By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Audiovox believes it has turned the corner to profitability after losses last year due to the recession.
At a Wall Street conference last week Pat Lavelle, president/CEO also said it is improving its position in automotive OEM sales, in high-end RCA remote controls and in emerging categories like Internet radios and live TV devices for the car.
During last year’s first fiscal quarter, Audiovox said it lost $7.8 million dollars in operating income where in this year’s first quarter, “We had a small profit of $232,000,” Lavelle said. “We believe we have turned the corner. We believe that we have dealt with the lower sales and the impact of the economy. We believe our overhead is in line with the sales we are doing now, and we’ve positioned the company for profitability.”
Audiovox claimed it has held the No. 1 market share position in mobile video for the past seven years and is ranked in the top five slots in clock radios, digital voice recorders and camcorders, and in the leading position in remote controls and reception, including antennas.
The company said it is ranked sixth in MP3 players according to the NPD Group. Audiovox sells in excess of 1.5 million MP3 players through Walmart, said Lavelle.
Audiovox also recently entered the Internet radio market. Lavelle said, “We believe Internet radio is going to be the format of choice for radio listening. Today 54 million people a week listen to Internet Radio on their laptops … we’re moving it off the laptop.”
The company said 10 percent of its sales over the past three years have been in automotive OEM sales and “with some of the new products coming, I expect to see that grow,” Lavelle said, noting that Audiovox launched last month a program to provide backseat TV systems for Porsche.
Lavelle expects 10 million cars will be sold this year, compared with 17 million at the peak of auto sales.
Audiovox is also expanding its presence in Europe and said overseas sales now account for 10 percent of sales, expected to increase as a percentage in the future.
Audiovox said it sells through retailers including Best Buy, Walmart, Costco, Target, RadioShack, Sam’s Club, Office Depot and Sears.
Highlight products for the future include high-end remotes under the Xsight line and a FLO TV receiver that delivers 20 channels of live TV to the car as well as an overhead car monitor with a built-in Sony PlayStation.
Separately Audiovox and FLO TV said last week there would be a slight delay in plans to bring the FLO TV live TV product to the car. The product will now be available in the fourth quarter under the Audiovox Advent brand.
The FLO TV Auto Entertainment tuner/antenna system that works with an existing TV monitor in the car delivers 20 channels of live TV to a moving automobile, at a lower price than many current live TV services for the car.
The FLO TV system is expected to sell in the $599 to $699 range, including installation, although car dealers may bundle the system in packages at various prices.
For more details on FLO TV, visit www. TWICE.com.
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