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Audiovox Pushes Back XM Passport Ship Date

Audiovox pushed back shipments of XM Passport tuner modules to August from the May-June period to clear out inventories of current XM Connect-And-Play tuner/antenna combinations, the company said.

Audiovox is the sole nationwide supplier of XM Connect-and-Play combos and Passport tuners.

The Passport module, a 9-volt-battery-size tuner, and separate antenna/docking-station bundles for the home and car, are ready to ship now, said senior VP Tom Malone, but shipments won’t start until August when current Connect-and-Play combos should sell out. The delay isn’t the result of sales that didn’t meet expectations but of parts-supply commitments and retailer timetables, he said.

Nonetheless, Malone agreed that satellite radio sell-through, though continuing to grow this year, is rising at a slower pace because the market has captured most early adopters and because satellite radio broadcasters have been less promotional in early 2006 compared to the year-ago period.

Passport tuners are designed to slide into slots on XM-ready home, portable and car audio products or into small docking stations that connect to XM-ready devices and to a separate antenna that can be located away from the devices in a strong-signal area of the house, car or outdoors. Passport tuners retail for a suggested $29.99. The companion antenna/docking station bundles also retail for a suggested $29.99.

Audiovox also announced delays in shipments of Audiovox-brand home and portable audio products with slots that accept Passport modules. Audiovox delayed development of these devices, Malone explained, because XM was considering a reduction in the size of the Passport modules, which didn’t occur.

As a result, Audiovox’s original designs will come to market, but a few months later than previously announced. Three high-end table radios, one with CD player and one with CD/DVD player, were slated for late May/early June shipment but will now ship in August. A micro-system was pushed back to September or October from June or July. Three mini-systems and a boombox are likely due in October or November. And three under-cabinet LCD TVs were pushed back to September or October from July or August.

Audiovox also plans a portable DVD player with Passport slot for September delivery and a Jensen-brand handheld navigation system in September with Passport slot, XM traffic-data reception, audio/video playback, and roughly 2.5-three hours of satellite-reception time on its rechargeable battery.

In August, the company plans to ship a half-DIN flat-panel controller with Pass slot to connect to XM-ready head units.

Separately, in car stereo, Audiovox’s Jensen brand announced one of the first in-dash CD players to offer SecureDigital (SD), USB, iPod control and charging, and XM capability, bundled with an iPod charger for under $200. (For more on Audiovox visit — Additional reporting by Amy Gilroy