CDTV Features

Profit Clinic: Armour Automotive

Time 9 years ago

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screen-shot-2012-01-23-at-163319If you’re looking for a way to generate more income at your dealership (and let’s face it, who isn’t?), Armour Automotive has something to offer that could be music to your ears.

The company is in the vanguard of technology and has a fantastic product that really could capture your customers’ imagination and drive additional revenue into your business.

But if the word ‘technology’ is a bit of a turn-off, please don’t think their offering is complicated to understand and even trickier to explain. It’s neither of those things.
It’s a simple and effective music-streaming hands-free car kit – and Vijay Punj, sales and marketing director at Armour Automotive, was on hand at Car Dealer’s Profit Clinic to tell delegates how it works.


In a presentation entitled ‘Innovation Onboard Driving Profitability,’ Punj explained that his company had only been working with car dealers for three to four years, making the channel a relatively new one for Armour.

But there’s no doubt the Armour Group is built on rock-solid foundations. It’s a leading consumer electrics group with an extensive product portfolio and serves 5,000 customers across more than 60 countries.

Punj told our audience: ‘Back in 2005-2006, we were looking to develop a product that would enable us to strategically grow our business over a five- to seven-year period. The experience we now have is one of developing an incremental revenue stream which we have successfully done over the last three years within the dealership community. ‘In terms of our customer base, it’s really around 220 dealers that we are selling this particular service to.’

When they were formulating their business plan back in the mid-noughties, Armour focused on the automotive Bluetooth market.
Punj explained: ‘The first thing that was apparent to us was that it was a very big market. The market itself in terms of unit sales on an international spread is worth around £3.8bn.’

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The company also found that the attachment rate of Bluetooth technology in vehicles would grow from around 20 per cent to 70 per cent by 2016, identifying an opportunity ‘not only for today but also for the future’.

Having decided to work in this area, Armour needed a strategic partner to work with and formed a relationship with a company called CSR, a leading UK-based Bluetooth manufacturer.

Punj continued: ‘The other thing we were witnessing at that time was a revolution within the mobile phone market. If you take the mobile phone accessory market on an international basis, that is valued at around £40bn. And from that amount, the sales of hands-free kits predominantly within that market account for about nine per cent.’

‘We are selling to approximately 220 dealers and have sold just over 6,000 kits’

Having identified an already sizeable and expanding market, Armour’s next step was to actually launch its new product, as Punj elaborated: ‘The brand iO was launched in 2008 and stands for innovation onboard. We now have a £3m business which is generated specifically on the back of selling this brand and the brand is very much established within the UK.’


Quite simply, things took off from there. Punj confirmed: ‘At this moment in time we are selling to approximately 220 dealers and in terms of the product itself we have sold just over 6,000 kits in this channel.

‘A large proportion of our product is also being sold into countries such as Australia and New Zealand. And the key thing is that we are not just promoting an opportunity to deliver profit on a one-off product. What we have in terms of the brand is a product with a range of accessories.’

So far so good… and Punj had more good news for the Profit Clinic audience: ‘To maintain the customer base that we’ve actually developed within the car dealership channel, we will be launching the next generation of iO, iO Play 2 (check), in April.’

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iO Play is the exact name of the product being promoted to car dealerships and Punj was quick to point out the benefits.
He said: ‘It fits any car, is fully compatible with iPod or iPhone and it enables people to play music which is stored on your mobile phone wirelessly through the existing speaker system that you have in your car – very high-quality music. The kit that we’ve got has a 180-watt amplifier built in.

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‘Basically, you get superior sound quality when you compare that to playing a CD on your current radio system.’
Installation takes between 25 and 40 minutes.And pricewise, the product costs a car dealer £85 and is sold for £255 – a profit margin of £170. Armour will also provide plenty of support for dealerships who go down the road of forming a relationship with the company.

Punj added: ‘We would offer you the training that would be required for your sales teams and installation teams, and I think it is important to bear in mind that it is a simple product. Realistically, the product should sell itself. ‘In addition to that we will also offer you the marketing collateral.’

In summing up, he said: ‘We have strong relationships with dealers but we still have a long way to go.’ Judging by the reception he received at the Car Dealer profit clinic, Punj will have been forming some more strong relationships recently. Will you be one of them?

James Batchelor's avatar

James – or Batch as he’s known – started at Car Dealer in 2010, first as the work experience boy, eventually becoming editor in 2013. He worked for Auto Express as editor-at-large and was the face of Carbuyer’s YouTube reviews. In 2020, he went freelance and now writes for a number of national titles and contributes regularly to Car Dealer.

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