In the 1980s, the autosound aftermarket focused on luxury vehicles and teens/young adults. Then the luxury market gradually faded away as luxury automakers upgraded their factory systems to the levels preferred by their well-heeled customers. Teens and young adults remained, although eventually they would spend less on upgrading OEM sound systems to pour more of their money into computers, video games and eventually smartphones and cellphone bills.
Now the aftermarket is changing again to chase a new opportunity, turning its sites toward the motor sports and marine markets, if recent product introductions and promotions are any indication.
Dual, Boss, and Kenwood, for example, have launched Bluetooth-equipped amplifiers to add Bluetooth sources to, and upgrade the sound systems in, all-terrain vehicles and classic cars. Kenwood also launched rugged compact amps for the off-road market. And Boss Audio, Clarion, Dual, and Kenwood stepped up their focus on the marine market.
To reach consumers who would be interested in these products, and to educate them, companies such as MTX Audio and Rockford Fosgate are going to where their potential customers congregate.
MTX Audio, for example, is the official audio sponsor of the first annual UTV World Championship, running from February 19-21 in Laughlin, Nev. The first annual event will feature two world championship utility-terrain-vehicle races and demo rides for enthusiasts. MTX will be onsite to demo motorsports-related audio products in a fully customized UTV, while car audio products will be demonstrated in a showroom trailer. On top of that, MTX-sponsored Katie Vernola, a professional UTV racer and Playboy's Miss June 2010, will race at the event and appear in the MTX Audio booth.
For its part, Rockford Fosgate teamed up with custom-boat builder Yellowfin Yachts at the February 12-16 Miami International Boat Show to include a Rockford high-performance marine-audio system in a 24-foot Carbon Elite Bay Series boat, which has already been purchased for use in a charter fleet.
Kicker too will appear at the Miami show, marking its debut there.
The audio times are changing.
MTX teamed up with Katie Vernola, professional UTV racer and Playboy's Miss June 2010, to promote MTX audio at the 2015 UTV World Championship.