blitz to accompany the display's opening.
AutoEffects has been in business for five years and is looking to franchise to about a dozen stores, said Eichhorn.
Avid Worx is also building some of the first OEM integration displays, enabling dealers to demonstrate new OEM integration devices and to A-B switch between after-market and OEM speakers, it said.
Separately, Avid Worx is also launching some of the first OEM integration.
“We use a lot of graphics and lighting to simplify the [consumer] education process” about newer areas in mobile sound, said co-owner Mark Greenberg, adding, “OEM integration is a huge trust issue for consumers coming into the dealer who don't want to cut up their dash.” He said a display can help the dealer to gain that trust by showing a stock OEM radio with stock speakers, and then A-B switching that against the stock radio with after-market speakers, an amplifier and subwoofer. “The client says, 'Hey, I can keep my dash, and this is what my $4 factory speakers sound like and what $100 speakers sound like,'” explained Greenberg.
The displays take four to six weeks to build at cost between $2,000 and $3,000. They include sectional displays for OEM integration — including iPod and Bluetooth integration — navigation, satellite radio and security.
Display maker MTI, Hillsboro, Ore., said it is also looking into offering OEM integration displays and currently builds them on a custom basis.
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