Cobra Readies Low-Cost Radar Detectors

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Chicago - In light of the recession, Cobra said it will develop a new line of radar detectors â€” one of Cobra's core product segments â€” that will hit lower price points, in response to consumer cutbacks in spending.

In addition, the company will introduce new CB radios starting this October and will enter the portable jumper cable market.

Cobra sales and marketing VP Tony Mirabelli said during a conference call Friday with analysts that the low-cost radar-detector line will be based on a new platform that will afford Cobra significant margins, despite the reduced prices to end users. The product might be introduced later this year and follows weak sales in radar detectors for Cobra during the second quarter, ended June 30.

The company is also planning to release a limited edition Army Strong-themed CB radio for sale in October, and it will ship a new CB with both Bluetooth hands-free calling and weather alerts.

Mirabelli said jumper cables are a natural fit for Cobra as many of its products are sold through automotive stores.  But he said non-automotive retailers are also interested in the cables as they are looking to expand their product base. The cables are co-developed with a key Cobra vendor in the Far East.

Cobra chairman and CEO Jim Bazet said the fourth quarter "is likely to be a very promotional period."

Cobra, which is in more than 50,000 storefronts, said some retailers are facing slow store traffic and are trimming inventory to the point of being out of stock.

But Bazel also pointed to signs of recovery. Speaking of product shipping containers, he said, "There used to be a six-month wait for containers and then that went down to no wait. Now we're starting to see a two-week wait, which is a good sign." 

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