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Audiovox Expanding OE-Look Head Unit Selection

5/11/2011 10:57:25 AM Eastern

Hauppagge, N.Y. - Audiovox continues to expand its selection of OE-look A/V-navigation
systems
with the launch of the industry's first such model for the Hyundai
Sonata.

Advent

The company also reaffirmed
previously announced plans to offer eight to 10 more OE-replacement models this
year, all designed to exploit opportunities left on the table by automakers,
said Audiovox Electronics president Tom Malone.

The company's factory-fit head units
are Advent-branded products targeted to the expediter market. All are
touchscreen-equipped double-DIN A/V-navigation units designed to match OEM
cosmetics and plug into the factory wiring harness of particular car models.
When necessary, the head units plug into the vehicle's digital databus and
steering-wheel controls.

Audiovox's OE-look heads are usually
priced by car dealers at about $2,000 installed.

The OE-look head units fill a niche
left by automakers that offer sophisticated A/V-navigation systems in high-end
vehicles but limit the systems' availability in low- to mid-end vehicles, said
Malone. Automakers either do not offer A/V-nav systems in those 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.

"The automakers left the door open
for the car dealer business again," Malone said. The factory-look radio
business of the 1980s and 1990s faded as the automakers upgraded their radios
and integrated them into the vehicle's electronics systems, Malone explained.
That reduced the need for car dealers to offer step-up radios, which also
became more difficult to install because of electronic and cosmetic integration
with the vehicle.

Aftermarket opportunities, however,
rose again for two reasons. Not only did automakers bundle A/V-nav systems as
part of expensive options packages in low- and mid-priced vehicles, but "just
in the past few years, " aftermarket multimedia-nav systems became more
affordable, Malone explained.

With the launch of the head unit for
2011 Sonatas, Audiovox expanded its selection of factory-fit models to 11,
having introduced its first two models last year and adding nine so far this
year. The next OE-look head will ship in two months as part of the company's
plans to add eight to 10 more in 2011. Those heads will be designed for the
Toyota Tundra, Sienna, Prius, and Venza as well as for the Subaru Forrester and
multiple Chrysler/Jeep models yet to be finalized.

Current head units include models
for the Sonata, Toyota Corolla, Toyota Camry, Honda Civic, Honda CRV, Toyota
Highlander, Toyota RAV4, and Hyundai Santa Fe model. A Volkswagen SKU is
available, as are GM models, including one for vehicles with a factory Bose
system.

The company also offers a universal factory-look
double-DIN model for any vehicle with a double-DIN dash opening.

All models feature 7- or 8-inch
widescreen LCD touchpanel, DVD/CD /MP3/WMA playback, navigation with Navteq
U.S./Canada maps with 11 million POIs and 3D landmarks, turn-by-turn voice
guidance in 13 languages, and spoken street names in English, French and
Spanish.

Other features include built-in
hands-free Parrot Bluetooth with external Parrot microphone, iPod/iPhone USB
port for music playback, 3.5mm A/V inputs to play back iPod/iPhone video with
optional cable, Bluetooth stereo streaming (A2DP), Bluetooth AVRCP to control
select smartphone-app functions from the head unit, and Bluetooth phonebook
transfer.

The radios also feature XM-ready
radio controls, rear-view camera input, nine-band EQ, dual-zone audio/video
output, and subwoofer output.

All accept downloadable feature enhancements
installed by expediters. One recent upgrade was a Bluetooth "voice activation"
upgrade that lets drivers access a smartphone's voice-dialing option through a
button on the touch screen or via the steering wheel controls.

 

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