Your Ride, Your Way One Year Later
MERA's initiative to alert consumers and installers about vehicles that are "difficult" for aftermarket service and integration has come a long way—but the best is about to come.
By Brett Solomon
There are a few times in life when it must be almost disheartening to be a mobile electronics retailer.
Ever have a customer pull in with a used Lexus or Mercedes—let's say a 2000 or a 2001, a car that should be his or her pride and joy? The customer recently purchased the pre-owned vehicle, and the problem is that the ride has a factory-installed multimedia/navigation display that doesn't work anymore.
You figure it's no major big deal, but that's not exactly what it turns out to be.
First, you call all of your purveyors of dashboard kits, but that's a no-go—no manufacturer currently makes a dash kit that matches the shape and the woodgrain of the vehicle in question.
Next, you call your friend over at the Lexus or Mercedes parts department to price a new OEM unit. That way, you can be the hero for your customer while, in actuality, you're doing a minimum amount of work. However, you find out that a new factory unit is north of $2,500 dealer cost, uninstalled. Well, there goes that brilliant idea.
So you start looking at the dashboard to try and concoct a scheme to get something from the aftermarket installed in the area in which the useless factory unit currently resides. You can do it, but it will take your fabrication specialist at least a full day, fiberglass and Bondo to come up with something that will flow with the lines of the original dashboard.
Along with the cost of a decent navigation unit, you're looking at a $3,000 price tag for the customer. Meanwhile, all the customer wants is a radio and navigation system that works at a reasonable cost and blends with the interior. As your customer reluctantly hands over the keys, you know he or she will be unhappy with the price, no matter what hurdles you jump through and miracles you perform.