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GPS Prices Aggressive, But Expected

New York — Portable GPS street prices are dipping to $299 for the holidays from several brands with isolated super bargains spotted at $199 or below for products with older technology.

First-tier brands have seen anywhere from $50 to $100 price drops over the holidays with Garmin reducing the high-end nuvi’s suggested retail prices by $100 and TomTom offering a $100 rebate on all models, bringing its entry list price to $399 for a TomTom One after rebate.

A TomTom spokesman said the rebate, launched on Dec. 4, “was put in place in response to the great momentum we saw in the GPS category.”

Lowrance is also offering a $50 rebate for a net of $299 on its new iWay 250.

Lowrance automotive sales manager Jim Luetjen said of holiday prices, “There’s no surprise at all from our standpoint.”

“The price aggressiveness has been expected but there has been more dumping of older product at low prices,” said Cobra director of navigation Dave Marsh.

Several industry members reported seeing prices at $199 below on portable GPS with older technology.

Street prices for Garmin’s two-year old StreetPilot c330 as of Dec. 7 were as low as $299.29 on the Wal-Mart Web site and $349 at CircuitCity and $399 at Best Buy, according to For more recent product, Garmin’s entry-level c530 was seen at $399 to $499 street prices.

One of the low-priced models on Black Friday was a Mio C310X at $229.99 in a CompUSA circular, advertised as offering a save of $120.

Crutchfield’s merchandise director for marine, GPS and accessories Tom Bancroft said, “I suspect some retailers were at or below cost for Black Friday. Some retailers are attempting to a get a loss leader. The benefit of getting someone in the door early is that you get a first crack at their credit card and maybe there are other items on their list. But that doesn’t work well with direct marketing — there’s less impulse buying.”

Bancroft added, “I think we’ll see lower retail prices coming out in January, roughly at the specials we’re seeing now,” which would put entry-level pricing in January at $299 suggested retail price for second- and third-tier brands and roughly $399 to $499 for the first tier.

It should be noted that high-end models, including the Garmin nuvi 660 at $899 suggested retail price, continue to rank among the top selling products for the category, according to Garmin. Jeff Kirshblum VP for Harmony Electronics, Brooklyn, N.Y., said he is finding that, “Although prices have dropped, the bulk of the sales are still in the higher end units, which I find interesting. What are selling are the more expensive units between $400 and $600.”

Several new companies entered the GPS market this month and last, including Axion and Intellinav.

Axion, the portable device maker, entered the GPS market in November with a $349 unit, called the Geo-632. It has a 3.5-inch color touch screen with preloaded maps, SD card slot, MP3 player and photo viewer and over 1 million points of interest.

Netropa, a software company providing GPS software to Dell, HP and others, said it is offering its first portable GPS called the Intellinav One. The unit announces upcoming street names and has preloaded maps of North America, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands on a 1GB SD card. It also has an MP3 player and photo viewer, lithium-ion battery and can be used by pedestrians. The unit shipped this month at a $499 street price and is currently offered at certain e-tailers, said Netropa, which stated it is in talks with other retailers.