Blaupunkt Returning To U.S. Car Audio Aftermarket

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Southaven, Miss. - The Blaupunkt car audio brand will be actively marketed in the U.S. again, this time under the direction of startup importer/distributor American Audio Video.

The brand hasn't been marketed in the U.S. for about two years following Bosch's late-2008 sale of Blaupunkt to equity firm Aurelius Group of Germany, said Neil Willard, general manager of American.

Aurelius concentrated initially on the OEM infotainment business after the purchase but later began rebuilding aftermarket distribution through national importers and marketers in various countries, Willard said.

The Blaupunkt brand never completely disappeared in the U.S. because online retailers have been selling off their existing inventories, he noted.

In the U.S., American will import and market new Blaupunkt products to independent specialists through independent reps, most of which have already been hired. The company will meet with prospective dealers during International CES at a suite at the Venetian.

The brand will be positioned as a value-added brand with high performance, German engineering, an over-the-counter exchange program for products that have to be returned, and a two-year warranty on products installed by authorized dealers, Willard said.

The initial lineup consists of four single-DIN head units at a suggested $99 to $249, an in-dash navigation system at $1,199, about 30 speaker SKUs ranging in price from $69/pair to $199/pair, and six amps from $129 to $699. Some are bridgeable two-channel models, and some are four-channel models bridgeable to three and two channels and to mono.

The company is also launching visor-mounted Bluetooth hands-free speaker systems and headphones, which were the first products made by Blaupunkt in 1923 before it was known as Blaupunkt.

American's parent company is Southaven-based American Music and Sound, which manufactures and distributes pro audio equipment and musical instruments.

American Music and Sound is owned by the principals who own Montreal-based Jam Industries, which makes and markets the Bass Worx and Ultimate Audio car audio brands.

Blaupunkt's national sales manager is David Prall, who will be Atlanta-based and was employed by Blaupunkt for 16 years before it was sold off. He was a regional manager.

Dealers interested in selling Blaupunkt can reach Willard at 514-457-4847.


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