LONG BEACH, CALIF. –
Kenwood claimed it will be
the first aftermarket autosound supplier to offer head
units that connect to a new OEM-integration module
that lowers the cost of integrating with factory Sync systems
in Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles and delivers
a cleaner install.
“We are able to achieve this seamless factory integration
in a more easily installed and affordable manner
than with other solutions available today,” said Kenwood
senior VP Keith Lehmann.
With the head units, aftermarket installers will be able
to replace factory head units in Sync-equipped vehicles
with a Kenwood multimedia/navigation system and retain
Sync’s voice control over such factory features as
outboard satellite-radio tuners, Bluetooth hands-free,
Bluetooth audio streaming, and connected media players
plugged into the factory’s USB connection.
The install will also retain control of OEM features via
the factory’s steering-wheel-mounted controls and enable
the Kenwood heads to display metadata from MP3
players connected to the factory USB port.
In addition, drivers will be able to use Sync’s voice
control to control the Kenwood head’s source switching,
and drivers will be able to control Kenwood headunit
functions from the factory steering-wheel controls.
Kenwood will launch five Sync-compatible multimedia/
navigation systems at January’s International
Those heads incorporate software to talk to an
optional iDatalink Maestro module made by Automotive
Data Solutions (ADS). The module is expected
to ship in March at a price that wasn’t announced.
The module plugs into the Kenwood heads’ SiriusXM
port, which normally connects to a universal SiriusXM
The ADS module will be less expensive than aftermarket Sync-integration kits that cost around
$250, require the installation of a separate
but included LCD display, and
require users to keep the head unit in
aux-input mode to get audio alerts of incoming
cellphone calls, Kenwood said.
Because of these kits’ drawbacks, said
Lehmann, many dealers avoided selling
them and just added amps and speakers
to the OEM sound systems in Syncequipped
Besides an ADS module, an installation
also requires a vehicle-specific T
One Maestro module works with multiple
vehicles, thanks to its ability to download
vehicle-specific firmware via the
web. The firmware allows the iDatalink
module to connect to a specific vehicle’s
data network and enable communication
between the Kenwood head unit and the
vehicle’s Sync module.
Automotive Data Solutions is a Montreal-
based company that specializes in
products that integrate aftermarket remote
starting systems and security systems
with OEM electronics in vehicles.
Kenwood will be first to market with
iDatalink compatibility in 2012, “giving
Kenwood dealers an advanced integration
solution that is currently not available
with any other aftermarket brand,”
Lehmann said. The development “will set
a new aftermarket integration standard in
the mobile electronics industry.”
Sync has been available since 2008 and
has appeared in millions of vehicles since.