When speaking of aftermarket accessories, Pioneer is a household name. The company is one of the leading brands in the aftermarket audio system segment and offers an array of products such as head units, speakers, amplifiers, and subwoofers. Some OEMs also offer Pioneer audio systems as factory fitment in their vehicles.
However, over the years, audio systems in cars have become more involved in other aspects as well. Some high-end cars have integrated climate control features in them, some can adjust seats through the infotainment system, and many now come with built-in navigation. In doing so, carmakers are offering audio systems in the cars, leaving the aftermarket brands behind. But with the right technology in place, some aftermarket brands can keep up with OEMs and customer demands.
To understand the aftermarket better, Express Mobility spoke to Gaurav Kulshrestha, the Product Manager and Marketing Head of Pioneer India. Highlighting the consumer behaviour during the pandemic when car sales slumped, people moved away from public transport, and speaking about Pioneer’s expansion plans, Gaurav said, “The Covid-19 pandemic has definitely impacted all sectors of the economy, and at Pioneer India, we are not oblivious to that.”
He added, “The pandemic forced people to shun public transport, at least for a few months, spend on more valuable things, and minimize occasional spending. We believe that the focus is now on ‘quality’ and ‘brand value’ more than anything else. More people are likely to spend on things that would encourage entertainment and utility within their own space. As such, we are expecting people to invest in durable products that yield value in the long run – right from appliances like automated washing machines to simplified feature-oriented in-car entertainment.”
Speaking of the consumer durables market in India, Gaurav said, “In 2019, the market in India was estimated at Rs. 76,000cr. The predicted numbers for the consumer durables market are highly positive, and we expect that the economy will recover soon from the Covid-19 blow. As far as the automotive industry is concerned, we expect to see more advanced tech, use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML, development of automated features, and improved pricing.”
AI and ML are playing a crucial role in the automotive sector, and aftermarket brands are also taking advantage of its possibilities, including Pioneer. “We strongly believe that both Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) will transform the automotive industry in many ways. From design to production and aftermarket services, AI is going to simplify things for companies and users,” said Gaurav.
He added, “For instance, AI & ML is being used to offer more assistance to drivers regarding risk assessment and in-car entertainment. For the aftermarket services, we expect Artificial Intelligence (AI) and ML to offer inputs for maintenance, insurance, servicing, updates, and much more.”
Pioneer is looking to invest in new technologies to simplify in-car connectivity and offer distraction-free driving. On this, Gaurav said, “We intend to partner with leading automobile companies and manufacturers to deliver our cutting-edge products and solutions for the masses. Our expansion plans are adaptive to demands and changing buying patterns, and we are keeping a keen eye on the impact of pandemic-related changes.”
The Marketing Head said, “While audio solutions have been our forte since the initial launch, we intend to focus more on better technologies. We are already exploring ways to delve into Android and iOS mobile apps to simplify in-car entertainment for users.” He added, “While we know that in-car entertainment is important for vehicle owners, we intend to develop ideas and innovative technologies that would minimize on-road distractions.”