Thursday, January 17, 2008

Alpine Electronics products in 2009 Ram

Alpine Electronics products in 2009 Ram

By Brent Snavely Alpine Electronics of America Inc. in Farmington Hills announced that two of its products are featured on vehicles introduced earlier this week at the North American International Auto Show as part of an effort to raise its profile in the original equipment automotive industry.

Alpine announced Sunday it is supplying the sound system for the 2009 Dodge Ram and on Monday .

Todd Kovach, vice president and general manager of Alpine, said Alpine’s product wins with the Detroit 3 are a direct result of the company’s growing presence in Farmington Hills.

Alpine, known for its aftermarket products, is hoping to gain ground as an original equipment supplier against competitors such as Framingham, Mass.-based Bose Corp.

“We are one of the leaders in aftermarket multimedia products,” where product development life cycles are often a year or less, Kovach said. “We can bring products to market in the original-equipment space faster than our competitors, and we think that gives us a competitive edge.”

When Kovach joined Alpine six years ago, the company had about 20 employees in Farmington Hills. Today, Kovach said, the company has 53 employees there and is anticipating growth over the next several years.

Alpine’s Farmington Hills offices include sales, marketing and engineering employees as well as a product testing and validation center that the company began operating last year after an investment of about $2 million to $3 million.

About 80 percent of the research and development for the Dodge Ram occurred in Farmington Hills, Kovach said.

“It is part of our strategy to develop our products in the markets where they are sold,” Kovach said.

Alpine is a subsidiary of Iwaki, Japan-based Alps Electric Co. Ltd. The company had global sales of about $1.64 billion in 2006 with 38 percent, or $623 million, of that in North America, according to Automotive News.

While the company’s original equipment division is based in Farmington Hills, its North American and aftermarket headquarters is in Torrance, Calif.

Kovach said Alpine’s 2007 original equipment sales are likely to remain flat in 2008 because of expected production cutbacks by the Detroit 3 but will then increase in 2009 and 2010 because of recent contract wins.

No comments: