Is Halford’s digital move an opportunity missed for your firm?

Halford’s Autocentres will be working with technology manufacturers, Nextbase and Roberts Radio, to provide customers with a range of digital radio adapters and a new fitting service. So what, you may well be thinking.

The tie-up was trumpeted at Drive to Digital 2017, a conference held at the British Museum, attended by senior execs from audio and radio manufacturers and retailers, vehicle manufacturers and broadcasters.

Nextbase, the automotive technology manufacturer, and Roberts Radio will link with Halfords to offer new digital radio adapters that include Bluetooth and hands-free. The in-car DAB adapters can be either self-fitted or garage-fitted and available in Halfords for £99.

Halfords will pilot the deal in Surrey this autumn, ahead of a national launch across 315 centres in the new year.

But here’s the rub. If a customer has a digital radio upgrade at Halfords, could they also be tempted to try other services that are traditionally provided by a franchised dealer? While £99 a pop for a new radio may seem like small beer, it could mean leakage on a far higher scale.

The digital radio car adapter market across Europe has been boosted by the Norwegian switchover which completes at the end of 2017. The planned Switzerland switchover is scheduled for 2020 and the UK’s on-going digital radio switchover is progressing.

Laurence Harrison, market development director, for Digital Radio UK, said: “It’s clear drivers and passengers want to listen to the full range of digital stations in their cars. Initiatives and the industry investment in car conversion can establish car adapters as an important automotive category alongside satnavs and dashcams.”

There are 25 million cars on the road in the UK that do not have digital radio and it’s likely a good proportion of these drivers will want to upgrade. But will the UK’s auto retailers have the technicians and products to meet this demand – or will they be caught napping? If ever there was a case for a “me too” approach, this is it.

Rachel Gordon
Editor
Auto Retail Network

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