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Car Stereo Suppliers Raise Prices

New York — In a rare occurrence car audio, or consumer electronics for that matter, brands including Audiovox, Infinity, JBL, JL Audio, MTX and Rockford are raising prices, especially on car speakers, due to high spikes in the cost of metals, oil and transportation.

Most suppliers are attempting to pass the costs on directly to consumers while keeping retail margins steady, so many are raising the actual minimum advertised price (MAP) on select products.

Subwoofers are hardest hit, as they are laden with metal, and they are heavy and expensive to ship. Speakers also use oil-based material in their driver cones. Many of the companies raising prices at present are speaker and amplifier brands.

Infinity just announced increases on select speakers, effective Aug. 1.

Rockford increased prices on a speaker-by-speaker basis, which went into effect July 7, by $10 to $25 wholesale or up to $50 MAP. It raised prices on accessories by 2 percent to 10 percent.

JL Audio increased prices up to 5 percent or up to $100 on certain speakers, which went into effect June 15.  Marketing VP Manville Smith noted, “In a woofer, you have an aluminum basket, steel in the back and top plates, copper in the voice coil, plastics used in the cone, which are made of oil derivatives. Copper is up 45 percent, steel is up 60 percent, aluminum is up 12 percent this year alone and was climbing the year before that, and we all know how much oil has increased. And the price of oil directly affects the transportation.” 

MTX raised it Bassslammer and Coustic prices on July 1, while holding dealer margins steady, it said.

Several industry members said Audiovox raised prices 9 percent on amplifiers and 10 percent on subwoofers, but Audiovox did not return calls to TWICE.

Retailers said they are reluctant to pass on the increases, as business is already down, but they will be forced to do so eventually. Industry members also said that other suppliers are expected to raise prices when they introduce their 2009 lines.

Carl Mathews, Crutchfield mobile merchandise senior director, said, “We’re doing what we can to mitigate the impact of the increases. Consumers are used to their CE products going down in price over time, not up, The few times we’ve passed along price increases in the past, it has lead to dramatic, temporary sales declines. In some cases the sales recovery hasn’t taken place until the succeeding models came to market. With the price increases being so broad, there is a chance that this time will be different. We’ll see.”