January 20th 2018

Business / News

Pioneer Gulf FZE brings latest car infotainment to Kenyan market

Speaking at the launch today, Mr Muralidhar said the company has strengthened its relationship with Kenyan dealers and last year signed a service partnership with Sight and Sound Limited, which will provide after-sale services for customers with Pioneer Warranty Cards.

By Oscar NdundaWednesday, 23 Nov 2016 18:04 EAT

The Advanced Remote Control (ARC) unit.

Pioneer Gulf FZE today launched a wide range of new aftermarket car infotainment products that will revolutionise drivers’ experience. The company, which is a world leader in car infotainment, announced its 2017 in-car receivers based on new hardware platforms to enable more advanced features and enhanced audio reproduction.

The products are designed to hit the new car market in 2017, but the company has made them available for owners of cars already in the market who have the choice of upgrading preexistent sound systems in order to make use of the latest technologies in the market. Kenya is a major growth market for Pioneer products in Africa and today’s launch was among the first by the company, which is a branch of Japanese Pioneer Corporation with responsibility for Middle East, Africa and CIS markets.

The Pioneer brand was introduced in Kenya only seven years ago but it has captured a big market due to its performance and affordability. The brand has registered a 45 percent increase in sales in 2016 compared to last year. “Pioneer is committed to creating the best driving experience, and these new receivers reflect our effort. Through continual research and development, we now allow our customers to conveniently customise their sound system, while adding more popular apps and content to the existing mix,” said Mr Muralidhar M, General Manager, Product Planning & Marketing Department, Pioneer Gulf FZE at the launch of the products which include 15 different categories of Headunits, 4 Car Amplifiers, one Car Subwoofer and one Equalizer.

Latest car models in the Kenyan market like Land Cruiser Prado come with advanced sound systems, but most Kenyans rely on entry level cars from Japan and UAE, which are often several years old by the time they are imported into the country. Pioneer has served such car-owners with latest technology sound systems which can be customized as required. The company upgrades its technologies each year, and customers can buy the improved versions for prices as low as Sh7,000 or Sh8,000.

Some of the technologies introduced today will bring to Kenya for the first time sound systems available only in developed countries, including Apple Car Play and Android Auto which connect mobile phones to audio systems in the cars. As the names indicate, the two systems are synced respectively with iPhone and Android operating systems. Pioneer Corporation was the first company in the world to bring both systems to cars three years ago.

The flagship model of the Apple Car Play is the AVH-X8850BT, which like the Android Auto uses voice recognition software to enable the driver’s communication with the headunits. The driver can command the headunit to perform such tasks as calling, messaging and playing music without taking time off to physically reach the mobile phone, thereby helping increase the drivers’ concentration and minimizing road accidents.

The Pioneer Advanced Remote Control (ARC) and App Radio Live, which are available on Android, will be the most popular in Kenya. Using touch screen technology, these stems come with a wide variety of advanced features allowing the driver to access maps, music and calendar among others. Their prices vary from entry level to high end. Connected by USB cable or Bluetooth, the systems provide free downloads from Google Appstore.

The DEH-X1952VB comes in a special one din headunit with 2 preouts, Carbon Fiber Finish, Dual Illumination, and Colour customization feature being brought at a lower price point. Other models include one din DEH-X1950UB, DEH-X1952UB, DEH-X1953UB, DEH-X2950UI, DEH-X3950BT, DEH-X4950BT, and DEH-X7850BT CD receivers and their MVH-X195UI, MVH-X395BT digital media version, as well as the 2-DIN FH-X785BT CD receiver.

Speaking at the launch today, Mr Muralidhar said the company has strengthened its relationship with Kenyan dealers and last year signed a service partnership with Sight and Sound Limited, which will provide after-sale services for customers with Pioneer Warranty Cards.

The company is also growing its installer base, and was to conduct later today a seminar for installers from some of the leading auto garages. “Our strong relationship with these market influencers is proof of good sales numbers by creating great value in the market thereby meeting our customers' needs and expectations,” said Mr Muralidhar.

The company has found that market demand for its products in Kenya is the best in East Africa, attributing this to the music culture in Kenya.

The writer is the news editor of the Kenya Free Press

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