The Future of the Car Audio Aftermarket
I was surprised after reading a recent article, “RIP CD-Based Car Radios by 2016“, written by Amy Gilroy in CE Outlook, about the demise of CD players in new cars after 2015 or 2016. It was not the premise of the article itself that surprised me, but rather a quote from Andy Parsons of my former company Pioneer Electronics.
Parsons noted that there are more than 200 billion CDs currently in use and that number doesn’t include DVDs. “We think that the huge installed base of disc-based packaged media will need aftermarket support for the foreseeable future, probably well beyond 2015. Successful [older] formats can persist for a surprisingly long time — you can still find a couple of in-dash cassette players in our lineup, for example,” he explained in the piece.
I know Andy very well and he is a fair fellow, well-spoken, most likable but so totally wrong on this issue. Andy knows very little of the 12-volt business and only recently was put in charge as spokesperson of all things Pioneer in the U.S. His background is not in car audio.
There may indeed be a big number of CDs in consumers’ hands today, as he states, but there was a lot of vinyl out there at one time as well. There may also be a high number of closets in this country with bell-bottom trousers hanging inside of them. How many VHS camcorders are in people’s homes today? The issue here is that Andy’s comment speaks to a deeper revelation as to why his company continues fighting (in an uncharacteristic manner, I might add) to recapture lost market share.
By virtue of his statement, one can only surmise that no one at Pioneer is looking outside the “heavy metal” manufacturing production model of a traditional car stereo manufacturer. Someone needs to think about what’s going to eventually replace the traditional hardware that currently occupies the hole in a vehicle’s dash.