Almani Audio and Crossfire are two small car audio brands looking to expand.
Almani Audio is a new mid-fi start-up, which originally began as a house brand for car audio retailer Audio America, here.
Owner Mohammad Radwan says the brand took off and he decided to exit the retail market after 18 years and concentrate on Almani Audio, which now sells at a rate of $5 million annually through about 100 accounts, mainly in Southern California. The brand began to flourish when Radwan offered it to other local stores because of its high margins of 40 percent to 50 percent, he said.
Sourced in Asia, Almani Audio products include DVD and CD players as well as amplifiers and speakers. A DVD player (without screen) sells just below $300 and includes Bluetooth, SD card slot and MP3 and MP4 capability. A similar version with a 7-inch fully motorized screen, TV tuner and 5.1 digital surround has a suggested retail of $750.
Both Almani Audio and Crossfire said they hired industry veteran Ray Windsor as a consultant to help drive their expansion.
Crossfire is a 12-year-old high-end supplier of car stereo amplifiers and speakers that is considering entering the navigation market later this year. The company sells through approximately 350 retailers. President James Song says Crossfire steered clear of offering head units until the present because it imports from China and Korea, and couldn't compete with Japanese CD mechanisms. "I can't make a better mechanism and at a cheaper price. Now, I believe starting with navigation, the head unit does not have to have a mechanism. It can have a hard disk drive, so I can compete there."
Song said he may offer in-dash navigation for between $700 and $1,500 and portable navigation at $499. The portable unit with a 4.3-inch screen would also double as a rear-vision backup camera that would be triggered automatically when the vehicle was placed in reverse.
Currently Crossfire amplifiers range in price from $199 to $2,499. Speakers range from $69 to $169 and subwoofers from $89 to $699.