adrienne434565 New Reader
9/13/17 4:35 a.m.

Resourceful retailers like Wal-Mart, K-mart and Pep Boys are employing a combination of creative pricing and penetrating advertising to reach the mass market, said Pedranti.


"The car sound market today is changing; the mass customer understands more about quality sound today then ever before." Pedranti credits CDs with single-handedly educating the consumer. How to Choose The Best Car Speakers: Useful Tips to Buy The Best Products


"I see a maturing curve coming down from high-end companies to high-volume suppliers like Sparkomatic. If we do all the service things right, and design products for mass merchants that have great sound, we will excell ... this is our challenge."


Pedranti believes his company is perfectly poised to take advantage of the growing light truck market as well as a healthy used car market.


"We are very excited about the next few years because of the advent of add-on accessories that are filtering down to our marketplace. Those products must be consumer friendly, easy-installation products.


Andrew Bergstein, Marketing director, Altec Lansing While Sparkomatic and its sister company Altec Lansing are in different marketing leagues, both companies are experiencing similar levels of market growth, according to Andrew Bergstein, marketing director of Altec and Sparkomatic.


Speaking about Altec, he described a litany of change in today's consumer. "We see a lot of change going on in the market; the proliferation of much more affordable CDs has created a consumer who is comfortable with adding-on to OE with CDs. He knows that CD software is much better and it shows glaring deficiencies in his car speakers.


"We are seeing the same issues today in car audio as we had been seeing in the home. We can expect that there will be more CD available to more consumers in every distribution channel. As Wal-Mart and K mart start to sell CD, things will change fast. Those people will obviously be in the market for add-on speakers.


Alpine, Pioneer and Blaupunkt have already drastically reduced prices."

Today's typical sale for Altec, said Bergstein are four speakers, a subwoofer and amps.

Even Altec's ambiographic controller is half the price from last year's. "There are a lot of people out there who are looking for better stuff at reasonable prices," summarized Bergstein. A Guide to the Simple Way Difference in Car Speakers: 2 way, 3 way, 4 way 


Al Kovac, Vice president of sales, Sherwood Sherwood's Al Kovac has watched the car audio business rise and fall for a lot of years, he admits.


Said Kovac, "The demographics haven't changed that much -- our biggest buyers are still kids.

"But the needs of the consumer have moved-up somewhat. We see on the retail floor level that the customer wants a prounounced sound -- a high-end tweeter for example. And now with the market heading toward CD, brand awareness is where its at!"


Kovac has added line in/out inputs to his lower-end line which retails for $139, "because even at the low end, amps and EQs are driving the market.


"We have tried to give more features at viable price points. The average person can spend $200-$400 on our products in a major retail outlet. That tells us we are exactly positioned for the mid range, which is where we want to be."


John T. Phillips, President, Profile Consumer Electronics On the high end of the market spectrum lies Profile Consumer Electronics which is developing high-tech products like CD and DSP to compete with the growing competiton from Detroit.


"We have to be a little smarter than the car makers to get the attention of people," begins Profile president J

ohn T. Phillips.


According to Phillips, "we're able to move faster than the car manufacturers and got a jump on the CD market." Profile will introduce its first CD this year, giving it substantial lead time over Detroit, said Phillips.


Another part of the aftermarket's superiority over OEM is that, "we can take a car and make its audio system better quite easily ... and whether we like it or not, that's a big part of our business."

Phillips is introducing a tri-mode amplifier at this market as well as advanced EQs, speakers and amps. DSP, which will have a three year lead over Detroit, according to Phillips, is one or two years away for Profile.


Marty Novick, Vice president of sales, Audiovox The autosound industry is on the verge of major change, according to Marty Novick of Audiovox, who is determined to capitalize on the changing category.


Novick prides his company on being able to hand-tailor programs for its diverse customer base. "We sell to both the automotive chains and electronic stores and are going full steam ahead with all channels of distribution.


Audiovox employs a good, better, best "and sometimes better yet" selling strategy. It has a different floor display for every SKU, which keys in on distinguishing its autosound equipment from other promotional lines, said the company vice president, who categorized his line as," high-scale in look and performance at a popular price point."


Explains Novick, "What we are attempting to do is to help our customer and to tailor-make the program to suit his particular problems or concerns. There are problems, for example, that a mass merchant encounters that a Circuit City may not.


David Black, Senior vice president of marketing, Alpine Since the mid-1980s when Alpine sold products to superstores that today are no longer in business, this high-end maverick sells mainly to car audio specialists, noted David Black.


"Until this point, there has literally been a proverbial stall on car CDs by the end user because they haven't felt the product was worthy of the hefty price point.


"Today, that is all changing," believes Black. Skipping problems, indemic to CDs in bad terrain, have been largely solved, contend many manufacturers, and CD has exploded, not just from an Alpine point of view, but industrywide. Said Black, "Those people are out there in mass, waiting to buy.

Other sales have become ancillary to the car CD. "This market is a good place to sell complimentary components like amplifiers and changers," adds Black.


Alpine recently surveyed its customers and found that the cassette was still their major car software while CD had taken over in the home. "Literally everyone was afraid of the pricepoint in car. But now that we're starting to see $500 pricepoints for CDs, that excuse is no longer as valid."

Matt Rounds, National sales manager, Yamaha Like Alpine, Yamaha focuses on specialty retailers to push its products, said national sales manager Matt Rounds.


"We don't intend to make any radical changes in the '90s," predicted Rounds, who sees both affordable CD and the emergence of DSP as being major issues industrywide for the '90s.

"In the driving force today, the peripheral, add-on products are very important. Dealers are also counting on security and cellular auto products to spark sales," said Rounds. Click here to read How to choose the best car speakers 


Like other industry insiders, Rounds sees a different retail scene emerging in the coming years. "We have seen a fall-out of the weak players. Today retail network seems to depend on strong specialists that are not so easily subjected to the quirky elements in the market-place."

BillBall New Reader
9/13/17 6:33 a.m.

Goodwood Festival of Speed, England

RoddyMac17 Reader
9/13/17 9:35 a.m.

Goodwood Revival, England

Joe Gearin
Joe Gearin Associate Publisher
9/13/17 3:28 p.m.

Monterey's "Car Week" is the most impressive collection of car events I've witnessed.  (Pebble Beach, Concorso Italiano, The Quail Gathering, Legends of the Autobahn, the Werks Reunion, McCall's Jet Party, historic races at Laguna Seca, etc. etc. etc.    

Nothing in North America rivals it......although I've heard both Goodwood events are amazing. 

GTXVette Dork
9/14/17 9:29 a.m.

Mille Miglia 40's/50's version, the Greatest drivers of all time.  the stuff My dreams were made of. 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
10/2/17 10:47 a.m.

Another one to put on the bucket list: 24 Hours of LeMans. 

LanEvo HalfDork
10/2/17 1:57 p.m.

As a participant or spectator?

I haven’t run any vintage races in Europe, but I hear the Spa Six Hours is amazing. 

As far as events I’ve personally run, the VARAC Canadian Vintage Grand Prix has been the most fun for me as a driver. Tons of track time at a legendary circuit (Mosport) without all the fussiness of most American events. 

Outlawghia New Reader
10/3/17 1:33 p.m.

Goodwood Festival of Speed 

I went last year and WOW is all I can say. Everything about the event is just amazing.

dougie Reader
10/4/17 11:09 p.m.

As a spectator Goodwood is my favorite, as a competitor I love the Rolex Monterey Historic Reunion. Each event offers a different a automotive advantage. Both are wonderful and should be enjoyed.



fornetti14 Dork
10/6/17 8:47 a.m.

In reply to LanEvo :

As a participant with an old pop-up headlight Spec Miata, I'm partial to the SVRA series (Sportscar Vintage Racing Assn -  $295 to enter, then Mazda gave us $250 back!  I just ran a weekend at VIR for $45 which included the Thursday test day, two qualifying sessions and two races.  The no-contact rule means I didn't receive any new dents or rubber marks!  

The bonus was the Trans-Am Series race on the same weekend.  Vintage car show, TA race, great Spec Miata racing all in one place for $45 and that included the dinner on Saturday night!  

I'm surprised no one has been talking about this on the GRM message board.  Here is the race recap from VIR:

wspohn Dork
10/7/17 12:28 p.m.

We happened by Monaco one day  week before the GP and dicvovered that the vintage races were that day so we attended.  Stuff there that you rarely see even at Monterey and we sat on the starting straight just before St. Devote so got to see them winding it up a bit.  Not to be missed!

Tim Suddard
Tim Suddard Publisher
10/12/17 6:13 a.m.

All good choices. I just got back from Put In Bay and while perhaps not Goodwood, was pretty fantastic, especially from a small-bore competitor's POV. The island is an amazing place to take your wife or girl friend to the races as well.

200mph New Reader
10/12/17 11:14 a.m.
Joe Gearin said:

Nothing in North America rivals Monterey car week......although I've heard both Goodwood events are amazing. 

Agreed !

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