Friday, April 24, 2009

What's hot in automotive electronics?

What's hot these days in the world of automotive electronics? To find out, we asked a few questions of Jevon Kinloch, an expert with Best Buy. Check out what he had to say.

Q: What are some of the hottest car-accessory items on the market today?

A: Currently, GPSs, car-deck products such as radios/CD players, and alarm systems.

For car decks, there's the Pioneer 50W x 4 MOSFET Apple iPod.

If you like satellite radio/HD radio, the Ready CD Deck lets you enjoy music from your Mp3/Ipod with the use of a USB cable.

Plus enjoy hands free cell phone use while driving with built in Bluetooth technology. Check it out at

The Garmin 255w 8956338 is perfect for local or vacation travel. Never get lost with this widescreen gps. One GPS works in two cars with two of each accessory included.

Q: Have consumers cut back on their spending on car accessories because of the recession, or have they just opted to buy less expensive items?

A: Car accessories are still a hot purchase item, it's just that customers are especially paying attention to the value the accessories add. No matter the price, customers want their purchase to add value to lives of family and friends who travel in the vehicle. I think people are so busy that they don't get to travel as much for fun, so when they do, they want to enjoy the ride, which is where car accessories come in. For that reason, I'm seeing a lot of families coming in to buy the Garmin 255 Nuvi.

There are 3.5" and 4.3" screen versions, and the 4.3" is selling out continually.

Q: Who is the typical consumer? Usually when you think of buyers of car accessories, you think of young guys, maybe age 16-24. But is there a large market outside that demographic?

A: You would mainly think that it's the Gen Y guys who are coming in to the store to upgrade their vehicles, however, car accessories have grown beyond stereo systems, so all different age groups are coming by to check out how they can make their car more high tech.

For example, I'm seeing a lot of families stopping by to purchase security systems and empty nesters buying GPSs. Also, nowadays, the people who are coming in to buy new radios are folks who are looking to have a system that can integrate all their tech (e.g. cell phone, iPod) more so than improve their stereo sound quality. This encompasses all age groups.

Q: What kinds of services does Best Buy offer for folks who want to buy accessories, but don't know a whole lot about the products or how to install them?

However, it's always fun to help a customer out in person and understand what he/she is really looking for. Then, a BlueShirt like me can figure out what products and services are needed to accomplish the customer's goals.

Q: Have shows like "Pimp My Ride" helped the popularity of accessorizing cars?

A: Definitely. Car shows have made everyone aware of the fact that they can add entertainment-features to their vehicles. From stereos to video game systems, any car can go from a simple mode of transportation to an entertainment super center on four wheels. These shows help expand people's imaginations.

Q: Do you have any cool accessories on your car? What do you have?

A: I have a 2005 Dodge Magnum with nice subwoofers and an amplifier. Whether you're in to classical, jazz or other kinds of music, subwoofers really bring the music to life. I also have a Garmin GPS that has a 7-inch screen and can play CDs/DVDs in the deck.

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