SANTA CLARITA, CALIF. —
Encore Automotive Systems officially entered the remote start and car security category last week.
The manufacturer, which said it would have products available to ship at launch, is comprised of two reported industry veterans. John Fernandez, executive VP of Encore, spoke with TWICE just prior to launch. He declined to mention the name of the other founder, whom he referred to as his business partner.
What made you decide to enter this category? Can you give a brief history of how Encore came to be?
The Encore brand is new to the category, but I’m not new to the industry. I started in the industry back in 1995. I was working with Kenwood in their land mobile communication department. I worked with them for two and a half years, and then from there I ventured over to a company called Magnadyne. From there I accepted a regional position at Harada.
Everyone has a dream of owning their own company. My business partner and I wanted to do something out on our own, and that’s basically how we put it together.
How large is your executive team?
My title is executive VP. My partner would be CEO.
How does the company plan to differentiate itself from the competition?
I think the main thing in regards to remote car starters, especially, because that’s the big business right now, is range in regards to technology. We’re implementing a technology called ASK. ASK is called Amplitude Shift King. It’s basically a type of transmission that’s less susceptible to noise and has the ability to carry more data than more traditional methods of transmission. I think the other nice thing about our transmitters is their real antennas on top of the remote. The competition, for the most part, just use small tracers on the circuit board as their antennas. So the range we’re getting from ASK is 30 to 60 percent more.
What type of retailers does Encore plan to sell through?
I’d say 90 percent is brick and mortar. We’ll have our independent specialty and distributor channels. I can share a couple — T&W Sales and Dragon Distributing out of the Midwest. Basically it will be a territory-restricted line. These two distributors have a four-state territory.
Can you describe Encore’s advertising plans?
We have a gentlemen that’s been doing that for us. He did the one press release that we’ve put out, and he’s probably going to do other press releases around CES.
You will be at CES?
Absolutely we’ll be at CES. I’m going to attend SEMA but I don’t see us exhibiting there.
How many SKUs do you have?
Currently what’s launching this week is five SKUs. WE have an entry-level security system, the E3. We have a two-way security, that’s the E4. We have a oneway remote car starter, and remote start two-way. The E7 has 4 channels. The E9 is our flagship unit.
What kind of audience do you plan to reach
– the custom installer or the DIY-er?
These are definitely all custom installation. I don’t suggest anybody not have this professionally installed.
Are there plans for more SKUs in the future or will you wait to see how your current assortment fares?
We have plans for three more SKUs. The E1 is going to be a two-button one-way remote start so that would be a unit that’s very entry level. The E2 will be a full-featured remote start one-way with long range with lock/unlock trunk option and start. These are the type of units that fly off the shelf during the remote start season, so we will definitely be prepared for that. The E2 will be introduced at the end of September. The E1 will be one month later. The EXP will be a real entry-level car security. We’re working on it, but I don’t have a time frame for it.