Mobile Electronics Shift Gears
Tom Malone, president, Audiovox: There has been a general change in focus with big accounts moving a little away from 12-volt because of the business complexity. You take a Tweeter or a Circuit City out, and the opportunity for independents is as good as it has ever been. With the exiting by some and the de-emphasis by others, independents are in a good position. There has also been a thinning out of independents, and that benefits those who’ve hung in there and kept their stores current and detailed. We think the consumer will rediscover that community of dealers. They attract a different customer demographic: a more tech-aware customer in a higher age group. Once [products are explained to that group], they get it and you can present to them. And when dealers talk to them it isn’t about a 2,000-watt amp, it’s about connectivity. The amount of products out there is greater than ever, and it goes far toward a sale, just getting consumers to realize there are places they can feel comfortable.
Tony Mirabelli, vice president, marketing and sales, Cobra: I don’t know that there’s been much effect so far. Circuit City did installations and time will tell where that business will go, whether to the big boxes or the independents. The current market conditions cloud judgment about that.
Adam Thomas, vice president of marketing, Clarion Corp. of America: Our distribution is primarily through independents...we’re very focused on them.