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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.
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