While most modern cars are equipped with smart features such as touchscreens, not all variants get these features. For example, even in Maruti Suzuki Baleno, a premium hatchback, the entry-level Sigma and one-level-up Delta variants don’t have a touchscreen; the Sigma doesn’t even have an audio system. But a touchscreen receiver has become a necessity — not only does it add an aesthetic flair to your car, but it also gives you the necessary information you need while driving, without having to take your eyes off the road.
Pioneer India — the car entertainment and DJ equipment major — offers stereos, speakers, subwoofers, amplifiers and sound processors, and accessories that allow better connectivity inside a car.
“Even though the aftermarket demand of our products has been impacted (with car makers pre-fitting cars with such devices), Pioneer has a substantial customer base of music enthusiasts,” says a Pioneer India spokesperson. “Our brand recall is also very strong.”
Pioneer India runs a car upgrade guide on its website, which offers suggested combinations of head units and speakers for almost every model available in India.
Of late, the company has been facing challenges from Chinese imports, which can be bought at half the price. Apart from security issues, the user experience can also get compromised in such products.
“While there are numerous products available in the market, we focus a lot on user experience,” he adds. “Most car touchscreens get the functionality of mirroring, i.e. what you see on the smartphone gets mirrored onto the screen. The limitation is that certain apps don’t change their aspect ratio, so it can be a very clumsy experience using these on the touchscreen. We worked with Google and made a touchscreen that has an app by the name of SmartSync — it combines most driving-related apps and high-end audio tuning features in an easy-to-use interface. These are the things that differentiate us.”
Pioneer doesn’t import directly from China, but has factories in Thailand and Vietnam that feed into the Indian market. Going forward, he says that while the demand is low, it hasn’t disappeared. “We need to pull the market up.”