By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
LAS VEGAS -In its first OEM partnership, Kenwood will offer its Z919 AM/FM/MP3/CD player as standard equipment in the Mazda Protege MPS, a new compact sport sedan targeted to the youth market.
Announced at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show here late last month, the partnership marks the first time an MP3 player will be offered as standard equipment in a vehicle, Mazda said. Similar to the Sony Xplod offering in a special edition of the Ford Focus earlier this year, the deal is expected to help Mazda reach a young audience.
In a prepared statement, Mazda marketing and sales VP Steve Odell said, "MP3 is the fastest-growing music format, and our younger, tech-savvy consumers are demanding state-of-the-art audio systems and we are meeting that demand as well."
The Protege MPS, which was also unveiled here at SEMA, is expected to go on sale in first- or second-quarter 2001.
In addition to the eXcelon Z919 AM/FM in-dash CD player, which also plays MP3 CDR discs, the Protege MPS will offer two 6 x 9 three-way speakers (KFCX-696) for the car's rear deck, a 5 x 7 two-way speaker KFCX-576C) for each of the front doors, and a 100-watt, trunk-mounted 10-inch powered subwoofer (KSC-WA100).
Separately, Subaru is reportedly offering a new 2001 Outback H6 3.0 VDC with a 200-watt McIntosh audio system, marking the first time McIntosh has offered OEM car audio. McIntosh is a Clarion company.
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