By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Harman Kardon is returning to the U.S. car audio aftermarket with the release of an in-dash navigation system called the TrafficPro. The unit delivers directions by voice prompt, and it will be available for installation through Circuit City stores as well as other dealers.
Harman Kardon said the new TrafficPro is one of the most popular navigation systems in Europe, where it is sold under the Becker brand.
"The size of our business in Europe on this one unit is larger than the entire U.S. navigation market," said Christopher M. Dragon, director of brand marketing, Harman Consumer Systems Group mobile audio division. He added more than 200,000 TrafficPro units have sold to date.
The TrafficPro is a DIN-sized AM/FM/CD with voice-prompt navigation as well as arrow display. It has 8MB of memory at a suggested retail price of $1,499. It will be offered beginning this month in a unique marketing effort designed to target the key navigation demographic. Dragon claims that one of the reasons the U.S. navigation market is limited is because the typical navigation buyer is outside the demographic of the 16-to-24-year-old who tends to frequent the 12-volt specialist or A/V chain. To reach that key audience, Harman has planned a targeted direct mail campaign and targeted advertising. It will offer the TrafficPro on an interactive Web site. Crutchfield will fill orders for the self-installers and Circuit City will provide installation for those electing to purchase the unit installed.
The TrafficPro provides turn-by-turn directions via voice prompt and arrow display. It uses NavTech map data and ships with two CDs containing the entire United States as well as points of interest. The AM/FM/CD/navigation unit automatically stores up to 50 destinations for quick recall as well as an additional 50 destinations. Users can also eject the map disc once the destination is loaded and play a music CD. The Traffic Pro automatically interrupts music to deliver a voice prompt, the company said.
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