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12 Volt Group Holds Meeting

Las Vegas — The new 12 Volt Initiative steering committee met with member companies, including retailers, Wednesday night during the SEMA show, agreeing to fund the first phase of a plan to raise awareness of car stereo aftermarket products, said Larry Rougas, Pioneer marketing and product planning VP for mobile electronics and a member of the committee.

The 12 Volt Initiative hired the Acumen Group, which organized the 12 Volt Summit held this summer, to set up a non-profit organization and to help lay the groundwork, through research or other means, to create an outline of an action plan by International CES in January. The goal is no longer to simply raise awareness of car stereo, but to create a campaign or other promotion that will also incentivize consumers to buy 12-volt products, Rougas said. He hopes the campaign will launch in the second quarter next year. 

“Ultimately we want 12-volt awareness to increase, but it goes deeper. You can have awareness but people may not buy it, so it will go deeper in terms of tactics,” he said.

Phase one, up until International CES, will include setting up the organization, doing research, giving direction and establishing objectives. Phase 2 will be to name the concept and what it will cost to launch it, he said.

Committee members determined that in the current economic state, it is even more imperative that a campaign launch quickly. “We think that it is even more important, now, with these economic conditions, that we need to move forward and implement something sooner rather than later. Ultimately our goal is to have a strategy … by CES and to implement this, if approved, by calendar Q2 of 2009. This is quite aggressive timing, but we need it,” Rougas said.

As at the original 12 Volt Summit held this summer, Rougas, said the meeting was positive. “We’re all in agreement. We want to make this go forward. There was no hesitation there. Just the aggressive time line of having something done by CES,” he said.

Members of the new 12 Volt Initiative steering committee include Steve Baldacci, iBiquity; Rob Cummins, Best Buy; Mike Kahn, Sony; Keith Lehmamn, Kenwood; Gabi Mashal, Al & Ed’s Autosound; Carl Mathews, Crutchfield: Larry Rougas, Pioneer; Adam Thomas, Clarion; Barry Vogel MERA; Steve Witt, Alpine and Jason Oxman. CEA.