Tempe, Ariz. -
will expand its selection of Panasonic-brand car audio head units with the August shipment of two new models.
The company shipped its first two Panasonic head units in March at $99 and $159. With the two new models due in August, the company will replace the current opening-price $99 model and add a third model, said Theresa Hephner, the company's newly appointed senior director of product development and marketing.
By the 2012 International CES next January, the Panasonic lineup will expand to no more than five SKUs priced up to $249, she said.
Early this year, Rockford re-launched the Panasonic brand in car audio in conjunction with distributor Pana-Pacific. Panasonic left the car audio aftermarket in early 2009. The launch was designed to provide a limited-distribution line of head units to independent specialists in need of protected lines with good margins, Hephner said. The line is designed "to keep independent retailers healthy," she said.
The Panasonic line's price points fit in with the price points of Renegade- and Lightning Audio-branded amps and speakers, she noted.
Rockford didn't release full details on the new head units, but the company's web site lists three new head units as "coming soon" along with a limited description of their specs and features. One of the new models is the CQ-CP137. Its listed features are similar to those of the current $99 CQ-RX1200, but the new model adds adjustable EQ and more power at 4x50 watts compared to 4x45 watts. In addition, the current CQ-RX1200 features a detachable face, which is not listed as a feature on the new CQ-CP137.
Features common to both models are WMA/MP3 CD playback, front-panel aux-in, detachable face, rear-channel preamp outputs, and remote.
A second head unit listed as coming soon is the CR-LX470U, whose features include detachable face, MP3/WMA playback, front-panel iPod/iPhone USB input that accepts iPod audio as digital PCM, aux input, built-in Bluetooth, Sirius/XM-ready connection, 5-volt preamp outputs, front and rear preamp outputs, , and 4x45-watt amp.
The third head unit listed as coming soon is the CQ-RX470U, whose listed features are the same as those of the CR-LX470U.
The company's other currently available head unit is the CQ-RX400U, whose features include iPod/iPhone USB that accepts iPod audio in digital PCM form, MP3/WMA CD playback, 4x50-watt amp, Sirius/XM input, front and rear preamp outputs, detachable face, and remote.