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06 Feb

Mild Remote Start Season Worrisome for East Coast Retailers

Tuesday, February 07, 2012 -- By Jaime Sorcher

For those in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states, there hasn't been much of a winter, and many in the remote start business are already looking ahead to spring.

According to the Northeast Regional Climate Center based at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., this is one of the warmest, least snowy winters on record. The combination of winter's prevailing storm path with warmer temperatures has meant little or no snowfall. For those who live up and down the East Coast, it's quite a change from last year.

At Soundcraft Car Stereo in Waterford, Conn., the Christmas pre-sales of remote start were not what was expected or hoped for, according to manager Josh Brunelle. "We haven't had any real snow. Usually by this time of year, we would be doing three remote starts per installer a day. But this year's winter is the exact opposite of what we had last year. We only had that one major snowstorm earlier [October] in the year."

The winter of 2010-2011 had blizzards that pummeled the Northeast dumping a total of 56 inches on New York City alone by the end of January, while Boston had tallied 40 inches. In fact, a year ago three winter storms qualified as Category 3 (Category 5 is the most extreme), which means at least 10 inches of snow has to fall. Other factors include the area impacted and the population of that area.

With temperatures hitting 60 degrees several times already this winter, folks are doing just fine without warming up their cars in the morning.

Gene Avras, owner of Precision Sound in Dedham, Mass., thinks the "season" may be lost. "Weather is definitely a good push and this year the weather we have has not been a help. Winter never started here, so people are thinking about spring now," he says. "They're not thinking about remote start."

Just as the weather dictates slower remote start sales, some retailers are taking the hint and readying for a possible early Spring.

According to Mike Molchan, owner of MM Innovations in Allentown, Pa., things have been quiet on the remote start front with weather a definite factor. "Any time it gets real cold, there's a surge in business," he says. "Christmas was slower this year, but now people are already looking for warmer weather, so what we're seeing is our car audio business picking up."

And with Spring comes another set of issues, unrelated to weather, commented Avras. "There's the price factor, too," he says. "With new vehicles, the automakers are making it more complicated. What used to be an 8-bit encryption is now a 120-bit encryption. Now the price of labor goes up and so does the cost of the components."

Last modified on Wednesday, 30 December 2020 09:21
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