Dealerscope Talks To: John Shalam
John Shalam, VOXX International Corp. chairman and a 2014 CEA Digital Patriot Award honoree, started his company in 1965 and built it into a domestic and international marketer of 30 brands of consumer electronics in the speaker, mobile electronics and multimedia, vehicle security and mobile video systems and accessories categories. NASDAQ-listed, VOXX had sales of $835 million in 2013. Here, he looks back – and ahead, at the future of consumer electronics.
Dealerscope: So much has changed in our industry in the 49 years since you started your company. Looking back, if you had to pinpoint some turning points for you over that time period, what were they – and how did they affect your business?
John Shalam: In the early ’70s, a major turning point was when we introduced an 8-track player that was different. They were very popular at the time but were always installed under the dash and always getting stolen. I came up with the idea of combining an 8-track player with an AM/FM stereo radio that could be installed inside the dashboard to replace the radio. Once you install a product inside the dashboard, it’s much more difficult to steal it. We introduced the first one, which I called the In-Dasher, and it sold like hotcakes. That was in 1973 or 1974. That really launched us as an autosound company.