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Sound United Looks to Automotive Sector for Growth, Leveraging Bowers & Wilkins Expertise

The battle for the in-car audio system is heating up. Bowers & Wilkins looks to extend its reach into the automotive sector.

Sound United Acquires Bowers & Wilkins

Sound United LLC, parent company to Bowers & Wilkins™, Denon®, Marantz®, Polk Audio®, Definitive Technology®, Classé®, and Boston Acoustics®, today announced its intent to capitalize on Bowers & Wilkins’ in-depth knowledge of the automotive audio industry to expand its development into the growing automotive market.

With high-end audio brand McIntosh recently partnering with Jeep for in-car audio, the battle for the automotive listening experience is heating up. Harman International, competitor to both Sound United and McIntosh Group, seems to have the largest market share extending its Mark Levinson and Harman/Kardon brands into vehicles. Meanwhile, Bose has also been a long standing player in car audio. Bang & Olufsen also recently joined the mix. It seems each specialty A/V company has realized they need to be an option in new car sales to sustain their prestige to the next generation of consumers. That should be good news for audiophile oriented car shoppers, although it doesn’t mean the add-on car stereo upgrades will become any more reasonably priced.

Here’s the rest of the story from the Sound United press release:

Sound United plans to leverage the acquisition of Bowers & Wilkins, which added considerable expertise and experience in the automotive field gained from previous car audio systems built in BMW, McLaren and Volvo automobiles for over a decade.

“The car is a very private and controllable space, making it an ideal opportunity to deliver fantastic audio experiences. In our view, cars are uniquely suited to offer a premium environment in terms of how people customize and engage with their entertainment. In many cases, even superior to many higher-end lounge spaces. Together, the new and stronger Sound United portfolio will offer existing and new automotive industry partners tailored access to the skills of our individual brands plus new, greatly increased group resources.”Dave Sheen, SVP of licensing and partnerships at Sound United

With a brand-led architecture, each company within Sound United’s portfolio, including Polk Audio, Denon, Marantz, Definitive Technology, Classé, and Bowers & Wilkins, is treated independently. This ensures the preservation of respective brand identities, engineering practices and marketing strategies, which can be uniquely tailored to automotive solutions.

By harnessing the scale of Sound United’s combined R&D, the newly expanded portfolio plans to extend research into next-generation technologies for all areas of automotive audio reproduction.

This formidable structure, along with a growing team of experienced car audio engineers and marketeers, puts Sound United on an exciting trajectory towards innovative in-car audio experiences. In the near future, customers of leading car brands will see and hear a suite of Sound United audio solutions offered in their vehicles, alongside the already-successful listening experiences available from Bowers & Wilkins.

“We have a deep well of knowledge in terms of an existing team with years of experience executing against top-tier partnerships with great automotive companies. Now with the support of Sound United, which views partnerships as a pillar for future success, we have more resources, support and expertise than ever before. Each of Sound United’s respected brands are ready for the potential to collaborate in the automotive domain, many for the first time.”Dave Sheen, SVP of licensing and partnerships at Sound United

For more information on how Bowers & Wilkins, Denon, Polk Audio, Marantz, Definitive Technology, or Classé can be your next in-car audio partner, please reach out to Dan Shepherd for further information at automotive@soundunited.com.

About Sound United
Sound United was founded in 2012 with a simple mission – to bring joy to the world through sound. Today, we’re one of the world’s largest portfolio audio companies and home to several legendary audio brands—Bowers & Wilkins™, Denon®, Marantz®, Polk Audio, Classé, Definitive Technology, HEOS, and Boston Acoustics®. Each brand boasts its own philosophy and unique approach to bringing home entertainment to life.

With centuries of collective experience, Sound United oversees the design and manufacture of a diverse array of premium audio products, including loudspeakers, sound bars, AV receivers, wireless speakers, amplifiers, turntables, and headphones. We create distinct and memorable listening experiences for a wide range of consumers in more than 130 countries. For more information on Sound United and our mission, please visit www.soundunited.com.

About Bowers & Wilkins
Bowers & Wilkins, founded in the U.K. in 1966, has been at the forefront of high-performance audio technology for more than 50 years. Bowers & Wilkins designs and manufactures precision home speakers, headphones, custom installation and performance car audio products that set new standards for innovation and sound quality, earning countless awards and accolades from the world’s leading recording studios and musicians. Bowers & Wilkins’ reputation is based on the unwavering pursuit of the best possible sound and an unsurpassable music listening experience. Learn more at www.bowerswilkins.com.

About Polk Audio
Polk Audio is an award-winning designer of high-performance audio products and the largest audio brand of Sound United. Founded in 1972, Polk is the market share leader in premium home theater speakers in North America, and is a leading manufacturer of sound bars, headphones, wireless speakers, mobile and marine speakers and amplifiers, and other high-performance audio products. For more information on Polk Audio, please visit www.polkaudio.com. All trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

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About Denon
Denon is a trusted world leader in the manufacture of the highest-quality home theater, audio and software products since 1910. Denon is recognized internationally for innovative and groundbreaking products and has a long history of technical innovations, including the development and groundbreaking commercialization of pulse-code modulation (PCM) digital audio and the first 13-channel AV receiver. Denon Electronics is owned by Sound United LLC. For more information visit www.denon.com.

About Definitive Technology
Definitive Technology is what obsession sounds like. Definitive Technology has been building beautifully designed, superior sounding home audio and home theater loudspeakers since 1990. Definitive Technology loudspeakers are among the most positively reviewed and honored high performance loudspeakers on the market. Definitive Technology is part of the Sound United family of consumer electronics brands. Audio/video specialty retailers throughout the United States and more than 40 countries around the world proudly sell Definitive Technology loudspeakers. For more information about Definitive Technology, please visit www.definitivetechnology.com.

About Marantz
Marantz was founded in 1953 by Saul Marantz with a simple philosophy: getting the listener as close as possible to the original recording. Marantz’s love of music inspired an uncompromising ear and eye for detail and led to the development of products that would define excellence for generations of listeners. Tantamount to Saul Marantz’s original mission, Marantz product design, materials and components result in the Most Musical Sound to this day. Marantz is a part of Sound United LLC. Additional information is available at www.marantz.com.

About Classé
Classé defines high-end audio with artful components heralding power and refinement. We passionately explore the best technical solutions to faithfully reproduce sound with the dynamics and detail contained in each recording. Classé elevates listening for audiophiles and audio professionals via the application of decades’ worth of experience, proven technologies, carefully selected components, and superior craftmanship.

For Classé, audio is a burning passion, the endless pursuit of transformative experiences, and a vast technical expanse to be explored. Classé – Start Listening. Learn more at www.classeaudio.com.

About Boston Acoustics
Founded over 30 years ago, Boston Acoustics is a world-renowned leader in high-performance loudspeakers. The company’s commitment to creating the best possible home entertainment experience is reflected in its advanced product design and engineering, which allows customers to enjoy high-performance audio while expressing an easy-to-use, easy to align personal style and taste. For more information on the company’s full range of advanced products, please visit www.BostonAcoustics.com.

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