Chris Dragon

Editor in chief of Dealerscope

Without a doubt, there are more options for the consumer than ever when it comes to mobile electronics. As an industry, we have watched vehicle navigation systems start off as cumbersome devices lacking GPS signals that would infuriate the driver to little touch-screen magical “Honey, I am not pulling over for directions” miracles. Satellite radio units have shrunk down from units that look like they came from your cable company to units that can quietly integrate with a classy interior. The latest generation of portable navigation units are getting close to matching the performance of the hardwired units. Some of your customers who are

Independent retailers come together to create a better dashboard democracy By Brett Solomon MERA's (Mobile Enhancement Retailers Association) annual KnowledgeFest, this year held March 12-16 in Louisville, Ky., was the beginning of a battle cry for independent retailers to form an alliance against automobile manufacturers who are making it more and more difficult to install aftermarket products in new vehicles. On Saturday, March 13, retailers, manufacturers, and everyone else in attendance was welcomed to the Town Meeting on OEM Integration. A panel discussion ensued led by OEM Integration stalwarts Rob Putnam of SoundGate, Ira Marlowe of BlitzSafe, Ron Freeman of Peripheral Electronics,

By Brett Solomon As vehicles get increasingly complicated, integrating aftermarket mobile electronics equipment into them becomes a tougher task even for the most veteran installation staff. Unlike houses that can accommodate any electronics or appliances (such as home theater or washer/dryers), new vehicles are rolling off of the assembly line with new technologies that are not always directly compatible with aftermarket mobile electronic products. Two topics that should be on the minds of your installation staff are vehicle data bus architecture and 42-volt electrical systems. Data bus architecture can be a challenge to installation staff because large amounts of information for multiple

The World's Most Famous Sound-Off By Brett Solomon DAYTONA BEACH, FLA.—It is hard to believe that sound-off stalwarts, manufacturers and a plethora of alcohol-enhanced teenagers descended upon Daytona Beach for the fifteenth year in a row. However, this year's Spring Break Nationals was arguably the best ever. First of all, according to the Daytona News Journal, this was the biggest student attendance of spring break in Daytona since 1989. That helped to set the atmosphere for strong attendance and enthusiasm for the Car Audio Expo in Daytona Beach's Ocean Center. Paul Papadeas, president of Spring Break Nationals ("The World's Most Famous Sound-Off and

By Jamie Latshaw ATLANTIC CITY, N.J.--Everything else about Fuse '98 happened with a bang. The music was there, the cars were there, there was a definite style. But, the customers? That's what manufacturers wanted and expected to see more of. "The crowds just aren't coming," Ray Windsor, Eclipse's vice president of sales and marketing, said during the show. Exhibitors met the last day of the show and voted to co-locate Fuse with a better event at a better location next year. Key to the vote is the distance proximity between Fuse and the second event. Lisa Fasold of the Consumer Electronics Manufacturers Association said she hopes there will

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