November '15

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114 The Shop November 2015 Technology & elecTronicS stands for in-car electronics or even in-car entertainment and is a huge market these days. It's been embraced by both modern and classic car lovers, as well as those who drive trucks and SUVs. And it doesn't stop there. Have you seen inside the cab of most any big rig lately? They, too, are stuffed with ICE that works hard. So, shops can find customers anywhere they turn. And that means ICE is pretty much like another acronym, AYCE; as in All You Can Eat. ICE today offers a virtual buffet of choices, which can equate to lots of busi- ness for you. It starts with audio and enter- tainment upgrades, and quickly branches out into infotainment, safety and luxury options as well. With a market so vast and con- stantly changing, where does one start? Just as importantly, where does one end? That's what we wanted to know, so we asked a pair of sources some of the tough ques- tions about ICE. We talked about selling, features, installations and how shops can get wired into this exciting market. What Do You Want? So, where does one start? Entertainment? Information? Both? "For us, information is selling much more rapidly. With the current day and age, connectivity is essential for everyone's daily experience," says Ben Bontrager, after- market sales manager for MITO Corp. "They require that information much more than entertainment." Not so fast, counters John Myers of KICKER global training. "I would have to say that entertain- ment has always been the driving force in mobile audio sales. Information is what the installers require to get the gear installed. People know they want better sound and don't always know how to get it. They go to a shop that has the training to work with today's more electronically advanced audio systems." have Some Fun OK, so we now know drivers want it all—no surprise, right? Then, let's start with entertainment. What are customers looking for? "One of the best features of KICKER products is the ease of integration with existing audio systems," Myers says, explaining how drivers can upgrade their current vehicle without drastically changing it. And sound is still the champ. "I would say still the most popular enter- tainment upgrades are head units/audio," says Bontrager. neeD to KnoW Flipping the coin, we asked about the most popular ICE features for information. Bontrager says it seems to be wide open, "Currently, any integration product is pop- ular. This can be navigation integration, rear camera integration or integration of the user's cellphone into the car." The other key, adds Myers, is interaction. "While KICKER doesn't make in-car head units, our training department keeps well-informed though constant interac- tion with KICKER dealers. They tell us the market demands that head-unit manufacturers supply consumers with a Consumers have a huge appetite for all kinds of in-car electronics. By John Carollo (Photo courtesy TONKA)

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