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w w w. m o b il e e l e c t ro ni c sn e w s. e u


IN THIS ISSUE Training update Are you qualified? Tech help New Civic install guide Latest news Products and industry gossip

MEN EXPO PREVIEW Why you need to be there! March 5-6, 2013, Ricoh ArenA



Demo car

Handsfree update

Sound-off champ 206

All-new phone kits

Parrot launch New Android tech

Sony MirrorLink Latest double DIN reviewed




CONTENTS 11/12 MEN Expo preview


Industry news


Here’s what you need to know


he other night, watching TV, an advert came on featuring former English striker Gary Lineker, promoting the benefits of a well known crisp brand. Celebrity endorsements are nothing new, but it struck me how lacking they are in our own industry, and what it might be like if they existed. Of course, they do to an extent already, with Fusion promoted by former rugby star Jonah Lomu, or some of the American brands involving rock stars or extreme sportsmen. I’m thinking if it was a little more of an everyday occurence. Now, there is no way to actively compare the profits and marketing budgets of an independent retailer versus a big supermarket chain, for example, which is why such collaborations are rare. But even so, does that mean we can’t learn anything from them? For Mr Lineker and the previously-mentioned crisps, sales are said to have soared from 1.34 billion to 2.75 billion in the first seven years of their campaign. Then there is a famous coffee brand that reported sales increases of 35.5% in the UK, just by featuring George Clooney in its advertising. In the last case, it’s about simple brand association – Clooney is smooth, sophisticated, possibly strong smelling, and therefore the brand must be too. Fusion did the same with former New Zealand rugby player Jonah Lomu a few years back – he’s big and robust, which is what the company is saying about its speakers and amps. Lineker, meanwhile, turns from nice guy to nasty in order to get the crisps, making the product seem fun as well as desirable. Of course, getting a big name involved can backfire. Just look at what happened when a certain supermarket signed up troubled celebrity mag favourite Kerry Katona, who slurred her way through an episode of This Morning and then admitted drug use? Or the soft drink brand who paid big bucks to get Britney Spears, only to see her photographed drinking a rival product? The lessons to be taken here are about picking the right message, regardless of how it is conveyed – using a famous person or otherwise – or how much is paid, and making sure it doesn’t come back to bite you as you’re running with it. Celebrities may add a touch of glamour to proceedings, but as seen at the annual MEN Awards, I like to think we have our own characters who can do that. Enjoy the issue! Chris Anderson Managing Editor,

Big announcements, plus movers and shakers

Digital radio news

30 9

The latest developments from the world of digital radio

Meet the dealers


Parrot launch


We check in with the team at Dream ICE in Leicester

New products and go-kart action in Reading

peugeot 206 install 14 This EMMA-winning car takes soundstaging to new levels

Install courses




Handsfree kits


Do you place enough emphasis on training?

Andy Mills says give your customers something to shout about An in-depth look at the current market and products


Business focus


Adam Rayner sees what Sony’s new MirrorLink head unit has to offer Could you benefit from a little seasonal selling?

Install accessories 36 From sound deadening and wiring kits to digital radio amplifiers

car communications 42

The company reveals its secrets for big business gains

Product news


Installer guide


MEN directory


The latest aftermarket kit, from Bluetooth products to head units

Numbers and websites for manufacturers and suppliers



Contact all the team on: Tel: 01268 754897 Fax: 01268 754429 Charlotte Body PUBLISHER Tel: 01268 754897/07903 944666

Peter Johnson ART DIRECTOR Tel: 01268 754897

Chris Anderson MANAGING EDITOR Tel: 07553 564998 email:

Emma Bridges Production/Events Tel: 01268 754897

Loraine Winter SENIOR DESIGNER & CONCEPT DESIGN Tel: 01268 754897

Product review

Your complete guide to upgrading the new Honda Civic


Kevin Hogg PUBLICATION MANAGER Tel: 01268 754897/07538 332171



Contributors: Adam Rayner: Martyn Williams: Andy Mills (Millsy): Creative Media Ltd. 318c High Road, Benfleet, Essex SS7 5HB.

If Creative Media publish any supplied text or photographs by way of contribution to the magazine, you automatically and hereby grant Creative Media a perpetual, royalty-free, irrevocable, non-exclusive right and licence to use, reproduce modify, publish, translate, create derivative works from and distribute such text or photography into any from, medium or technology now known or hereafter developed. In addition, as between you and Creative Media, you assert and waive any and all moral rights in such text or photography. The views and opinions expressed by any contributors (including advertisers) to the magazine are not necessarily those of the magazine and should not be taken as such.

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ark the dates in your diary now – the next MEN Expo takes place from Tuesday, March 5-Wednesday, March 6 at the Ricoh Arena, Coventry. This is the 11th time that the UK’s largest in-car technology trade show will take place, where you can meet, greet, see the newest products and learn new ways to improve your business. Here’s why you need to be there:


The MEN Expo, sponsored by Kenwood, takes place in March – the biggest industry event of the year, you cannot afford to miss out!


It’s free! That’s right, to attend the show and take full advantage of everything on offer won’t cost you a penny – just request your free of charge Expo ticket online at Or call the ticket hotline on 01268 754897.

Fantastic after party In addition to the free entry, how about a night of free beer, food, a DJ and show girls as part of a Las-Vegas-themed after party? This will be taking place at one of the UK’s largest casinos, and we’ll be

Book you! r standthe show?

at Want to exhibit lling fast! se is e Spac ll To book yours, ca on Kevin Hogg 01268 754897

Conference programme Education and training are also a key aspect of every MEN Expo, with a conference programme allowing delegates to gather, enhance and develop their knowledge on essential industry topics – these are organised and presented by key players in the industry, and are free to attend during the Expo. To keep your business at the forefront and learn the best ways to promote, publicise and gain maximum exposure, we will be hosting sales and marketing workshops, permitting visitors the chance to improve their skills, learning from the best in the industry. Some of the topics to be addressed at the next show will include:

Digital radio update A switchover date is expected to be announced in 2013 – will that mean an increase in cars requiring digital radio installation? Here’s what you need to know. products, gather information right from the source, and compare with whoever is on the next stand. For the best market overview, can you really afford to miss out?

How to add to your business What are the best ways to supplement your current product range? How to maximise your profit and expand every sale.

Recharge your enthusiasm

providing free gaming – or if you’re wanting to gamble with real money, then take advantage of the many games tables on offer!

All-new products Want to know what will be hitting the market in the months following the Expo? Discover the hottest, most profitable products, from the latest car audio to parking sensors and phone kits. By the time the competition reads about these new items or sees them somewhere else, you may have already cornered the market.

The most exhibitors The MEN Expo is the biggest gathering of all the big names in the industry under one roof. It’s the only opportunity to sample new

Rediscover why you got into this industry in the first place. As well as companies and suppliers, you can meet up with colleagues and old friends, swapping numerous tips and insider information over a cold beer. It is sure to leave you enthused for when you head back to work.

Education and training are also a key aspect of every MEN Expo

HR issues Ways to create a more professional and determined sales force. Also, how should you go about training and developing staff?

Going mobile Need to take your workshop on the road? Will this help you assist more customers? What are the advantages and disadvantages?

FUTURE TECHNOLOGY What are the emerging trends and what should you be investing in? How to find out more and prepare your business.

The industry’s favourite Many companies who have attended previous shows have said it’s an essential tool to enhancing their business. In fact, some businesses attribute many of their success stories for the rest of the year to MEN Expo – forging essential relationships, meeting new suppliers and developing knowledge. 5



Road Angel acquires new brands RoadPilot and Pogo join the company portfolio Road Angel Group Ltd is set for expansion, acquiring both RoadPilot Ltd and also various assets and licences from Origin Technologies, including the Pogo brand. The company has already proved itself to be a reputable supplier of safety camera and blackspot warning systems, with this new combination of international data and licences providing customers with greater access to road safety information – in up to 35 countries, across multiple platforms.

Road Angel CEO Mark Thickbroom is understandably excited by the expansion. “The acquisition of RoadPilot and licences obtained from Origin Technologies perfectly complement our existing portfolio,” he says. “It will help us achieve our long term goal of becoming the provider of choice in relation to safety camera and blackspot information – both in the UK and abroad.” Road Angel 01327 855586,


Pioneer teams up with Four Distribution company Four has just agreed an exclusive deal with Pioneer to sell the car audio brand’s top end PRS and ODR products. With immediate effect, retailers looking to stock any of the items from the two Pioneer ranges will be able to do so through Four. PRS stands for Pioneer Reference Series, featuring the brand’s high-end CD-tuners, amplifiers and hand-crafted speakers. Similarly, ODR stands for Optical Digital Reference, again with products looking to make the purest and most dynamic sound possible in the car. Both PRS and ODR are often used in the Team Pioneer sound competition cars, taking honours around the world. Four is naturally very pleased with this new arrangement, and co-founder

Career website

New Autoleads catalogue


If you have company developments, news or thoughts to tell the trade, why not let us know? Email information and hi-res images (300dpi) to

Brian Parton said: “We have long been admirers of this quality range of products and are extremely proud to be able to offer them exclusively to our existing dealer network, as well as welcoming new dealers already loyal to the PRS and ODR ranges.” Four 0800 652 5125,


Available now is the new edition of the Autoleads Master Catalogue. For the first time since 2004, the Autoleads brand has its very own catalogue dedicated to the professional installation of audio and handsfree equipment. Showcasing over 3,000 products, across over 100 product


categories, and including 200 new product introductions, this mammoth 348-page catalogue is truly the definitive industry guide. Make this the essential addition to your counter or desktop by obtaining your hard copy, PDF download or new e-brochure now. Download or view at the Armour Auto website. Armour Auto 01420 487110,

A new website has been launched to assist students and young engineers looking to start a career in the automotive industry. The site, Your Future in Automotive (www., offers education advice and career guidance, plus an international database of universities with automotive-related courses. There is also a listings page where companies can offer their graduate and undergraduate jobs, and internships, free of charge. The site has been set up by FISITA, the International Federation of Automotive Engineering Societies, which represents 185,000 engineers in 37 countries, looking to share knowledge and push technological advancement.


Our new product news setion is on p46. But don’t just skip to the back, there’s lots more in-between!

It doesn’t make the toast But we’re working on that.

“In-car tech that does it all via your smartphone”

AppRadio won’t make your breakfast, but it does pretty much everything else. Using Advanced App Mode, this multi-touch in-car entertainment system simply connects to your smartphone so you can control your snaps, maps, music and more via a whole host of compatible apps.

Search ‘AppRadio’




Patented Paser Paser, the automotive accessory brand distributed in the UK by Celsus, has just achieved a significant milestone. The Italian company has obtained Patent No 1,877,282, entitled ‘Device interface for controlling electronic equipment for a vehicle’ from the European patent office. This is valid for England, France, Germany, Italy and Spain, and covers the entire range of steering wheel commands relating to the vehicle’s operation of handsfree kits. Mrs Larotonda, CEO of

Paser, said: “I would like to thank every Paser employee for their considerable contribution, and to express my sincere thanks to all our customers. Their continued support has enabled us to reach this very important milestone.” Celsus 01202 664390, sales@celsusice.

Brendan joins Parksafe


AVS distributes Gemini As of August this year, Aftermarket Vehicle Solutions (AVS) has been appointed the new UK distributor of Gemini products. AVS is now stocking the complete range from the Italian brand, including cruise control, vehicle and motorcycle security, tracking, speed limiters, heated seats and reversing sensors. Highlights include the AP900 cruise control

system, where benefits to the customer range from reduced fuel consumption and exhaust gas emissions, to the avoidance of speeding fines and a more relaxed, comfortable driving style. A range of dedicated products for the commercial and motorhome markets is also available. AVS 0870 240 2554,


Connecting tWo Connects2 has just announced two new appointments. First of all, Jason McComb has joined to strengthen the company’s Technical Assistance Centre - his wealth of experience at fitting mobile electronics in vehicles, together with his training expertise, will improve the level of assistance and customer service provided by the company. Also joining is Ian Pearson, who has been appointed as senior advisor - Ian brings with him experience from



the highest level of government and business. “His knowledge of the automotive industry and foreign trade gained from nine years as a government minister will greatly assist in driving forward the strategic and business development ambitions of Connects2,” says managing director Dave Fereday. “I wish them both great success in these roles.” Connects2 0845 257 5588,

Congratulations to Brendan Smith, who has just joined Parksafe as its new Irish representative. If you are a retailer based in Ireland, and need to get hold of industryleading camera kits, mirror monitors, wireless sensor parking kits, IP rated waterproof kits, LED daytime running lights and more, contact Brendan right away on 07979 125191. Also email him at Parksafe Automotive 01773 746591,


Great Grom

UK distributor and supplier Grom Audio UK has recently established itself in the industry. The current product range is a series of high-quality digital converters (MOST and CAN-Bus) for enhanced in-car information, entertainment and the integration of cuttingedge smartphones. The converters integrate with the standard stereo system for a ‘stealth’ installation. Once installed, USB memory sticks, Bluetooth, iPod/iPhone and Android devices can be controlled from the head unit. Android devices integrate through Grom Audio’s free app, AALinQ, which is an advanced media player specially designed for in-car use. Grom Audio has a pro-active approach to the ever-changing car audio systems and mobile devices market, constantly working on new projects and refining the current products, including free firmware updates. Grom Audio UK 01530 411066,


Digital Radio UK’s Sam Bonham tunes us in to the latest developments


Antenna innovation

Supply the powerful, low cost GPS vehicle tracking and fleet management solution.


ver the past 18 months the vehicle industry has seen considerable innovation in the digital radio aftermarket. Celsus, Connects2 and Pure have all launched integrated adaptor devices, connecting behind the dashboard to the existing radio. These products have opened up the market, and people can now convert their cars to digital without any trailing wires. In addition to the high street and independent retail sector, manufacturers have also been partnering with vehicle manufacturers to develop bespoke approved aftermarket solutions. Vauxhall is the most recent vehicle manufacturer to launch an approved aftermarket digital radio, available for under £200. As well as integrated adaptors, several manufacturers, such as Alpine, Kenwood and Sony, have increased their digital range of head units – single DINs and multimedia double DINs. Currently this is where the

Consumers want something smaller and less visible, such as an internal film or on-glass antenna majority of digital radio sales reside, as digital eats into the churn of head unit sales. One key area where there is still a need for further innovation is the antenna space. As part of the planning for a digital radio switchover, Ofcom has set an outdoor signal strength for DAB. In doing this, Ofcom has effectively said, “this is the strength at which we will broadcast DAB”. This has to be matched by a certain level of receiver sensitivity, so that manufacturers can be sure listeners will actually get the digital coverage and services it is predicted they will. For receiver and antenna manufacturers, this means that they should work towards meeting the receiver sensitivity target to give the best listener experience possible. If the receiver sensitivity figure does not match the DAB signal strength figure set by Ofcom, then the receiver will not pick up DAB in fringe areas. There is no requirement placed


We provide our system on a REBRANDABLE basis meaning you can now offer your customers YOUR OWN TRACKING SYSTEM which gives you the opportunity to grow your business into the future. on antenna manufacturers currently (nor are there plans for one), but if these sensitivity guidelines are not met, then the consumer may have a poor listening experience. Good antennas already exist, as Martyn Williams demonstrated in last month’s edition of MEN, but these are not always what the consumer wants, as they can be ugly. The key problem is that consumers do not want to buy bulky whip antennas and fit them to the roof of their car, as these are intrusive. Consumers want something smaller and less visible, such as an internal film antenna or an on-glass antenna. However, those antenna types which are more discreet and thus more appealing do not always perform as well as bulky whip antennas (again, as demonstrated by Martyn). This may be fine for some, and there are plenty of instances where internal film antennas or on-glass antennas work perfectly well, but consumers are not likely to be satisfied with an underperforming antenna, especially when travelling in areas on the edge of coverage. The fact is that we currently do not know enough about how well antennas are performing, and more antenna innovation is needed. If we are to reach a point where the industry can convert 35 million cars, then the industry needs to come up with new antennas and new ways of fitting them to people’s cars. All demographics and car types need an antenna to suit their needs. There is a fantastic opportunity for manufacturers and retailers to share knowledge and take advantage of the current shortfall. So let’s get innovating! If anyone has any thoughts on antenna innovation or fitting, please get in touch with

WE WON’T BE BEATEN ON PRICE! benefIts • RebRand with your own company name. • Customer logs-in through your website • Your own web-site log-in • We can set-up a website for you • Provides ongoing monthly revenue • You Invoice directly to Customer • Rebrand the hardware to your own label • Money on hardware & installation

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DREAM TEAM We head to Leicester to catch up with Rob Noble at Dream ICE

How would you sum up business over the past couple of months?

It’s been challenging in that we can never quite predict what type of customer will come through the door. We often experience really busy weeks, full of lots of stereo, handsfree and speaker fits, while others might be a little quieter - and then suddenly a full install comes in. I think the secret is to ensure that every customer entering the showroom always leaves happy with our sales knowledge and service, which in turn helps to create repeat business and recommendations.

Which products are you selling a lot of at the moment?

Popular products include Parrot handsfree kits, double DIN head units, digital radio and parking sensors.

How are you planning to develop your business?

We are always on the look-out for up and coming trends, and new business opportunities. Over the last 12 months we have introduced window tinting and vinyl wrapping into the company. We have also had a new website built and promote our latest work on Facebook, Twitter and on our blog.

The new look showroom, plus a recent Dodge camper install

We have also changed our showroom around and put in an office upstairs, giving more workshop and sales space. We are currently pushing the OEM side of the business, from handsfree kits and iPod integration to full factory navigation upgrades. Over the next six months we will be starting to fit airbag kits into crash-damaged vehicles and will also be introducing Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) cleaning.

What are the growth markets?

We feel that digital radio will be a massive part of our business going forward. We are hoping to push new head units and integrated DAB solutions in the next year or so, so that people are aware of the switchover before it happens and can enjoy the latest technologies as they become available.

What is the key to success in the current environment?

In business you can never sit still. We are always looking at new products, services and technologies, as well as developing our own knowledge to give our customers the best possible sales experience. By providing the best possible service we find that we often see many returning customers and also many recommendations, which is actually our

main source of advertising. You can never underestimate the power of a referral.

What’s the toughest job you’ve had in recently?

Since we have been going though the recession, we have seen a steady decline in custom work, which was how we first built our name, but we have seen a big increase into the amount of technical installations and higher end purchases. A great example is the Dodge Ram Camper we did. It came in with a basic CRT TV screen and VCR player, and a standard audio system. The customer wanted something more modern, so we installed twin 8 inch DVD headrest monitors, a flip-down 15 inch screen, a PlayStation 2, and then a digital TV and digital media player connected to a Kenwood AV splitter unit. The audio was upgraded with Rockford Fosgate speakers and amplification, then the source head unit was replaced for a Parrot Asteroid with internet radio, iPod/iPhone connectivity and navigation. Contact Dream ICE on 01455 617374, or visit

Get featured!

If you would like to give an update on your business, drop an email to

l TEL 01386 554210 l FAX 01386 552461 l l





This new device allows CAN enabled equipment to be installed in vehicles without any warranty issues as there is no physical connection to the CAN Bus wiring. l No soldering, wire cutting or crimping l No physical wire to wire connections l Original wires stays intact l Quick installation l 12V & 24V compatible



OBDII connectors c/w 4 pins – now in sTocK. For a quick an easy plug & play option. Use with any of our CAN interfaces on compatible vehicles

cb1obd This NEW interface uses the OnBoard Diagnostic system to obtain the vehicles speed signal from manufacturers that are OBDII compliant, including Audi, BMW, Mercedes & VW. The NEW CB2OBD interface will produce an RPM & speed signal.

nEw vEhicLEs conFirmEd comPATibLE wiTh our LATEsT cAn soFTwArE: Citroen DS (all models) Isuzu D-Max VW Amorak VW Beetle 2012

PLEAsE conTAcT us For FuLL dETAiLs & ThE LATEsT PricEs

Reacts to your voice

NEW now: Unlimited music enjoyment – thanks to the direct playback of music1 and an integrated 30 Watt digital amplifier Battery charging function for your mobile phone – guarantees unlimited talk time in your car

CC 9060 Plus = CC 9068 Voice-controlled Bluetooth® hands-free device with Touchscreen and battery charge function for your mobile phone DialogPlus voice control – extremely accurate, rapid reaction word recognition without voice training and with visual and acoustic user support Multipoint function – connect two mobile phones with the system simultaneously Text-to-speech2 – reads out text messages, Blackberry e-mails and phone book entries aloud Voice Dialling Magic word – activation of the voice control with a single voice command

Works out of the box The scope of the functions may vary according to Smartphone / mobile phone, network provider and software version.

1 2 11


More Parrot

Product driven

See Product News for full details of the new launches on p46

Parrot combined the launch of new products with go-karting action as part of its dealer roadshow last month. Chris Anderson reports


id-October saw staff at Parrot getting behind the wheel in more ways than one. With lots of new in-car technology about to launch courtesy of the expanded Android range (see p46 for info), the team organised a special roadshow, setting up at various locations around the country, whereby its dealers could come along and sample the products. The fact that each of these events happened to be at a go-kart track, with visitors allowed to compare driving skills afterwards, only added more excitement and some healthy competition to proceedings. MEN caught up with Parrot at the Reading event, held at Teamworks Karting, a little different to some of the other venues in that it featured electric go-karts – perhaps making it more appropriate for launching new gadgets. But talking to Parrot country manager Asif Gillani and his team, it became apparent that every destination had something unique to offer, including talk of a two-floor centre in Warrington. It seems that the Parrot staff had actually become karting experts, and by the time of the Reading event admitted they had been around a track every night that week. But with the excitement in the air surrounding the new products, there were no signs of fatigue on the night. The dealers invited were all part of Parrot’s CIP (Certified Installer Programme) initiative – this means retailers that have passed certain requirements, showing a particular degree of knowledge and enthusiasm about


the brand. The idea is to make the initiative aspirational, with dealers knowing that if they qualify, certain awards and advantages await, such as this exclusive launch. And what products these are, with the Android name previously applied to the brand’s first single DIN head unit appearing on four separate items – the head unit now referred to as the Android Classic. Before talking specifics, Asif first addressed the dealers to give an update on recent marketing activity, revealing changes to the company logo and branding. The small

The biggest news was the launch of Asteroid Market, where apps for these devices will be available bird that once featured is now gone, leaving the Parrot name on its own. Asif said the aim is to help brand association, with customers often not realising it is the same Parrot company making headphones and speakers as well as handsfree kits. The designs will start appearing in promotional material over the next few months. Technical manager Stuart Jackson then talked about the products, introducing the Asteroid Mini, the Asteroid Tablet and Asteroid Smart. The Mini features a 3.2 inch screen for mounting in the vehicle, the same size as the Android Classic screen, and with the same operating system – using it with a smartphone can add internet and digital radio, if required. The Tablet and Smart are a jump up from this, both with a 6.2 inch touchscreen, and the version on the Smart made into a double DIN product rather than a standalone unit. Stuart pointed out a few facts about the new items that were useful for dealers, such as the eBox serving as the meeting point for

The Parrot roadshow mixed new products with go-karting the cabling now being metal because of the inclusion of a MOSFET 4 x 40W amp. But the biggest news was the launch of the Asteroid Market, where apps for these devices will be available – for driving assistance, finding cheapest fuel prices and so on. A software development kit has been released to various companies to come up with new apps. With business formalities over, it was then time for go-karting, with the gathered crowd split into eight teams. It was an action-packed few hours, with spins, crashes and bumps galore, but of course in the end there could be only one team victorious, although the top three each received trophies. Names from the winning team were then put into a hat, with the one drawn being offered a choice of prize – either the new Parrot Zik Bluetooth headphones, or a Parrot AR Drone 2.0 quadricopter, controllable via an iPhone. The quadricopter was the prize selected by the lucky winner, no doubt providing a few laughs at his place of work during his lunch hour from now on. Hopefully a rematch will be on the cards – maybe the next time Parrot organises a launch. For more info, call Parrot on 0844 472 2360 or visit

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• Total closure output from remote control • Boot release output from remote control • Interior lamp illumination output on disarm • Secure ignition PIN override • Selectable silent arm and disarm mode • Sensors excludable using the radio key • Compatible with Text Alert GSM Pager • Compatible with Impact Sensor, Tilt Sensor, Single and Dual Stage Microwave Sensors

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No limits

This Peugeot 206 is a seasoned EMMA competitor, taking top honours in the Master Unlimited classes in the UK and Europe. Martyn Williams jumps inside for a listen


his 206 has been owned by Carlo Corbin for about seven years now and, although it drives normally and from the outisde appears to be nothing special, it is really a very clever box in which to listen to beautifullystaged music of very high quality. When you sit in it, it looks like a very nicely appointed cabin with neatly arranged speakers and a frontmounted sub, but there is so much more to it than this first impression. The very un-Peugeot-like seats, for instance, are from a Smart car, because the lack of padding reduces sound absorbency and aids placement. The driver’s seat has a fixed back, so that a sound judge has his ears in the right place with the seat on its rear stops. Even the seat rails are slanted, so it’s closer to the centre when it’s cranked back. This soundstage design philosophy is taken to the Nth degree, as even the floor panels have been cut out and lowered! The handbrake is actually operated by an actuator, and the narrowed centre console helps bring the driver’s seat closer to the centre of the car.


The console space has then been neatly filled with additional gadgets and controls – even the mounting of the Pioneer head unit is heavily reinforced, acting as a vibration barrier. And you could say the boot is a little un-Peugeot-like too, thanks to the classic Genesis P15 limited edition valve pre-amp amplifier, on show with three Genesis DMA Dual Mono A-class amplifiers hidden under

The silver panels and mirror-top shaded window tints make the car stand out

and the mid-bass in the bottom of the doors. Carlo uses the Vocés, which sell at £500 a set, to prove that if a speaker is naturally good, you don’t have to spend a fortune. The doors feature thick steel panelling and solid aluminium mounting rings to reduce resonance, while a 9 inch Genesis sub supplies the bass, built into a substantial moulded enclosure and bolted to the floor for extra rigidity.

The extreme attention to detail includes mixing lead shot with resin mouldings to increase anti-resonance the panels along with three Stinger batteries. Despite being a discontinued make, the extraordinary Genesis P15 can still change hands for up to £6,000! In terms of speakers, there is an Audison Vocé three-way set which starts with tweeters in the A posts, mid-ranges in the mirror pads

The overall interior looks impressive too with the Buffalo-style trim. But this actually hides massive sound deadening and subtle panel alterations, such as the reduction of the height of the instrument binnacle to reduce acoustic interference to the high frequency sound path from the right-hand speakers.

Bass is courtesy of a 9 inch Genesis sub

One of the shop windows houses some of the car’s trophies

Dave, Carlo and Peter at Car Radio Skipton All this careful work and the extreme attention to detail, which includes mixing in lead shot with resin mouldings to increase anti-resonance, has resulted in a truly stunning sound. Close your eyes and hear a sonic treat loaded with wonderfullyreproduced ambience and character, with a soundstage which can actually be seen in the mind’s eye. If you ever get a chance to sit in this car and listen, grab it! Owner Carlo is a multi-talented engineer/ installer and is a musician to boot (trumpet and a love of traditional jazz is his bag). He was previously in business with friend (and fellow car audio nut) Dave Legg, specialising in commercial CCTV installations. Part of the job was always being on the move and they both hankered after a fixed business operation.

Power control and distribution hides behind mesh panels

The details lP  ioneer RS-D7R MkII CD-tuner and processor lA  udison Vocé three-way component speaker system lG  enesis P15 valve pre-amp amplifier (mid-range) l3  x Genesis Dual Mono A-class amps (bass, midbass and tweeters) l Genesis 9 inch subwoofer l 3x Stinger SPV-20 batteries The ideal opportunity to combine their love of car audio with a fairly local business came up when they discovered

that Car Radio Skipton was for sale. They bought into the business along with ex-Celsus guy Peter Preston, a man familiar with both sides of the counter and is magic at tracking down obscure parts. The shop is fairly central in Skipton, and being very much in a rural area isn’t in the ‘stack ’em high, sell ’em cheap’ area of business. They have a number of demo cars too, including a £1,000 install youth marketoriented Citroën, Carlo’s Pug and Dave’s fantastic Merc V8 coupé. They are convinced that lots of dealers lose business through not having a decent demo car, and all of their customer installations carry a lifetime guarantee. Publicity demo cars are a speciality, and Carlo has built many. He would also like to thank Dave and Peter for their help with his obsession! More info from Car Radio Skipton on 01756 794850, or visit 15

FEATURE /// Training and qualifications ///

Are you placing enough emphasis on training your staff, and what does it mean for the industry if you don’t? Chris Anderson looks at what’s on offer


those skills need to be honed and up to date. But it seems that even if a course is only a day long, it can be a hard getting people to attend. “We are organising a training day soon for our new Clifford products,” reveals Raj Sangha, managing director of Car Audio & Security (CAS) in Hayes. “But the thing with hosting days like this, dealers may say the right thing and that they will be coming along, but when it comes to it they don’t



automotive electrics, for example, but working with the aftermarket and the installation of the products involved is a lot more specialised. Some manufacturers and distributors might hold workshops for installers to show how a certain product can be fitted – but this only relates to the brand in question. For something with a wider scope, the courses offered by MESF (Mobile Electronics & Security Federation)

We’ve teamed up with MESF to offer the Basic Installation Certificate 1 course and test to readers for a special price of £100 plus VAT (RRP £120). Call 01376 561040


turn up. I’ve sent my guys from south London to Birmingham for a product training course before, and when they arrived there were only four other people – there was meant to be 20! I think it can dissuade people from providing training days, but we’ll still do it, as it’s important that our dealers keep up.” Perhaps a reason for this lack of interest can be put down to a sign of the times. After all, Jeff Marshall at MESF has found that different requirements has resulted in a change to the way their own courses are taught. “These days it’s mainly self-study and distance learning,” he says, “although we do have some classroom learning still – Steve Howe is our main instructor for that, and he’s an NVQ assessor. The reason for the shift towards home study is that times are hard, and a dealer may find he has had to slim down his numbers of staff. He may not want to pay for the ones he does have to be away, but also not get any money for work they could be doing in the store. But there is no reason that classroom learning couldn’t return again at a later stage.” There is also the argument that certain companies may only be interested in shifting a box, with no interest in installation or customer service. But it is the skills to fit these products that should be a major selling


In addition to improving skills, regular training is important to keep up with industry developments

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are considered worthwhile and offer an independent qualification at the end. But while the opportunities may be few, is the industry taking full advantage of them? Asking several reputable dealers on how they trained their own staff revealed mix results – and also concerns. “We send all of our staff on MESF training, and this has been very beneficial to our company,” says Paul Ellis of Source Sounds in Sheffield. “The right training is invaluable. We do train our younger members of staff in house, but we know that we are not teachers, so this is not always structured in a way that can be taken on board easily. A lot of dealers now don’t care as much about training their staff, and this is a real worry for our industry, as vehicles are getting harder to work on.” If training has stopped being a concern for some dealers, then why is that the case? After all, this is a skilled profession, and



f we were to offer you a choice of where you could eat tonight, which would you choose? The options are one of Gary Rhodes’ restaurants in the West End or your local chippy. Time constraints and Mr Rhodes’ spiky haircut aside, let’s weigh up the options: it’s a choice between food created by someone with years of experience working in Michelin-rated restaurants, with TV shows and books to his name, making your dinner, or most likely someone who is doing this as a part time job and would much rather be home watching X Factor. It’s an extreme example to start with perhaps, but it shows that training and the reputation it helps to build really does count for something (we’re assuming you picked Rhodes, by the way). When it comes to training and growing product knowledge in our business, the options can be limited. Colleges and universities often run courses for general


Back in training


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Established in 1994, the MESF (Mobile Electronics & Security Federation) provides courses on a self-study, distance learning or tutored basis – prices vary according to which. Levels provided cater to basic, intermediate, advanced and master, with additional education for installation if required. MESF business members have self-study courses for themselves and employees included in their joining fee. For more info, call 01376 561040, or visit the website at




with their criteria, through FITAS (FCS Installer Training & Accreditation Scheme).” This is something that Michael Eagle, general manager at FCS, is happy to elaborate on. “We offer two distinct routes to FITAS,” he says. “The established route is via distance learning but, under a new ‘fast track’ option to be launched imminently, members attend a two-day training course, which also enables them to complete the exams that are part of the two core training modules, including FCS1362. Membership is then subject to a satisfactory onsite audit result. Once members have completed the core qualification, they will be able to undertake specialist training courses, which FCS plans to introduce during 2013.” So there are opportunities for the dealer out there – even more considering the amount of companies spying these growth areas and setting up courses of their own. Gemini Tech, for example, specialises in a wide range of in-car equipment and recently became an independent City & Guilds training centre. “It’s been very successful,” says Norman Allen, head consultant



Help the industry become a better educated and more reputable service for the customer

where to improve your skills



point for the reputable dealer and set them apart. “People are being asked by their customers: Are you qualified?” Jeff adds. “And if a dealer is looking to change its customer base to B2B or fleets, those companies will be asking if they are qualified too. It’s a necessity for insurance purposes in a lot of cases. Someone qualified has an independent assurance that they know what they are doing. To be in this business, there is no requirement that says you need to have a qualification, but there are those who want to be qualified, and these will certainly benefit.” In addition to improving skills, regular training is important to keep up with industry developments. For example, the past few years have seen the demand for in-car telecommunications increase, with digital radio another growth area. “We updated some of our training literature recently so that people are ready for the digital radio switchover,” says Jeff, “and we work with the FCS (Federation of Communication Services), as we have done for the past three years, to help educate with the fitting of mobile communications, in line


FEATURE /// Training and qualifications ///

FCS The FCS (Federation of Communication Services) has set up the FCS Installer Training & Accreditation Scheme (FITAS) to provide a facility to the installers of telecommunication equipment in vehicles. Installation courses and recognised qualifications have been devised in conjunction with MESF. More info on 0208 249 6363, or visit

Gemini Tech Offers installation classes based around telecommunications equipment, with a maximum of 10 people per class, and two courses held each month. All successful candidates receive a City & Guilds qualification upon completion. More info on 03305 555666, or visit

Techtopics Specialises in education related to more general vehicle electrics, including fault finding, engine management, Can-Bus topics, fuel injection and more. Principal engineer James Dillon is seen as an authoritative industry figure when it comes to vehicle electrics. More info on 01278 428699, or visit

at Gemini Tech, with a background in installation courses. “Engineers want to improve by having qualifications, so we use the City & Guilds accreditation with mobile installations in mind.” But where home training has become the preferred method for MESF, FCS has recently identified a strong demand to concentrate its training into an intensive classroom session – hence the launch of the new ‘fast track’ option. This experience is borne out by Gemini Tech, which also believes that classroom schooling is important. “With a correspondence course, the practical side of things is limited,” Norman says. “Also, City & Guilds is widely recognised.” Whatever the method might be, it seems that training is definitely possible – designed to

assess your basic skills, teach new ones, educate about future technology, and generally build confidence with customers, who can see you meet a certain level of expertise. It will also ensure you don’t forget important skills. “The qualification lasts three years,” says MESF’s Jeff Marshall, “then it has to be retaken. It’s just a little refresher, to make sure that the person still knows what they are doing, taking into account developments in the market.” So maybe it’s time to take training a little more seriously. Attend courses and product training, and help the industry become a better educated and more reputable service for the customer. It may even boost your profits – you could celebrate at Gary Rhodes’.

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Experience to remember How cool was your last Facebook status update?

I Andy MIlls is a former editor of MEN and industry journalist

was reading something the other day on current trends amongst consumers. There are a lot of things that brands and retailers are getting to grips with globally in 2012 as the way people buy, what they buy and when they buy all appear to be shifting. But one thing stood out as being particularly interesting, and that was the desire for customers to have new experiences. How many of you have seen someone’s Facebook status update giving a self-congratulatory or envy-inspiring comment like: “Just had a drink with Beyoncé!” or “Tickets to latest Bond movie premiere. Get in!” Okay, so they may be unlikely updates, but the point is that people have more outlets now to let others know what they’re doing, and by their very nature they’ll want to appear more interesting and more in-the-know than the next person. Having a unique experience offered to them, getting something first or being able to tell people something different on an online network like Facebook is becoming ever more important. It’s a way people feel they can define themselves

The key is in offering experiences that customers would want to share on social media sites

Contact Andy on 20

in this modern age; experiences becoming a powerful competitor to possessions. And let’s face it, from a fellow user’s perspective reading an interesting update is far more enjoyable that being informed about how hard someone has been pumping iron in the gym or how much their hangover hurts. With that in mind, perhaps there is an opportunity for dealers in the mobile electronics market to help customers and potential customers to have experiences they want to tell people about, and create something that will instinctively have them wanting to share it with their peers. It might be an invite to an exclusive unveiling of your latest demo car, it could be an evening event where you give a master class in audio installation, or perhaps you may even do a deal with a supplier to be the first dealer offering a hot new product to your customers. “Just been in a 180 dB demo car. Ears

destroyed! Thanks, (insert your company name here)”, “Great evening learning how to install my audio properly with (insert your company here)” or “(insert subwoofer name here) bought from (insert company name here). Will let you all know how hard it punches soon!” Those types of updates could lead to all kinds of positive comments from their friends, and as a result some positive coverage for your company. You could also link these experiences with additional benefits, like a competition. For example, if you conduct an evening class in audio installation, perhaps you could get those who come to tweet about it and hash tag the event, then you pick at random one of those who have done so to win an additional prize. How measurable this would all be is debateable, and these examples may prove too much effort for too little gain. But the key is to take on board this idea of offering experiences, things that customers would want to share with others on social media sites, because it’s actually a significant part of how customers act nowadays. Get this right and there’s potential to build customer relations and subliminally promote your company to a wider audience than you may have thought possible. In a similar vein, Meguiars, the car cleaning product guys, have hosted barbecues in their car parks and had rather cool videos created of them – see YouTube or Vimeo. While you may have similar open days, which is a great thing to do if you consider the whole ‘experience’ angle, it’s the video that spreads the message to a wider audience. By putting in that extra bit of thought, an event that might have 100 people participating can actually end up reaching many more (over 2,000 in this case) as those who attend share the video link around, almost proving their credibility by association. It’s all worth a try. On another note, you may remember last month the challenge to dealers to try and reach me – a thirtysomething guy who could well be convinced into spending money on his car, but doesn’t live and breathe mobile electronics – and tell me about what you could do for me as a company. I’ve already begun noting down some observations and have been getting some interesting thoughts from people in the industry on this topic too. It should make for intriguing reading, so watch out for the next issue and I’ll aim to give the full lowdown on my findings (and some metaphorical pats on the back too)!


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Now we’re talking


Need a solution for getting a handsfree system into the car? There are plenty of options available, with varying levels of installation. Chris Anderson takes a look


hese days, everyone knows the dangers associated with trying to use a mobile phone while driving, and new statistics seem to be released every day. In the States, a study conducted by the National Safety Council claims that 28% of all road accidents are now caused by drivers using their phones – an estimated 1.4 million per year by talking, with 200,000 trying to send a text. According to information listed on Parrot’s website, the use of a phone delays a driver’s reaction time in a similar way as alcohol, with attention to driving reduced by 37%. The bottom line is that trying to use a handset when behind the wheel is a bad thing. It’s not the only factor you can introduce to encourage the sale of a handsfree kit, however, as these days the competition is so fierce that there are many devices to help add it to the car. Most use Bluetooth, but will vary in how they are fitted and the extra features they bring. For example, the most simple handsfree device, requiring no installation, will be a clip- or stick-on unit with its own built-in speaker and mic. Then, upping the quality, there are systems that can work with an existing head unit and sound system – some that can even add on to an OEM unit and be controlled via the standard steering wheel controls. Then beyond that, there are products that as well as handsfree, add A2DP music streaming or USB and Aux in sockets and even digital radio. Being caught using a mobile phone while driving currently has a £60 fixed penalty, with three points added to the offender’s licence. If all else fails with your sale, just explain to the customer that this money could have been put towards or even covered the costs of one of the handsfree solutions over the next few pages.


Celsus From Celsus comes the Unika GM LAN universal interface for Parrot MKi Bluetooth handsfree kits. This allows a car’s OEM steering wheel controls to work with a MKi or RKi Parrot Bluetooth product (RKi requires a separate harness), allowing the user to manage their incoming calls and music easily. The interface is fully approved by Parrot too, and the list of cars it can work with is very extensive. See the website for details. Celsus 01202 664390,

RRP9 £10

Bury Bury has a wide range of smartphone accessories and handsfree kits for the car, and it seems to be expanding all the time. One of the most recent additions was the CC 9068 App system, with a wealth of features, including voice control functions. Now there are more to cater for newer phones reaching the market. A new XL version of the popular Universal Bluetooth cradle which can be

Bury has a wide range of smartphone accessories and handsfree kits expanded to a maximum height of 140 mm will be out in December, catering to larger phones, and both System 8 and System 9 cradles for the Samsung Galaxy S3 will launch in November. Bury UK 01489 881118,

Chameleon Head to Chameleon’s website and you’ll see all manner of smartphone cradles and Bluetooth kits up for grabs. One of the newer items is the Motorola TK30, which is a full iPod integration music kit at a bargain price (see A simple unit, it can stream calls and music via Bluetooth, muting when the phone rings. There is also a promotion on this unit until Christmas, where dealers can earn points and then cash them in for gifts, such as iPods, iPads or Kindles. Chameleon 01206 500848,

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Cobra With its NSV technology, Cobra is a leading OE supplier of Bluetooth solutions for the car, with all systems designed to integrate perfectly into the vehicle and achieve a factory-fitted appearance. Impressive sound quality, A2DP audio streaming, voice dialling and a directional

The new incarnation of Dension’s legendary Gateway 500 unit, the 500S BT, is now available. This is an interface that adds Bluetooth handsfree, full iPod/iPhone control and USB music playback to a standard OEM system. It can even display track or caller info on the cluster display. The Gateway Pro BT isn’t quite as feature-packed, but will bring the essential iPod/iPhone and Bluetooth functions. Add digital radio to either with a Dension DAB (Digital Audio Broadcasting) adaptor. Armour Auto 01420 487110,

microphone with single switch control are on offer, and seamless integration for over 150 vehicle applications is assured with plug-and-play-specific vehicle harnesses and switch designs. Up to six devices can be connected. Cobra UK 01932 772400,

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In-Car Tec

RRP £TBC RRP £TBC Connects2 Connects2 has a wide range of phone interfaces to allow the integration of Parrot or THB Bury Bluetooth kits with the OEM steering wheel controls of many vehicles. There are also versions to integrate the Motorola TK30 kit for iPod, iPhone and Bluetooth phones, delivering rich hi-fi stereo sound and easy-touse handsfree phone technology to Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Seat, Skoda and Volkswagen cars. Each will allow the music and phone to be operated through the steering wheel controls, with relevant info shown on the cluster display. Connects2 0845 257 5588,





In-Car Tec is very proud of its website, and justifiably so. Head to it now, work your way through the drop-down menus, from car make and model to brand and type of device you want to install, along with your current head unit, and it will list everything you need along with the prices. The company stocks a number of Bluetooth-enabled products too, from the Ego Cup FM, which sits in the cup holder and plugs into the cigarette lighter, to the latest from Jabra and Scosche. In-Car Tec 01392 829435,

New from In-Phase are two different in-car handsfree Bluetooth solutions. The first is BT Go, which features a large LCD display and built-in mic, and plugs into the car’s cigarette lighter. Music and calls from a mobile phone can then be directed through the car’s speakers via Bluetooth with the help of a built-in FM transmitter. Then there is BT Mate, which plugs into the Aux in socket of a head unit, and can be velcro’d to the top of the dash, streaming calls and music through the sound system. In-Phase International 0115 975 8600, 27


RRP9 £15 RRP9 £19 iO Play 2

iO Talk 2

iO August 2012 saw the launch of the second generation of iO’s in-car kits, with iO Talk 2 and iO Play 2. The Talk kit gives handsfree calling a new dimension, with a high contrast OLED display, up to two devices to be connected at the same time, plus CVC echocancelling technology. The Play system adds advanced Bluetooth music streaming, with direct iPod/iPhone connection and iO Zoom for advanced music search, plus a 180W Class D amplifier to help boost sound quality. Armour Auto 01420 487110,

Even the RAC has noted the importance of Bluetooth handsfree kits for the car, and lent its name to two products – the VoicePort Connect and QuickFix Plus. The VoicePort is very simply a Bluetooth-enabled earpiece, with eight hours of talktime, 110 hours of standby time, plus noise-cancelling technology and multi-phone connection. The QuickFix Plus, meanwhile, features Bluetooth, a mic and speaker, attaches to the windscreen, and even has a solar panel to keep itself charged. In-Phase International 0115 975 8600,

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RAM UK offers an extensive range of patented industrial-strength mounts to a wide variety of industries. Each has an anti-slip design that provides a simple solution to mounting and adjusting any mobile device anywhere within the customer’s vehicle – the precision engineering of each individual RAM component ensures a perfect fit and continued service. RAM offers 2,000 interchangeable component ports to choose from, supplying dedicated, universal and power-fitted dock mounts for a variety of products, including mobile phones, tablet devices, GPS components and more.

Parrot While there is plenty to get excited about from Parrot this month with the expansion of its Android range (see p46), there are still a number of other Bluetooth solutions from the brand. The Minikit Neo, for example, can be used straight out of the box, with a mic and speaker built into the unit. This version is said to be 50% louder than the previous model, and with the relevant app installed on your iPhone can add some very useful functions – for example, ‘Find my car’, if you are lost in a car park, and the ability to set up an auto reply SMS for sending while driving. Parrott 0844 472 2360,




Xcarlink The Xcarlink interface allows the user to connect an iPod/iPhone directly to the CD changer port of an OEM head unit. This can then be linked with Xcarlink’s Bluetooth handsfree module, featuring a separate microphone for added convenience and optimum sound quality – music will pause

RRP9 £10 and resume before and after a call. It can also stream music wirelessly from any Bluetooth-enabled device to the car’s sound system. Xcarlink supplies Bluetooth adaptor kits for certain Audi and Mercedes models, enabling their existing phone kits to pair with the latest smartphones. Xcarlink 0203 393 4308,

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REVIEW /// Sony XAV-601BT ///


Mirror, Mirror

Adam Rayner looks at the first unit from Sony to feature MirrorLink – technology that ‘mirrors’ a smartphone display


his Sony double DIN has an upper disc slot to take DVDs and CDs, and will play a lot of formats (MP3, WMA, AAC, WAV, WMA, AVC, MPEG4, VideoCD, DVD-V CD, Xvid). There is also a front USB socket behind a small panel and a long USB cable from the rear. The unit features Bluetooth connectivity and the new MirrorLink system for wired marriage to Android smartphones. There are three sets of 5V RCA preouts, two dedicated AV out arrays and an included single microphone for phone use with a 37-button remote control, RM-X271. It is also equipped with ‘virtual 5.1 Ch’ to make it sound more like a live concert.

What’s it like? A weighty item, the unit has a tiny fan built in. There is a large detachable front panel touchscreen and two sets of plug looms.


One goes from the back to the speaker and power ISO plugs, with wires flinging off for the handbrake, reverse and speed pulse. The other bears a cluster of RCA cords, while other sockets for AV use are found on the rear panel, as is a socket for the supplied microphone and optional car-specific steering wheel remote loom. There is also a connection for adding a TomTom based navigation unit. The knob feels solid, for all it being a rotary controller, and the USB front slot has a nice feel to the little door that opens. It’s very well made and the Graphic User Interface (GUI) looks cool. A slim blow-moulded case for the big old front panel would be nice, but you do get protection from the foamed Neoprene one supplied.

How well does it work? I stuffed the Verbatim 8GB USB bean into the front USB and the iPod Touch fourth generation into the rear USB. I was very impressed that the unit could use and display video from the iPod without needing a J-Link. There is no SD slot, as Sony has its own Memory Stick, which has got to the Pro-Duo level and also features support for SD and SDHC. It is a more costly socket for Sony to use and on this device, unlike some others, you can have two USB items plugged in at once. I also tried the MirrorLink system with my son’s HTC, as I am a BlackBerry and iPod Touch user. It does take a moment to read a full music storage on a big library, and the progress bar will look stuck, before suddenly whooshing and reading 100%. But changing between formats and inputs is a doddle, although I was struggling a little as a beginner to navigate within albums. I was impressed that while all the yellow RCA composite video sockets are gathered together in one panel cluster on the back near the meaty heatsink, there is provision for two separate auxiliary AV inputs as well as the USB sockets and

there is a separate AV out cluster. In addition, the ZxZ zone has its own fixed level output for feeding films, say to a set of rear screens/headphones, to marry to its own yellow RCA feed. This commandeers the rear RCA outs when in use. I tried it all on the bench, DVD pumping into the NESA rear screen I use as reference, while I played with the USB and iPod and set the intro-scan ‘Zappin’ function running while then phoning myself up via Bluetooth and my Blackberry and my landline. It was intense. The sound quality is good too. This level of 5V preout was once seen as mad end audiophile stuff, but Sony can do this without breaking sweat as it has been all the way out to outer-space audiophile land and knows its stuff. Even MP3 sounded good. This unit features some damn cool software to do with playing music that I feel you might have to live with for a while to fully grasp. Called SensMe channels, it’s all about matching BPM and tune and so forth to that of the track you select to kick it off. But it’s clever, flexible, and sounds very clean and sweet. Amazing value for money, but if you were to add a digital radio adaptor as well as the TomTom navigation module, you are looking at similar money to more costly units.

Why stock it? A superb unit with some real smarts and even a slice of high value for money, as it does so very much, with the ZxZ Dual Zone feature making it ideal for playing a DVD in the back for the kids, while you listen to music from the iPod, USB stick or even by Bluetooth streaming from your phone of any kind in the front. And the MirrorLink function is glacially cool. Overall, an easily recommended tour de force that includes iPod video play from both USBs without any J-link wire needed and a remote control in the box for the lower price. Only down check is no digital radio, but there are two dedicated extra AV inputs, so you can choose from a few sorts of top end adaptors and still have room to connect that camcorder for the playback of your video clips at shows. CEL Trade 0116 244 9846, RRP £400, plus fitting (varies according to vehicle),

Ratings Ease of use Installation Performance Value Overall Fantastic value for a state of the art unit which incorporates impressive MirrorLink technology

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32CAS Prices for Trade Account Holders only. Delivery charges extra. Prices Valid until 31/08/2012. All prices exclude VAT @20%. E.& O.E. Car Audio & Security Ltd, Units 6A-6B Bilton Way, Hayes, Middlesex UB3 3NF.

Car audio retailer of the Year

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Season’s greetings When and what to sell could be the key to capitalising on the changing seasons


hen you think of seasonal selling, the isle in Tesco that starts stocking Christmas goods in September may spring to mind. Or perhaps the garden centre that wheels the patio sets out at the first sign of sunshine. It can seem cynical, but the reality is it’s a simple matter or supply and demand. Or, in some cases, supply to create demand. Many supermarkets in particular will not think twice about bringing out Christmas goods at the very threshold of when normal people may be having thoughts in that direction, but they know there are those ‘early birds’ who will react and start stocking up when they see mince pies, selection boxes and Christmas puddings. The interesting thing about this is they don’t let it take over their store at that point, it’s quite subtle yet enough to get people saying,‘Can you believe they’re selling Christmas stuff already?’ The store’s regular business then keeps going, but gradually they will build up the extra sales from the seasonal goods. For many businesses this boost in business at different points of the year – the beginning of summer and the onset of Christmas in particular – are crucial to their survival.


For dealers in the car electronics aftermarket, there may not appear to be such a variety of product to play with in order to hit seasonal shoppers in the same way. You may surprise yourself ,though, as it’s likely to be something you already do, perhaps without realising it. Portable navigation devices, for example, are likely to be shuffled to the front of your shelves around the beginning of any summer

Don’t get carried away with simply putting tinsel in the windows and making staff wear Santa hats! holiday period, when families are planning driving excursions. Even if these are a bread and butter product for you throughout the year, making more of them at these periods with promotions, window advertising and the like may help boost sales further. But there are key points to remember if you want to play the seasonal selling game. Check out the panel top right for a few ideas.

THE RULES OF SEASONAL SELLING l Make sure your seasonal promotion is as strong online as it is in your shop. Each season potentially brings new customers to each, so you have to make your proposition as strong as possible l Don’t stutter. By phasing in the promotion of seasonal products gradually and in plenty of time means you won’t take your eyes off the regular trade l Using what you already have is the key to success, particularly in this market. Simply by repositioning your approach to selling these items according to season can yield results l Don’t forget that you’re not targeting the season, you’re targeting the customers that are likely to want your products in that season. Make sure you remain focused on still promoting what you think they need and don’t get carried away with simply putting tinsel in the windows and making staff wear Santa hats! Seasonal selling is likely to be a default for many of you already, but it’s worth taking a look at your approach, ensuring you’re planning carefully and effectively, and ensuring you’re making the most of upturns in customer spending. And don’t forget, getting email addresses from new customers at these points can be a valuable asset for future promotions, where you can remind them of what you can do and perhaps tempt them into spending with you again. 35


Giving you extra Chris Anderson looks at the items that may only be small and low-cost, but pairing them with larger, more expensive purchases can help increase your profits


he car audio accessory market is big business – or at least it could be if you think about it in the right way. In his presentation at the Celsus ICE roadshow in July, the company’s director of business development, Chris Bennett, helped retailers to understand the accessory market, or as he called it ‘attachment selling’. He said: “If someone comes in for a head unit or speakers, tell them that it gets better with the right cables or sound deadening, keep it going and stop squeezing your profit – look at McDonald’s, they are the biggest attachment seller in the world and will always ask you if you want fries with that.”

With the accessory market growing, there are more opportunities to offer something extra with a purchase It is maybe this mentality that is needed a little more often, and with the accessory market growing there are more opportunities than ever to offer something extra to your customer’s purchase. If they need digital radio, show the different ways this can be achieved and also the types of aerials. Or if they want to keep the car’s standard-fit head unit, show how there are still ways to add an amplifier or Bluetooth handsfree and iPhone/iPod control. Also show how other items can be added, such as parking sensors. To the customer, these are the relatively inexpensive finishing touches to make their purchase even better, and to you it’s a way to bump up your profits. And by opening their eyes to this world of what is achievable, perhaps it will pique their interest and even have them coming back for something else. Here is what some of the big distributors are currently offering to help.


Autoleads One of Autloeads’ latest offerings is its iPod interface, allowing control and charge of an Apple device without replacing the car’s OEM head unit or adding an accessory. It connects via the CD changer input, with adaptors for a range of cars. Also being pushed is the AMI module, based on an audiophile-grade line output converter, allowing the integration of handsfree and music streaming kits via a SOT-1000 series T-harness, or a top end head unit replacement via a PC9-500 series active adaptor. Armour Auto 01420 487110,


RRP £79

C-KO C-KO has released this little device (part no DAB-ANT-4721.01) to replace an existing analogue radio amplifier, splitting the AM/ FM signal and giving a separate one for DAB (Digital Audio Broadcasting). Some customers are fussy when it comes to fitting new antennas on the window or roof of the car, so this conversion box allows for the existing factory antenna to be used, and still provides the existing AM/FM radio with a strong signal, plus an amplified digital signal as well. C-KO 0208 863 8333,

Connects2 The CT54-04 adaptor from Connects2 makes it just a little easier to install 12V rated items into vehicles with 24V, namely trucks and lorries. This will open up a lot more possibility when it comes to fitting head units, Bluetooth, navigation, tracking devices and security. The adaptor converts permanent and ignition feeds, dropping the voltage by simply plugging in. If your business looks after a lot of commercial fleets, this could be a good accessory to order in. Connects2 0845 257 5588,

RRP £99

Drive Connected

Parrot presents the first range of multimedia â&#x20AC;&#x153;all in oneâ&#x20AC;? car kit systems: Connect to the web in your car and access a range of driving assistance Apps, navigation and music on demand in addition to voice recognition, internet radio and hands-free phone calls. Driving has never been so enjoyable!

Parrot approved partners

Technical Support Lines * Accessible via Asteroid Market

T:01206 500 848

T:0161 494 4200

T:+353 1 448 1288

T:+353 45 407000

T:01162 449846

UK: 0844 472 2360 IRL: 0155 300 62

The Bluetooth word mark and logos are owned by the Bluetooth SIG, Inc. and any use of such marks by Parrot S.A. is under license. The Parrot Trademarks appearing on this document are the sole and exclusive property of Parrot S.A. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. All Rights reserved. Visual, description and specifications are not contractual. Product specifications may change without prior notice. Parrot S.A. - RCS PARIS 394 149 496. 37


RRP9 £46 Stinger

Chameleon If you work with the commercial market, you might be interested in this new ‘fixed phone’ stocked by Chameleon. The Telit Roadstar provides all of the features of the excellent Telit Roadrunner, but adds SMS text messaging, plus 3.5G (the world’s first fixed phone with 3.5G, most are still 2G), and the ability to download Google contacts – it’s a far smarter piece of equipment than just a regular phone. Paired with a GPS antenna and the right software, it’s possible to run navigation or even fleet tracking from the unit, which does away with a separate unit or a tracking ‘black box’ Chameleon 01206 500848,

RRP £79


Another well known and much loved accessory brand that has recently revamped its wiring kit and RCA ranges. All of Stinger’s speaker and power cable is made from Tru-spec tinned oxygen-free copper to ensure maximum power transfer. The 4000 series wiring kits are typical of the quality on offer, with tinned conductors for corrosion resistance, matte finish hyper-twist wire to boost flexibility, and compact connectors for easy installation. Celsus 01202 664390,

In-Phase For customers planning a big sound system, In-Phase has come up with a heavy duty 10 farad capacitor that looks like a regular car battery. The IPBC10 has multiple terminals for easy installation, auto on/off switch control, low ESR and an extra fast charge rate. The design is said to elimate current transfer waste, it has an electronic polarity protection circuit, plus a wide temperature endurance range of -45 to 95 degrees C. In-Phase International 0115 975 8600,


Dynamat The original sound deadening supplier, and still the industry innovator, has just updated its packaging, making it more appealing and consumer friendly. The speaker kits are great value, and the brand now offers trunk kits, with the bulk kits providing enough to cover pretty much the whole of the car interior at a bargain price. Also look out for Dynaxorb and Dynaliner, for the absorption of sonic energy and lightweight insulation respectively. Celsus 01202 664390,


Vibe This Delta Box Line Convertor from Vibe represents one of the easiest ways to add an amplifier to the car without changing the OEM head unit. The device is said to derive a low level RCA input for the amplifier from the speaker outputs of the unit in the dash, and with Vibe Autosense technology will also provide a remote turn-on without the need to add a separate switch or locate an ignition switched 12V supply. In addition to an amp, the customer could also fit an active bass box. Midbass 0121 311 9090,

RRP £34


Authorised Distributor For All Brands

0115 975 8600

CK 3100 UK

MKi 9100 UK



VME-9114TS 7” Touch Screen, CD/DVD/MP3/WMA, USB Receiver, Auxiliary Audio/Video Inputs, EQ, RCA, 4 x 40W


5.8” Touch Screen, DVD/CD/MP3/MP4/DiVX USB, Aux, 3xPre Outs, iPod/ iPhone, 4x50W




• 10cm Speakers •130 Watts Max • 60-24000Hz • PEN Tweeter • 2 Way Coaxial • Cylindrical Grille Design








*All prices exclude VAT

• 17cm Speakers •190 Watts Max • 60-24000Hz • PEN Tweeter • 2 Way Coaxial • Cylindrical Grille Design

£109 VZ-409 7” Touch Screen, CD/DVD/MP3/WMA, USB, Remote Control, EQ, 3 x RCA, Auxiliary Audio/Video, 4 x 40W

3” Colour Screen DVD/CD/MP3/MP4 iPod / iPhone Control SD Card Reader USB Receiver, 4 x 60W



£199 £33



• CD/MP3/WMA/AAC • USB • Aux • iPod/ iPhone • 1xRCA • EQ7


£39 £42


• Xplod Amp • 2 Channel •350 Watts Max • Low Pass Filter • Dual Mode Capability • Gold Plated Connectors



• CD/MP3/WMA/AAC • USB • Aux • 1xRCA • iPod/ iPhone • 4 x 45W



6.1” Touch Screen, DVD/CD/MP3/MP4/DiVX iPod/ iPhone, 3xPre Outs, Aux In,USB

• CD/MP3/WMA • Front Aux • 1xRCA • RDS • EQ • 4 x 45W



5.8” Touch Screen DVD/CD/MP3/ MP4/DiVX USB Receiver, Aux In Slot, 3 x Pre Outs, iPod/ iPhone, 4x50W



• 13cm Speakers •150 Watts Max • 60-24000Hz • PEN Tweeter • 2 Way Coaxial • Cylindrical Grille Design

• iPod/ iPhone • Music Streaming • USB/ SD Slots • 2.4” TFT Screen • Voice Recognition




MKi 9200 UK

• Works with up to 5 Bluetooth devices • Voice Recognition • Stores 150 numbers • Music Streaming

• Works with up to 5 Bluetooth devices • Includes Mic • Voice Recognition • Stores 150 numbers

• Xplod Sub •12” Woofer • 1000 Watts Max • Ferrite Magnet • Polypropylene Cone



• Underseat Active Sub •300 Watts Max • Phase Button • Remote Control • Aluminium Cone • 270mm(w) x 69mm(h)

£1000 excluding delivery & VAT. One bottle per order, subject to availability. Pictures for illustration purposes only.


40 41


S I SECRET “THE VAG A NG I BECOM IALIST” OEM SPEC Car Communications is reporting huge gains this year, with more predicted in 2013.


ar Communications has developed from a fledgling handsfree company, servicing a handful of customers and selling accessories through its retail website, to an OEM specialist. The current customer base includes independent fitters, trade engineers, second-hand car dealerships, leasing companies and also a number of VAG dealerships. In the financial year ending 2012, sales have grown 40%, and are set to increase a further 60% in 2013. Increasingly, customers are demanding genuine OEM accessories for their vehicles, and a gap in the market appeared that was left by the larger distributors. It was felt that while an order could be fulfilled, these companies struggled to deliver the after sales support and technical back-up for the engineers. This is where Car Communications excelled, offering support on a range of issues, supplying its own sub-contracted engineers to carry out the installation work. It was even approached by well-known distributors, new to OEM and who liked the fresh approach. Car Communications started with Bluetooth OEM integrated kits and slowly increased the lines to include iPod AMI kits, digital TV, OEM reversing cameras, cruise control, optical parking sensors and more. Within the last few months, the company has signed an agreement to resell OEM VAG satnav units and digital radios at considerably discounted prices. The main concern with regards to aftermarket Bluetooth and stereo installs seems to be that there just isn’t enough mark-up – the current vehicle accessories market is saturated with so many products and with very little to make on each item, with it being so competitive. Car Communications understands that as well as giving the best possible solution for the end customer, the engineer also deserves to be rewarded accordingly for his time and skill. Retrofit parts are sometimes not the simplest items to install, and if it’s not fitting then there could be issues with coding. So many times


van, and was told by many dealerships that it could not be done – after being directed to Car Communications by an engineer, all that was needed was the vehicle VIN. A new switch, trim and modified wiring loom were supplied to adapt to the vehicle ECU. The whole job and coding for the vehicle took half a day. There has also been an increase of second-hand car dealers offering factoryintegrated accessories that can be retrofitted – it all helps to improve profit margins and the chance of converting a sale. Car Communications also supplies to new car dealers where an accessory wasn’t fitted in line with a customer’s demands, which can now be retro-fitted. For example, a VW car that is fitted with a low-spec head unit from the factory can now be upgraded with the latest RNS-315 touchscreen model with digital radio, Bluetooth and navigation. Genuine OEM equipment supplied to the trade comes with a two-year warranty as standard, and where Car Communications installs the product also, it provides a three-year warranty. Therefore, trade and retail customers are always assured of the quality and service provided. There is a very professional pre-sales set-up, and customers who are unsure about

Car Communications is always looking at new products, in particular items that integrate with OEM equipment

Car Communications works with trade engineers, second-hand car dealerships and leasing companies to fit iPod/iPhone, navigation and parking sensors to a range of vehicles

retailers or the customers of engineers have been told by VAG dealerships that a retrofit job is not possible, but Car Communications has both the knowledge and the skills to advise on what is compatible, due to its understanding of the system. Recently, a customer tried to get cruise control fitted to his VW California camper

the correct part can simply email their vehicle VIN (VAG vehicles) details to find out more. Car Communications is always looking at new products to add to its portfolio, in particular items that integrate with the original OEM equipment. These include integrated Bluetooth kits from Fiscon and Viseeo, music kits from Dension and Connects2, digital radio and most recently the Spec.Dock – this came about as a request from retail customers who had a factoryfitted music kit in the glove compartment, or an aftermarket music kit, and wanted an easy docking solution for their iPod/ iPhone. The customer did not want to open the glovebox each time to connect the Apple device, and did not want to clutter the front of the dash with cables. The solution was to partner with a manufacturer that produced an OEM-type product which was an easy docking solution and also gave a clean finish. Car Communications has been supplying the dock to trade and retail customers with huge success. For more info, contact Car Communications on 01254 694397, or visit

ARE YOU SELLING GENUINE OEM RETROFIT KITS? IF NOT... WHY NOT? The chances are you are potentially missing out on sales! More and more customers are demanding genuine OEM accessories for their vehicles. They do not leave a clutter like the aftermarket products. In addition, customers generally prefer to see the genuine car manufacturer logo on their products. Below are some of our most popular retrofit kits. Rest assured, when you purchase from Car Communications you do not need to worry about compatibility, fitting or coding as we can guide you via our technical support.

2 Year Warranty Genuine Part Includes GPS Aerial


Voice Dialling Integrated Mic MFSW Volume Control


Touchscreen Navigation Full Postcode Search Latest Maps


Genuine OEM Part Fitting Instructions Stalk, Trim Supplied


Full iPod/ USB Control Control Of Infotainment Glove Box Fitting


Integrated Bluetooth MFSW & Radio Control VAG, Mercedes, BMW

FISCON INTEGRATED BLUETOOTH Vehicle specific iPod/ iPhone docking solution. Interface with any factory/ aftermarket music kit.

Integrated Bluetooth & Music Car Infotainment Control For CAN & MOST Systems



This is only a small selection of our OEM range, please call for a trade catalogue. T: 01254 694537


New trade customers required to provide company details on a letterhead. Trade orders require an email confirmation to Credit card purchase incur a 2% surcharge. Shipping from ÂŁ6.95 + VAT (higher value items require additional insurance) next day depending on availability. Next day orders to be placed before 4pm (UK mainland only). Please call before placing order if in doubt about compatibility of product. Images for illustration purposes only. All Trademarks & Logos used are registered trademarks of the respective legal owners and are in no way affiliated with Car Communications Ltd. Errors and omissions excepted. 43


Double DIN Navigation with DAB ► 6.1" touchscreen ► EU navigation ► Built in DAB radio ► iPod / iPhone control ► RearUSB ► Bluetooth ► AV in / out ► 3 Pre-outs

Requires DAB antenna KAE 220DA at £23.50



► Truck specific navigation ► Height, width, weight, load ► Low bridge data


DEH 1400 / 1420 UB

DEH 4500 BT


► Front Aux & USB in ► Red or green illumination ► Pre-out

► iPod / Android control ready ► Red illumination ► Front USB & Aux in

► DAB digital radio built in ► iPod / Android control ► Aux in ► Front & rear USB in

XAV 63





► 6.1" touchscreen ► Zappin ► iPod control ► EQ7

► Mechless ► Front USB / Aux in ► QuickBrowser™ ► Bluetooth ► Built-in microphone


CK 3100

 Bluetooth handsfree  Voice control  Pair up to 5 phones  Phone synchronisation



MKI 9200



► 6.1" touchscreen ► App mode ► MirrorLink™ ► Bluetooth


 Bluetooth handsfree & A2DP streaming  Voice control & ‘Magic Word’ function  Multi-Point (Simultaneously pair 2 phones)  SD card input & iPod / iPhone control

Requires DAB antenna CA ANDAB001 £19.99



 Voice activated music search  Parrot bluetooth & A2DP music streaming  iPod / iPhone control  3 × Pre-outs  4 × 55w output


CEL TRADE T: 0116 2449846 E:


CEL TRADE T: 0116 2449846 E:

Double DIN Navigation with DAB ► 6.1" VGA touchscreen ► Full Garmin EU navigation ► Built in DAB radio ► Bluetooth handsfree ► Reverse camera input with

split-screen view

► Android / iPod / iPhone

App control mode ► Variable illumination ► DAB aerial included

£619.97 KW R600BT

KD R53

► Direct iPod control

► Direct iPhone control ► 4 × 50w ► Front & rear Aux in ► 2 Pre-outs ► Red illumination

► Android


KDC 3054 UR/G

► Front & rear USB ► Bluetooth



£114.00 KDC BT32 U

► 6.1” touchscreen ► App mode ► Direct iPod control ► DAB aerial included

CDX 4021 GT260 DDX BT

► 6.1” touchscreen ► App mode ► Direct iPod control

► Front USB + Aux in ► 1 Pre-out ► Red or green illumination


► iPod / Android control ► Front USB + Aux in ► 1 Pre-out



► Front USB + Aux in ► 1 Pre-out ► 4 × 50W ► Red, green or amber illum.

► iPod / Android control ► Front USB + Aux in ► 1 Pre-out


► Android


£69.58 CDX235 GT260 CDE BT


► Direct iPod control ► 4 × 45w ► Front USB & Aux in ► Quad illum.

£134.99 45




Parrot’s new range Parrot launches new Asteroid products and apps Not long ago we reviewed the Parrot Asteroid head unit – an impressive piece of kit with a hi-def 3.2 inch screen, Bluetooth and downloadable apps. Well, now it’s called the Asteroid Classic, with Asteroid itself referring to a whole range of products, with the original head unit being joined by the Asteroid Mini, the Asteroid Smart and the Asteroid Tablet. Alongside this, the Asteroid Market is being launched, which is an online store where users can download different apps and customise their units – at the moment, these are free, but some may require payment later on. So what are the new products? The Asteroid Mini comprises a 3.2 inch colour screen, with separate remote, allowing you to control your

music via voice commands, or make handsfree calls and access the internet via your smartphone. The Tablet is similar, but with a touch-sensitive 5 inch screen instead, also adding Wi-Fi to the mix. Finally, the Asteroid Smart is a double DIN unit with a 6.2 inch touchscreen and onboard navigation software, as well as inputs for reversing cameras and other sources. The original unit was something very different, and we have a feeling these might be too. Parrott UK 0844 472 2360,




Pioneer returns to DAB CONNECTS2

Beat goes on Connects2 is looking to shake-up the entry level market with this feature-packed Beat 290 head unit. The single DIN offers WMA and MP3 playback from the CD slot, has Aux in, USB and SD card slots, an FM RDS-equipped tuner and 4 x 40W of amplification, plus builtin anti-shock, equaliser presets, and an RCA output for system expansion. Control from a steering wheel remote is also possible with the purchase of a separate adaptor. It’s not a bad looking unit either, and could definitely add a few extra features over a car’s OEM fit. Connects2 0845 257 5588,


If you have company developments or product news, email information and hi-res images (300dpi) to:


Most car audio brands are now seeing the potential of digital radio, and most have at least one all-in-one head unit that includes a DAB tuner. Pioneer may be joining in a little later with its DEH-X6500DAB, but the brand says that this is because it has been busy coming up with features that no other manufacturer has. For example, there is Time Shift, allowing users to pause a live broadcast and then continue later on. It also has a MOSFET 4 x 50W amplifier, five-band EQ,

and Advanced Sound Receiver (ASR), which restores the detail that may be lost with compressed music. Phone mute and Mixtrax, adding effects to music played from the iPod or USB, round things off. Pioneer 01753 789789,


New Teletrac software Trafficmaster’s GPS fleet tracking and telematics company Teletrac has just announced an update to its core software program, Fleet Director. With Fleet Director 9, companies will be able to run fleets more efficiently, cutting costs and improving driver safety. Features now include two-way messaging, GPS vehicle tracking, navigation, Thatcham-approved stolen vehicle tracking,

custom generated ‘drag and drop’ reporting, and the ability to organise drivers into sub groups. Stuart Berman, executive director at Teletrac, said: “We are extremely proud to launch Fleet Director 9 and are very encouraged by the positive customer feedback, particularly on new features.” Teletrac 0870 460 5693,



Audison’s award winner Last month you may have seen the news item regarding the car audio products that all won awards from EISA (European Imaging and Sound Association). Winner of the Best Subwoofer category was the Audison Voce AV10, now available in the UK through distributors Four. The design of the sub is said to drastically reduce back waves, which can distort the sound. It can also be backmounted with no loss in quality, according to the makers. Power handling is 400W continuous or 800W peak, and the RRP is £299. A 12 inch version is also available. Four 0800 652 5125,

iPhone 5 holder RAM Mount UK, makers of all kinds of mounting brackets for smartphones and cameras in-car, has come up with a new solution just for the iPhone 5. Made from durable composite plastics with a sleek form-fitting design, the holder has a number of interchangeable bases to enable secure fitting to different surfaces, including screw-on, yoke, U-bolt and suction mount. A manoeuvrable ball and socket system means the device can also be set at almost any angle. Released in November, the RAM iPhone 5 Holder has an RRP of £39.


TomTom for Android

The TomTom navigation app for Android users is now available from Google Play. iPhone owners have been able to use

the software for a while, but this is the first time that Android users are able to join them. Features include integration with smartphone contacts, spoken street names, advanced lane guidance, speed camera alert, free quarterly map updates, and live traffic updates via an in-app purchase. The Android software is available for £30.99 for the UK/Ireland map and £39.99 for Western Europe, for a limited time only.


Watchdog targets car thieves In a report screened on the BBC’s Watchdog series last month, it was revealed that car thieves are using a device readily available on the internet to help them steal BMWs and other high-end cars. It enables thieves to hack the car’s on-board computer system and reprogramme a blank key within just three minutes. The message to customers? Fit some form of tracking device to ensure recovery, such as those offered by Tracker. “Standard security measures, such as alarms and crook locks, all serve as a deterrent, but

only a Tracker system can help police find a stolen car and lead them directly to the criminals,” says Stuart Chapman, head of Tracker’s police relationship team.


If you have company developments or product news, email information and hi-res images (300dpi) to: 47


New 2012 Civic Honda has provided plenty of scope for aftermarket additions on the latest Civic, with no parking sensors as standard. Martyn Williams reports Latest Civic with one of the newest Pioneer AV units – so much smoother-looking than the original factory-fit model


ow in its ninth iteration, the Honda Civic is starting to look a little ordinary. Becoming more mass market in terms of its appeal will probably do sales no harm, thus making it more likely to have one turn up in the workshop. But the good news for installers is that the first reversing aid only occurs half-way up the range – a reversing camera. More good news is that the screen for the cam is integrated into the top of the dash, allowing a head unit to be fitted without having to figure out any integration to AV. It also allows a non-AV head unit to be sold to the customer without affecting the functionality of the car. Some drivers are not comfortable using reversing cams and others still like the idea of sensor warnings, so the sales opportunity remains throughout the range. The sensors in Honda’s accessory catalogue in the Elite + Pack cost £1,295, including mud flaps and mats.

Phone Connectivity Fitting the average hands-free module and T-harness should only take 40 minutes, and starts with the head unit removal. The control


Connects2 supplied both the fascia panel and the interface items for this installation feature, which are Antenna Adaptor CT27AA71, Honda DIN Fascia Adaptor CT23HD25 and Stalk Adaptor CTSHO005


A single screw retains the head unit panel

box can be located below the head unit and doesn’t interfere with the heater control module. It can be used with a T-harness such as the Autoleads SOT-962/86132 as a straight plug and play, with reportedly no power supply issues on this model range. The mic was mounted conventionally on the A pillar, and the controller was fitted top right of the head unit.

Speaker Upgrades There’s a great opportunity for improving performance both with the usual boost by external amplification and by replacing the 170mm speakers. There looks to be excellent depth and a reasonable diameter of the extended tweeter pods, which should stage nicely with high quality HF units.

Parking Sensors Positioning of the sensors front and rear is made easy with the new Honda, as the bumpers are manufactured with pre-moulded reference circles that only need to be centred and drilled. Honda supplies sensor kits in its range of accessories, which means there is already

provision for a parking system. The bumpers are fairly typical screw and clip jobs, and one of the few niggles is having to detach the forward area of the arch mouldings to remove the front bumper. There’s an existing blank grommet opening into the spare wheel well for the rear sensor cabling. It’s also possible to sell the customer a more expensive solution – the actual Honda front and rear sensor kits. The appeal of the genuine Honda parts is that the module integrates in the dash and utilises the car’s existing display. Morecambe-based Cox Motor Group (01524 60011) can help with info here.

Acknowledgements Thanks to Connects2 for the images and info, also VCE’s Vernon Craig, Jeff Scott of Ifitstuff and member Trevor McLean.





Removal of the head unit/fascia starts with levering a small sub-panel above the undertray shown, which allows this underdash panel to be dropped down. Both are held with clips

Dropping the panel reveals a screw retaining the console edge trim

The edge trim is also retained with clips and was awkward to remove, needing careful levering to avoid damage

The heater control panel is also clipped in and also needs careful extraction


9 8


Like the rest of the panels, there are plenty of clips holding the head unit

The vents and hazard switch are transferred to the new fascia panel retained by screws and tab clips. It’s important to fix the new head unit brackets to the panel first, not to the head unit

The screw holes for the head unit are slotted to allow the depth to be set before fitting the panel

Interface wiring is simple and there is plenty of room in the dash behind the head unit for a handsfree module and a DAB tuner

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Cobra UK Contact: Cobra sales T: 01932 772400 E: W: Brands: Cobra has been providing tried and tested vehicle security, safety and electronic systems since the 1970s. Our products include: Cobra Alarms and Immobilisers, Cobra ParkMaster Parking Sensors, CobraTrak Stolen Vehicle Tracking, NSV Bluetooth® Handsfree Systems (compatible with all Bluetooth® enabled handsets), VizualogicTM In-car DVD Systems, Rear View Reversing Cameras and Monitors, Cruise Control and Speed Limiters

Aftermarket Vehicle Solutions Ltd Contact: Peter Hughes T: +44 (0)1255 434353 E: W: Brands: Distributor of Speed Limiters, Cruise Control, Parking Sensors, Security Products, CAN interfaces and Carbon Fibre Heated Seat Kits to the Aftermarket and the OEM Industries. Alpine Electronics of UK Ltd Contact: Keith Holness T: +44 (0) 2476 719623 E: W: Brands: Alpine

Commercial Electronics Contact: Salim Ali T: +44 208 404 7105 F: +44 208 404 7104 E: W:, Brands: Designed & Engineered in UK, Est. over 25 years. OEM service available. Hawk Car Alarm, Hawk Reversing Angel, Hawk Motorcycle Alarm, Hawk GPS, Demon Car Alarm, Demon Motorcycle Alarm, Demon Reversing Angle, Demon Tracking, Cyclone Car Alarm, Cyclone Motorcycle Alarm, Cyclone Parking Sensors Kit, Cyclone Central Locking Kit, Cyclone GPS and much more...

Armour Automotive Limited Contact: Sales T: 01420 487110 E: W: Brands: Autoleads, CTi, iO, Mutant, Radiomobile, Veba, VI, Avital, Clifford, Focal, Hornet, Kicker, Orion, Viper, Oxygen, Dension, Kinetik, Hushmat, Sony Antennentechnik Antennentechnik Bad Blankenburg AG, Hermann – Petersilge – Srasse 10, 07422 Bad Blankenburg, Germany T: +49 (36741) 3690 F: +49 (36741) 36963 Email:

Connects2 Contact: Andrew Simner T: 0845 257 5588 F: 0121 522 5589 E: W: Brands: Connects2 – Interface solutions for OEM and aftermarket systems, including interfaces for iPod, USB, MP3, Aux, steering wheel controls inc CAN-Bus, Stalk & Display, Telemute, Parrot, and MOST fibre optic iPod & Bluetooth hands free interfaces. BEAT, Ground Zero, Tsunami, Shuriken, Balistic, Raptor, Zenec, Metra, LG, MAC Audio

Audiovox Incaar Systems GmbH Contact: Damian Trybuszewski T: 01483 722 531 E: W: Brands: Audiovox, Audiovox Incaar Systems, AIS Automonitor Mobile Multimedia Ltd Contact: Hugh J McTernan T: +44 (0) 116 275 2020 E: W: Brands: Automonitor, SAVV, Necvox, Baton, Rosen, Visteon, Britax and Westfalia


Autosound Limited Contact: Lee Fergus T: 01274 688990 E: W:, Brands: Blaupunkt, Bosch Car Multimedia, Funkwerk, Funtoro Mod Systems


Canm8 Ltd Contact: Colin Palmer T: 0845 226 6283 E: Brands: Canm8 range of can bus interfaces can bus custom design Celsus UK Limited Contact: Sales T: +44 (0) 1202 664390 E: W: Brands: Celsus Accessories, Calearo, Antennas, Caliber, Dynamat Europe, iSimple, Jehnert, JL Audio, MediaDAB, MTX, PAC Audio, Paser, Phoenix Gold and Stinger

Dashmount Contact: Steve Taylor T: 01883 741460 E: W: www.dashmount Brands: Dashmount, Bury, Nokia, Parrot, Adapt, Brodit, Autoleads, Elan, Kram, Park Control, Steelmate


CKO International Limited Contact: Tony Rook T: 020 8863 8333 M: 07751 726598 E: W: Brands: C-KO, Eurologics, Nesa/VST, Necvox, Rosen Area of business: In Car Multimedia, Interfaces, Rear View Camera Systems, Parking Sensors, Heated Seats, HID/Day Running Lights, Digital Video Recorders, Digital TV, Digital Radio Clarion (GB) Limited Contact: Sales at Clarion T: +44 (0) 1793 859563 F: +44 (0) 1793 859598 E: W: Brands: Clarion

Daltec AI Ltd Contact: Jiten Patel T: 0208 515 7820 F: 0208 515 7820 E: W: Brands: Distributors for Dice Ipod, Dension, Fiscon, Steelmate, Bluetooth Car Kits Including novero, THB, Bury and Nokia, Brodit, Tow-Trust, and many more. Get your full range of workshop supplies and lighting

FlyAudio UK Contact: John Pedlow T: 0333 4560236 F: 0333 7007120 E: W: Brands: FlyAudio – In car advanced replacement media head units. Chevrolet, Ford, Honda, Kia, Hyundai, Jeep, Subaru, Toyota, Vauxhall, VW iGRIP® / Herbert Richter GmbH Contact: Scott Bouquet Email: T: +44 (0) 208 144 7413 E: Brands: iGRIP, Herbet Richter. Exclusively Available at Strax (UK) LTD


In Car Technologies Contact: Steve Patient T: 01392 829435 E: W:


Kenwood Electronics UK Limited T: +44 (0) 1923 816444 E: W: Brands: Kenwood


Navman Contact: Andrew Marsden T: 01162 449846 E: W: Brands: Navman


Panorama Antennas Ltd Contact: John Thomson T: +44 (0) 208 877 4444 E: W: Brands: Manufacturer of antennas for DAB, Mobile Radio, Tetra, 3G Broadband and other wireless technologies Parksafe UK Contact: Mick Barber T: 01773 746591 F: 01773 743251 E: W: Brands: Parking and Rear View camera systems Parrot UK Limited T: 0844 472 2360 E: W: Brands: Parrot


Radio World Contact: Dale Johnson T: 01132 578932 E: W: Brands: Accessories importer


Sailes Marketing Ltd Contact: Matthew Sailes T: +44 (0) 1386 554210 E: W: Brands: Manufacturer and Distributor of CAN-Bus interfaces, Electronic Interfaces, Parking Sensors, Speed Pulse Generators & Installation tools Scorpion Automotive Ltd Contact: Dianne or Philly T: 01257 249928 E: W: Brands: Scorpion Security, Toad Security, Sigma Security, Stirling Security, Scorpion Parking sensors, Scorpion Track Stolen vehicle and fleet management tracking Soundmasterscotland Contact: Gordon Ballantyne T: 0141 876 1819 or 876 1919 F: 0141 881 1515 E: W: Brands: All original OE fit car audio. Ford, BMW, Nissan-Merc. Sat Nav discs, Auto Electrics. Repairs, Decodes, Faces, Looms, Sat Nav, DVD, Amps, Subs, iPod, USB, Alarms, Alloys, Installs. Parrot approved installer. Mobile service Steelmate Automotive (UK) Ltd Contact: Kevin Kay T: 01582 475677 E: W: Brands: TPMS, DVR. Promata – DRL, High level brake light warning device, Reverse Alarm

For less than £17 per month, you can list your company details here. For more information, contact 01268 754897 or email 50

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