Stopping the Race to Zero has to Start Here
I recently had to dig some stuff out of my basement where I keep my car audio literature library. I bumped into a cabinet and out dropped randomly the 1998 Pioneer Car Audio Systems Catalog.
Back then, it was just car audio. I had taken notes in it and the entry-level CD player, DEH-245, carried an SRP of $189. It came complete with 35W x 4, 1 set of RCA preouts, and Supertuner III! Remember those days? Now we have entry-level units that are dropping below the $100 price point with ten times the feature set. Back then gas cost $1.06 a gallon. Now gas is four times the price, and everything else in America went up. Are we in this race to keeping making less money until we shut our doors? NO WAY! There is one glimmering hope that will save us - cars have gotten more sophisticated. Any Databus architecture in 1998? Nope. The odd size was Din-and-a-Half in GM/Chrysler. Now you can walk into a car dealership and find a head unit the shape of a trapezoid with a dash that has more curves than Bar Rafaeli with a display mounted in the instrument cluster. Normal consumers and shadetree mechanics are not going to be able to work on these vehicles unless they want to get a subscription to Alldata and take an electronics course at the community college. So we enter a time where we can finally and justifiably charge for our labor. But we are entitled to make a few dollars on great product as well. There is a lot of great product great manufacturers are creating to combat the ugly race to zero. So, Mr. Customer, you are comin' in with a big ole' cardboard box full of grey market and eBay equipment? No problem - we'll hook it up for you after testing it on the bench. Damn straight that is what it is gonna cost to hook it up! Wanna trust your fancy euroride with digital multiplexed signals to the dude who installs in the back of the flea market next to the sweatshirt lady? Well then, as Jesse James would say, "Pay up, Sucker!" Buying cheap winds up being expensive. Please contact Stephen Krasowski at firstname.lastname@example.org or 215-238-5336 for any story ideas, new products or news submissions related to the 12-volt industry. l