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Is Car Audio Dead?


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mennitti 
Copper - Posts: 55
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Joined: June 26, 2006
Location: United States
Posted: November 02, 2008 at 1:28 PM / IP Logged  

After the disappointment of the only car audio mag still standing has folded (Car Audio & Electronics), and there is VERY rarely anything worth reading in Mobile Electronics Retailer Mag, is car audio dead?  I had hoped it was just the economy, but kids seem to have no interest in stereo around my area (It looks like my boss made a smart move retiring two years ago), and even adults are less interested in remote starters (maybe gas prices, maybe just stock features on new cars for people who would have purchased one). 

I have noticed that fewer people have been posting here, and the Car Sound and Performance forums are all but dead.  Where have all the professionals gone, is it a new site, or have they disapeared all together?

lnhiv 
Copper - Posts: 54
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Joined: August 02, 2008
Location: Arizona, United States
Posted: November 02, 2008 at 4:13 PM / IP Logged  
It's been going down for at least three-four years now (that I've personally witnessed)...the biggest thing is like he said: the economy has been going down for a while, and now it's damn near the bottom.
The US is at a critical point in world history, where it will either flounder and lose its status as the primary world leader, or it will rise stronger than it was before; with this comes great uncertainty across all party lines and a depressed economy...no one knows where we will stand at the end of the next president's term, and everyone is holding back until that future becomes a little more clear.
That's the majority of the mainstream market's major influence at this point. But car audio will never disappear, it will always be there for the true audio enthusiast. I personally feel that car audio will see a upward trend again in the next two years, but that's just me. I know I'll never stop being into the audio scene, even if it means I have to order speakers and amps from the UK, it will always be a part of my life.
2003 Chevy Cavalier coupe
megaman 
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Joined: June 24, 2008
Location: Montana, United States
Posted: November 02, 2008 at 7:47 PM / IP Logged  

Car audio is drowning.  Here's why:  Car manufacturers.  When CD's took off in the early 90's, the car manufacturers still put cassette players in the cars.   You can still find 04-05 cars with cassette players.  So, most people who had made the switch to CD's had to install new radios.  So it was easier for the sales people to talk customers into new speakers, amps, subs, etc. when a customer came in for a new radio.  Now, almost every car has a CD player, so most people are not coming into the stores in the first place.  No traffic, no sales.  Now with vehicles offering auxillary inputs for customers' iPods and MP3 players, they again, take the excuse for stopping into the store out of the equation.

All in all, it's the car manufacturers actually listening to the industry and offering all the hop-ups to the customer before they leave the car lot.  Auto start, iPod hook-up, overhead mobile video, navigation, etc. etc.  are all offered.  Yes, they are far more expensive and in most cases inferior to aftermarket equipment, but when a customer buys thier car and to add those luxuries to the car, all the have to do is increase thier monthly payment a few bucks a month it makes sense.  No money out of pocket, convenience up front and viola' goodbye car audio industry.  Also the fact that the new cars are designed so that radio replacement is impossible doesn't help.

The car audio industry will quickly decline into the specialist world.  It will become a place where only the dedicated will frequent and actually purchase things on a regular basis.    Oh yeah, that's why I'm no longer in the industry. lol.

audiocableguy 
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Joined: January 27, 2003
Location: Idaho, United States
Posted: November 03, 2008 at 9:44 AM / IP Logged  
I'm with Mega on this. The decline started ten years back. Vehicle Surround Sound and LED technology helped to spark things up for a while. The auto makers caught up with technology. In the next year we'll see who's left.
In the future, a huge drop off in brand choices. You will still see Alpine, Eclipse, Pioneer but fewer models. Some tweek stuff will survive but at huge $$$. Already the high end HU's have faded.
As we move toward the Hybrid, Hydrogen, Electric
Vehicles, I don't see provisions for huge aftermarket accesories in cars. Trucks should have more options for winches, worklights, etc.
Is the Car Audio Market sinking. Yes. Is it going to die, not entirely. Politics aside, this was a foreseeable future.
DYohn 
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Joined: April 22, 2003
Location: Arizona, United States
Posted: November 03, 2008 at 11:48 AM / IP Logged  

While I say car audio is FAR from dead, the increasing use of OEM auto nav/sound/voice command type systems that are integrated into the vehicle electronics is likely to continue eroding the market for better head units.  The aftermarket speaker, amp and subwoofer segments are likely to remain strong however.  I predict more integration devices like JL's Clean Sweep in the near future, as well as more voice-recognition and cell-phone integration units, and more drop-in factory replacment speaker systems

Oh, and please keep partisan politics of any flavor out of this forum, thanks.

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ckeeler 
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Posted: November 03, 2008 at 12:19 PM / IP Logged  
saw this coming years ago. i remember the first time i ever saw an LCD monitor in a car, it was years ago at a car show and someone had placed them into kick panels. they had horrible video quality but it was the coolest thing ever. pretty soon installers were installing LCD monitors in all kinds of cool and imaginative places in vehicles left and right, and so, of course the aftermarket manufactures kept up with the demand and built better monitors as well as way more sizes of them and more options for equipment like flip down roof mount systems and of course every little bell and whistle and installation product needed to do any job. back then life was good. soon, car makers started to catch on and realize that people want this stuff. they could offer systems in mini vans and suv's for all the soccer moms whose money they were missing out on before. newer cars come with sound systems that sound pretty darn good for factory anymore and most people are more than satisfied with them. and megaman is right, people look for these kind of options and bells and whistles when purchasing a new vehicle rather than deciding to add them on later. why? because there are so many vehicles on the market now that already have all this stuff, so why add on later when you can have now? thats the mentality and its not going to ever swing back the other way. it will continue on the path its on now and even more so as time goes by. car audio will never be gone completely, but, it will never be like it once was i dont think.
daburrrninator 
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Posted: November 03, 2008 at 4:40 PM / IP Logged  
The automakers arent making it easy to install aftermarket HUs, but theyre not providing people like me a good enough audio system either. I was looking at buying a new Civic and come to find out their AC control runs through the stereo, now I cant ever take the stock stereo out. I have to pay an extra $120 to have somebody install a new HU and hide the old one somewhere somehow. So I bought a Yaris that doesnt have a problem like that, except that the entire stereo is part of the dash trim. In order to replace it I had to get a replacement part of the dash that costs $77, plus the install kit you need anyway. GM has the door chime linked through the stereo, and their onstar service too. Its like they dont want people making changes like that to their car. It costs more money now than it did before just for a simple HU upgrade. The stock systems are getting better and they are good enough for the majority of the population, but I like the extra options, I like to be able to control more than Bass and Treble and the stock systems just dont give me that. I dont think its going to die, but we're going to have to jump through lots of hoops in order to get the aftermarket features we want.
jayson33 
Copper - Posts: 165
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Location: Indiana, United States
Posted: November 04, 2008 at 2:13 AM / IP Logged  

Auto makers have finaly see the money they have been losing to aftermarket companys So now you can

buy the upgrades at the dealer ship like premuim sound systems with subwoofers. Some auto makers

also have deals with audio manfactures and offer speakers from e.g. Infinity you can get Alpine from BMW

installed at dealer ship American auto makers have took alot of hits. Low sales so there offering more choices to customers

But Its not that car audio is die'in off Its just going to take time for the economy to stablize

I worked for a little Steel mill called Kobelco its owned by Kobe Steel LTD It got sold out and closed doors

We made steel for the big 3 (GM,FORD,DYMLAR/Crystlar) Its just the economy no company is safe.

My wife thinks bagging a truck means you kick it in the truck nuts
mennitti 
Copper - Posts: 55
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Posted: November 04, 2008 at 9:52 AM / IP Logged  

So where are all the professionals, who work in the industry, and do custom work, hang out now?  It doesn't look like it is here, or Car Sound and Performance forums anymore.

ckeeler 
Gold - Posts: 1,461
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Posted: November 04, 2008 at 10:09 AM / IP Logged  
mennitti wrote:

So where are all the professionals, who work in the industry, and do custom work, hang out now?  It doesn't look like it is here, or Car Sound and Performance forums anymore.

there are lots of people on here who install for a living. the ones you speak of though, are a dying breed. there are still some here too and you can tell it from their posts, but, you can also tell that they have since moved on to other jobs and things and use their knowledge and experience in other fields. you see mennitti, as some guys get older, grow up, get married maybe, have kids maybe, dog, buy an actual house maybe, they just dont stay under dashes anymore for a living. they move to bigger better things. installing is cool when your right out of highschool, and even for lots of years to come, but how many guys are gonna do it until retirement?? nuff said. there still out there and here too, but none of them work at best buy, circuit city, frys, or even the little shops anymore........anyway, you get my point.

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