TEMPE, ARIZ. –
Rockford has picked up North American distribution rights to the Blaupunkt brand of car audio/video and headphone products.
In the U.S, the company expects the headphones and car products to be available late in the third quarter or early in the fourth quarter.
Rockford will also team up with Blaupunkt to offer OEM equipment to automakers globally.
In the U.S. aftermarket, Rockford will sell the brand’s line through a “traditional distribution model” to reach a broad base of small retailers, said Theresa Hephner, Rockford’s product development and marketing senior director.
“Strategically, to some degree, it is a channel strategy,” Hephner said of the U.S. distribution plan. “Going through distributors gives retailers access to a high-quality, wellknown brand.”
Rockford will choose a limited number of distributors in the U.S., and the distributors will sell into retailers approved by Rockford, she said. For Rockford, the Blaupunkt brand will be the company’s first car audio line with a full range of components from heads to amps and speakers. The company’s other brands focus on products other than head units. The brands include Rockford Fosgate, Brax, Helix, Lightning Audio and Renegade.
For his part, Blaupunkt CEO/managing director Lars Placke said Rockford will help the company reestablish its North American aftermarket distribution while the OEM partnership will let the two companies synchronize sales teams and combine technology platforms, engineering capabilities, and production facilities so “we will be able to serve our OE customers even better.”
“By leveraging each party’s respective regional strengths, product portfolios, and support structures, the companies plan to offer global solutions on product areas such as radios, navigation, amplifiers, loudspeakers, rear-seat entertainment, and connectivity for both automotive and commercial vehicle platforms,” the companies added.
Rockford is taking over North American distribution from startup importer/distributor American Audio Video, based in Southaven, Miss. The company announced plans late last year to bring Blaupunkt back to the U.S. after an absence of about two years.
The absence followed the late 2008 sale of Blaupunkt by owner Bosch to equity firm Aurelius Group of Germany.
Aurelius concentrated initially on the OEM infotainment business after the purchase but later began rebuilding aftermarket distribution through national importers and marketers in various countries.
Blaupunkt started in the early 1920s with the launch of headphones. The company is based in Hildesheim, Germany, and has manufacturing facilities in Malaysia and China.