By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Alpine's new 2005 lineup is one of the first to offer special OEM integration solutions, including the ability to work with vehicles that have existing screen-based OEM systems, the company announced.
Alpine's new V-Hub module enables all Alpine Ai-net products to interface with a vehicle that has an existing screen-based OEM system. “Things like the iPod interface or multichannel sound can be added on to an existing OEM system, allowing specialty retailers to finally provide some solutions to customers that haven't been able to do anything to their cars,” said marketing VP Stephen Witt. The V-Hub module has a tentative shipping date in April and will carry an estimated price of $299.
A second OEM integration product is a series of aftermarket modules for the OEM JCI (Johnson Controls) overhead rail system called RailPort. This standardized overhead rail is used in Ford minivans, SUVs and larger pickup trucks, and it is currently being adopted by Chrysler and General Motors, said Alpine. It is estimated that there will be over 1 million vehicles in 2005 with the JCI RailPort, projected to grow to 10 million vehicles by 2008, Alpine said.
Currently the modules attached to the JCI rail include storage devices and overhead lighting, said Alpine. But the company is introducing a 10.2-inch monitor, called the PKG-RSE1, with built-in FM modulator that can send information to the factory radio. Also available is a JCI-ready DVD player. The monitor may be purchased (with a kit and wireless headphones) at a target price of $599. The package with the DVD player is expected to carry a retail price near $799.
Alpine said it will not sell this new JCI overhead rail line to car dealers. “We are responding to the retailer and consumer desire to address the OEM pressures on the aftermarket. So, therefore, we want this to flow through our specialty distribution,” said Witt.
He added, “We're coming back with a pretty aggressive strategy. We're going to shock people. It's a widely known fact that Alpine has a lot of OEM business, and it was believed that Alpine couldn't do this.”
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