By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
The shortages of in-dash DVD players seen during the past quarter are beginning to ease and should see relief by summer, according to some suppliers.
Dual and Audiovox (Jensen) both acknowledged supply constraints during the quarter due to stronger than expected demand and the sophistication of the items.
Jim Braun, president/CEO of Dual, said of in-dash DVD players, "These are complex items. So when the demand grows as briskly as it's growing, there has to be some catch up [in manufacturing]."
Similarly, Audiovox Electronics president Tom Malone said packing the products with so many features "like iPod compatibility, satellite radio, GPS navigation, Bluetooth, USB ports and MP3 increases engineering lead times. Our factories have had to adjust to provide these more technologically robust solutions and this has caused part of the delays we faced early in the year." He said Jensen will be "fully caught up by mid-summer" and has already increased production.
Dual, which claims a 20 percent unit share in the segment, said demand started to take off early this year. The company experienced "spot shortages" and claims that supplies are improving.
Suppliers said in-dash DVD has seen a surge in demand due to lower prices. During the past two years, prices have fallen by an approximate $600 and low-end models are now available at $300.
Retailers also noted current shortages on Pioneer AVIC-Z2 and AVIC-D3 models and on certain Alpine and Kenwood products.
Kenwood said it has been short on a couple of models because of higher than anticipated demand.
Alpine said that high demand for its IVA-W205, which began shipping in April, caused the company to air ship the product to meet demand. It expects all orders to be fulfilled by the end of May.
The company also noted that first-quarter supplies are frequently a problem in car audio. This could be greatly improved if retailers would provide manufacturers with 90-day forecasting, Alpine said.
Pioneer was not available for comment.
Two suppliers said the LCD panels used for screens on the in-dash DVD/monitors are currently in short supply but are not yet affecting production. Dual said prices are starting to increase on the screens, as a result of the supply constraints.
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