Why Are Head Units So Rare Now?
If you have been in the market for a new head unit for your ride, chances are you have been for quite some time now. And chances are, you may stay in the market for a good bit of time to come.
COVID-19 has adversely affected many strongholds in the aftermarket 12v market. Analysts have stated that several factors have come into play to cause halted assembly lines, increased costs in raw materials & supply chain bottlenecks throughout 2020.
2020 has brought us shortages in just about every section of the car audio industry, the most common felt by consumers and retailers far and wide being pre-fabricated woofer enclosures and head units.
Many manufacturers began the year sitting on mountains of inventory just before the COVID-19 world wide outbreak, with many speculating we would see international supply and productions nightmares. Turns out it caused all that as well as shipping catastrophes due to many seaward vessels being reserved and pre-allocated for worldwide PPE and supply shipments.
Not expecting this pandemic to destroy the day to day business long term, many major U.S. corporations declined to squeeze in a few more shipping containers prior to the dreaded "LOCKDOWNS" caused by the pandemic, thereby leaving them with a pile of inventory that was slowly dwindling away due to tax season sales and the imminent arrival of some sort of stimulus package funded by taxpayers.
And then it happened! Stimulus checks and more caused the largest swell in 12v sales in the history of the industry, nearly sealing the fate of those manufacturers with anorexic inventories. Head units and woofer enclosures saw the hardest hits over time leading to many e-commerce and brick & mortar dealers being found price gouging any remaining stock. Not a good look in the middle of a national crisis.
With Black Friday and the big retail holiday season fastly approaching, many consumers found themselves settling for low demand expensive merchandise as a substitute, low priced "available" merchandise or literally nothing at all, making for a very hectic holiday scramble for retailers.
To make matters worse, the leading manufacturer of many proprietary and high-demand components used in the manufacturing of head units took a big hit when it burned to the ground in what was described as a "total and catastrophic loss" during the summer. This caused a major shift in how popularized head unit manufacturers would move forward throughout the remainder of the year and into 2021. See the 3 links below for a more detailed scope of the fire story.
Analysts say that there is an end in sight for manufacturers but it will be a minimum of six months before the AKM factory in Japan will be up and running at any capacity. Moving forward there will be a continued shortage in many head units, mainly those designed with Apple CarPlay & Android Auto technology which, nowadays, encompasses just about all the desirable ones.
Something to pay close attention to moving forward, this monumental hit to the 12v industry hurts not only the consumer at large, but retailers and distributors as well. Something also to remember next time you as a consumer decide to show out in online reviews of your trusted car audio establishments. We are all hurting in this together, but we will come out on top eventually.
For more news and updates to this story and many more, check back with us from time to time, and remember to check out our product listings at G2DAudio.com.
- Paul Galanos, President
G2 Dynamics, LLC