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Kenwood Debuts Low Cost Car CD Unit

Kenwood USA announced two low-end car CD receivers including a model that offers compatibility with Bluetooth, HD Radio and Satellite radio, when used with optional adapters, for $120.

Last year Kenwood’s lowest price for Bluetooth capability was $180.

Kenwood’s two new head units, scheduled to debut at the Specialty Equipment Manufacturer’s Association show later this month in Las Vegas, include a leader model with iPod/MP3 player capability at a highly competitive suggested retail price of $80, competing head on with Sony, who just began shipping a similar model at the same price and JVC, which will ship in December a similar model with remote control at $109. The key capability from all three vendors is a front panel auxiliary input that is considered the “poor man’s” version of iPod capability because it allows an iPod/MP3 player connection but does not allow the car radio to control the iPod, or display song titles or charge the iPod, as in the more expensive models.

Sony was among the first suppliers to offer front panel auxiliary inputs last year on a $99 CD receiver in a “GT series” that met with high market demand.

Other suppliers are expected to respond with the “poor man’s” iPod connection this year. Noted Jensen VP mobile electronics Ray Leek, “Sony had such success, I think everyone will go with aux input.”

The new Kenwood KDC-135 also offers a removable face plate. It will be joined by the step-up KDC-MP235 that also offers front panel auxiliary input. When used with optional adapters, it further allows Bluetooth, HD Radio, XM and Sirius Satellite Radio capability, iPod radio control as well as MP3, WMA and AAC playback.

Both the KDC-135 and the KDC-MP235 will ship in December. Additional features for both models include 50×4 watt power, switchable 2-volt pre-out connector, low pass filter and eq settings.