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Harman and Bose Seek In-car Supremacy

Automotive News -- Bose Corp. and Harman International Industries turned up the volume at the top of the branded in-car audio segment in late March with back-to-back feats.

On March 26, Bose Corp., which originated branded in-car audio with the 1983 Cadillac Seville, said its 34-speaker Bose Panaray system will appear in the 2016 Cadillac CT6 sedan.

Five days later, rival Harman International Industries Inc. counterpunched, saying it would pay 145 million euros, or about $154 million, to acquire the Bang & Olufsen Automotive car audio business, including the Bang & Olufsen and B&O Play brands.

The acquisition added another glamorous name to Harman's already bulging trophy case of high-end audio brands offered in Audi, BMW, Lincoln and Volvo vehicles, to name a few.

The Bose and Harman announcements threw into sharp relief the different strategies of the two leading companies in branded automotive audio.

Bose has steadfastly stuck by its strategy that its brand is prestigious enough to cover a wide array of automotive applications, from the Chevrolet Malibu to the Cadillac CT6.

"Because we're a very authentic company, we sweat all the details and put consistently great sound systems in these cars no matter what the range is," says Marc Mansell, vice president of Bose Automotive Systems Division. "The consumers have a trust for the Bose brand at the end of the day because of the products we've put out."

Product categories pioneered by Bose include noise-canceling headphones, direct reflecting loudspeakers and its SoundDock tabletop speaker for iPods.

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