Governing Board Members to Focus on Next Steps, Timing for 12-Volt Awareness Initiative at CES

Back January 6, 2009

New consumer research reveals continuing interest in audio and navigation, but economic worries overshadow aftermarket product purchases right now

LAS VEGAS (January 6, 2009)…The governing board of the 12-Volt Awareness Initiative announced today the need to delve deeper into learning from recent consumer research commissioned by the body, and to take a careful look at next steps and timing for a marketing campaign to reignite the category. A meeting of the Initiative’s acting board – comprised of major 12-Volt manufacturers and key retailers – is scheduled for Wednesday evening, January 7 at the 2009 Consumer Electronics Show.

“We had planned on calling together 12-Volt Awareness Summit attendees and other key constituents at CES to unveil a strategy and plan of attack that would positively impact the 2009 selling season for our industry,” said Steve Witt, vice president of marketing for Alpine Electronics of America and acting board chair. “But discouraging findings from the consumer research we conducted in December along with recommendations from category brand expert, Jeff Manning, suggest a need for reassessing not only our value proposition to consumers, but particularly our timing, due to current economic conditions and all time low consumer confidence,” he continued.

The two-part qualitative research included 16 to 35-year-old males who owned cars more than five-years-old and who expressed either an interest in or experience with 12-Volt products. Cogent Research in Cambridge, Massachusetts conducted the study through a series of online discussion boards, designed first to surface issues and barriers to car stereo and GPS product purchase and then to test potential value propositions for their ability to change perceptions and behavior. Jeff Manning, strategic architect of the Got Milk? Campaign and consultant for many other mature categories through his company Got Manning?, developed the value propositions. The four tested were grounded in learning from the first research phase, specifically the ability of 12-Volt products to deliver a “cool ride,” a “new car experience,” a “sound investment” or to provide an alternative to current “good enough” car products.

According to Manning, “It is impossible to overstate the negative impact of economic contraction on the 12-Volt category. While the research reveals a high level of interest in car stereo and GPS products, consumers perceive them as luxuries and express reluctance to spend on this or any other luxury category given today’s economy and their personal finances,” he said. “Clearly, there is a real need to build on an openness to check out the options that we uncovered in the research and increase purchase consideration with the target customer as part of this awareness-focused initiative.”

How to leverage the research learning will be a key topic at Wednesday’s meeting. “We learned some important things,” said Larry Rougas, acting board vice chair and vice president of product planning and marketing for the Mobile Business Group of Pioneer Electronics USA. “In addition to strong perceived value in our traditional car stereo and GPS products, there is definitely an opportunity to build on promising interest for in-dash systems with iPod, Bluetooth and other integrated capabilities. We’ve also identified a ‘sweet spot,’ consumers with cars too old to have quality OEM equipment, but not so ‘trashed’ to be unworthy of an upgrade.”

Both Rougas and Witt underscored the governing board’s strong commitment to the Initiative, to open communication and to the promotion and growth of the 12-Volt Industry. “The 12-Volt Awareness Initiative has gained unprecedented industry support, bringing manufacturers, retailers and associations together in 12-Volt’s first cooperative effort,” noted Witt. “The acting board continues to hold monthly meetings, and extends the opportunity to our colleagues to join the discussion. Watch for additional information on, coming soon.”

The governing board for the 12-Volt Awareness Initiative funded the approximate $100,000 for phase one research, consultant and miscellaneous costs. Voting members include:

  • Steve Baldacci, iBiquity
  • Rob Cummins, Best Buy
  • Mike Kahn, Sony
  • Keith Lehman, Kenwood
  • Carl Mathews, Crutchfield
  • Larry Rougas, Pioneer
  • Adam Thomas, Clarion
  • Barry Vogel, MERA
  • Steve Witt, Alpine

Jason Oxman and Ellen Savage from the CEA have also provided strategic counsel and support, as have leaders from The Acumen Group, who developed and managed the 12-Volt Awareness Summit, held in Dallas last July.

Notice: Product information is based upon current information at the time of writing, but cannot be guaranteed. All designs, features, specifications and delivery dates are subject to change without notice.

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