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Thank Goodness, On Behalf Of The Car Audio Companies

It’s a poorly kept secret in car audio that most of the leading brands are linked to corporate parents that supply OEM radios to the car companies. 

Few of the car audio brands would comment on the record, then, about their reaction to the bail out of General Motors and Chrysler, which received a combined $17.4 billion in emergency loans. But off the record, the relief was immense.

Harman/Kardon’s new CEO, Dinesh Paliwal, told Bloomberg recently that 10 percent of its sales are to the Big Three auto makers. In the aftermarket, Harman owns the JBL and Infinity brands.

Less than 10 percent of Alpine’s sales go to the Big Three, according to industry estimates. We know that Alpine sells navigation systems for the Cadillac CTS.

 One of Clarion’s largest OEM deals is with one of the Big Three (Clarion declined to say which one). And Audiovox sells remote starters to General Motors and rear-seat entertainment systems to Mopar, a Chrysler company.

On the record, executives say aftermarket and OEM divisions are separate, but in today’s market, no one is happy when the corporate parent losses 10 percent of its sales, and so last week brought some welcome news to a market that has had a very rough year.