Reading The Mobile Road Map
Witt: With the changing vehicle population on the road, it’s clear that more vehicles today have integrated systems in them that are challenging to take out, or, in some cases, cannot be removed. This changes the overall landscape. As you project out five to 10 years, in about 2012, based on what we know of OEM, the aftermarket will be in a position where there could be up to 30-to-40 percent of vehicles out there where the OEM equipment can’t be removed because of integration factors. Even though right now, it’s about 4 percent, it’s the single biggest talked-about topic. The good news is that there are several companies who’ve begun to recognize this. Our aftermarket road map includes a very aggressive plan to build out OEM integration products. OEM systems require a minimum of two and typically three years of development before they hit the car dealer’s lot. Then, those car companies, with their business plans, will typically build on that vehicle platform for a minimum of three and a maximum of five years. The aftermarket world is now changing within a period of less than 12 months. So the reality is, the OEMs can’t keep up with the changes—particularly the digital ecosystem kinds of changes going on in the CE market. We’re in our second generation of V-Hub, which allows our retailers to add on sources that the car company didn’t provide for. One other focus is on sound systems. While there is some significant cosmetic and electrical integration in these new cars, the car companies don’t focus on great sound systems other than premium vehicle platforms. It’s a huge opportunity to talk to customers and tell them, you can keep your nicely integrated in-dash head unit or your screen in the dashboard with steering wheel controls, but now, you can actually upgrade the sound system. That’s [the case] with this new product we’re delivering next month, which is called a System Integration Processor. It allows retailers to go into those cars and begin to upgrade the sound systems—adding amplification, upgrade speakers or subs.