By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
LoJack is test marketing its LoJack Stolen Vehicle Recovery System at Tweeter, Sound Advice and Pep Boys stores in three markets. In addition the company is introducing its first new product in 16 years.
LoJack began test marketing it current locator system in June at Sound Advice in Tampa and Orlando, and in Philadelphia at Tweeter and Pep Boys in July. The company would not comment on results, but global marketing VP Donna Driscoll noted, "We're actively looking at other markets" to expand the test.
In addition, LoJack is launching Oct. 1 a step-up new Early Warning Vehicle Recovery System to be sold through car dealers. It is essentially an upgrade to the original system adding a motion sensor and two key passes, as well as wireless two-way communication between LoJack's monitoring facilities and the consumer's transponder.
Under the original system, if a consumer notices his car is stolen he notifies the police, who then activate a search for the LoJack transponder. With the Early Warning System, LoJack notifies the car owner if his car is moved by anyone who does not have a special key fob. Users are notified by phone, cellphone, e-mail and beeper. Then the user can determine if the car has, in fact, been stolen (or if the teenage son borrowed it) and notify the police.
LoJack said the new motion sensor is based on an accelerometer similar to that in car air bags to determine when the air bag should activate. "It's very sophisticated, so it's not prone to falsing. When the motion sensor senses motion over a certain period of time, it also communicates with your key fob. If it senses the key fob is not present, it assumes someone other than you is driving the vehicle and transmits that to us and we contact the consumer," explained Frank Romano, engineering VP.
The Early Warning System comes with two key fobs and has a suggested retail price of $795. Users can opt for a one-time, annual or monthly service plan, with the monthly fee being $9.95. LoJack is also raising the price of its original product to $695 to reflect rising infrastructure costs, said the company.
Lojack said it is test marketing only the original Lojack transponder at Tweeter, Pep Boys and Sound Advice.
Lojack currently operates in 20 states and has 20 licensees around the world. It claims a stolen vehicle recovery rate of over 90 percent.
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