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Audiovox To Bring OE-Fit AVNs To Retail

2/15/2012 01:37:34 PM Eastern

Hauppauge, N.Y. - Voxx
subsidiary Audiovox Electronics will bring its OE-fit A/V-navigation systems (AVNs)
to the retail aftermarket for the first time as soon as April, Audiovox
president Tom Malone said.

The company offers
19 Advent-branded systems to expediters, but aftermarket versions will carry
the Audiovox brand. The brands appear on the head units' touchscreen when the
systems are turned on.

"I don't expect
this to be a very high-volume business, but enough retailers are expressing an
interest for certain customers," said Malone.

Audiovox plans to
offer retailers a glossy book with application guides and color pictures showing
the Audiovox products installed in specific vehicle models. Dealers would be
able to special-order the specific head units that they need once they close a
sale and schedule an installation.  "Their
only investment is the book," Malone said, although retailers might also want
to carry one head unit as a demo model.

 The book would also show such products as
backup cameras and backup sensors that plug into the head units.

The head units fit
directly into a vehicle's often unusually shaped openings, adopt factory colors
and styling cues, plug into the factory wiring harness of particular car models,
and when necessary plug into the vehicle's digital databus and steering-wheel
controls.

Audiovox's OE-look
nav systems would probably retail for less than $1,500 with installation and
would present dealers with higher margins and higher gross profit dollars than Japanese-brand
head units whose wholesale prices have fallen dramatically in recent years and
whose retail prices have been beaten down on the Internet, Malone said. The OE-fit
products won't be sold on the Internet and will be sold only to installing
retailers because they require integration with OEM electronics systems, he
noted.

 "Dealers should expect 40-point margins on a
significantly higher price point," Malone said. Dealers will be able to sell a
custom solution that matches a car's interior and can't be shopped on the
Internet."

 The nav systems will deliver an OEM look and
high-end features while retaining all factory features, such as tire-pressure
warnings that appear on OEM navigation screens, Malone said.

The book will also
feature headrest rear-seat entertainment solutions, which use materials that match
a car's stock interior and retail installed for less than $1,500 for a pair of
headrests, each equipped with an LCD screen and a DVD player. The company has
been selling rear-seat entertainment solutions through the retail aftermarket
for years.

The OE-look head
units fill a niche left by automakers that offer sophisticated AVNs in high-end
vehicles but limit the systems' availability in low- to mid-end vehicles, the
company previously said. Automakers either do not offer AVNs in low- to mid-end
vehicles or offer the systems only as options in expensive options packages
that would otherwise force price-conscious consumers to pay for options they
don't want, he explained.

Audiovox told
TWICE a year ago
that it was thinking about bringing OE-look A/V-nav
systems to the retail aftermarket.