Many people view OEM parts as generic “store brand” parts. This is especially the case when it comes to stereos in cars. Many music lovers aren’t too crazy about the idea of using factory stereos. They assume that the stereos were made by automakers that specialize in cars, not stereos.
What a lot of people don’t realize, though, is that plenty of cars come standard with premium name brand stereos. It has been common practice since the 80s. Even if a car doesn’t come with a name brand stereo, the factory stereo is still likely high quality.
Here are some famous examples of when premium stereo companies got top billing in car audio:
1. General Motors: Delco-Bose Audio
The partnership between GM and Bose happened in 1983. Bose engineered a sound system for GM K and E-body luxury sedans and coupes, including:
The Bose car stereo system had:
- Smaller speakers mounted in custom enclosures
- This helped promote loud and crisp sound
- 25-watt amplifiers mounted on the doors and parcel shelf
- Flashy Delco-Bose emblems
In the 1990s, GM and Bose redesigned the system to produce double the total wattage.
This partnership inspired other automakers to use Bose stereos into their vehicles. Such automakers included:
Modern GM vehicles come with either Delco or Pioneer stereo systems. Select Ford, Honda, and Mazda models come with a Pioneer stereo system, too.
2. Ford: JBL Audio System
In 1980, Ford partnered with JBL Audio System. Ford made a mistake, though. Ford didn’t advertise their partnership. The automaker didn’t put the JBL logo on its stereos, either. Instead, Ford put JBL stereos into its Lincoln models. Next, it advertised the sound system as some sort of OEM “Premium Sound” brand.
The JBL brand would have carried a lot of weight in the luxury car game. Ford realized this when GM partnered up with Bose 3 years later. When 1986 rolled around, Ford was shouting “JBL” from the rooftops. It offered the JBL audio system as an option for all Lincolns. The JBL emblem was prominent in many different places in the vehicle.
In 1997, Ford dissolved its partnership with JBL Audio. It eventually partnered with other audio brands, including:
- Bang & Olufsen
- Revel Audio
After Ford dropped JBL, the audio brand partnered with Toyota. It eventually partnered with Ferrari.
These days, Ford uses the following stereo brand names in its vehicles:
- Bang & Olufsen
3. BMW: Harman Kardon
By the time the mid 90s rolled around, the standard for factory car stereos is quite high. Car manufacturers kept one-upping each other. They did this by rolling out more modern designs and more advanced technology in their vehicles.
BMW was no exception. BMW didn’t jump on the Bose bandwagon. Instead, BMW partnered with another premium stereo brand: Harman Kardon. BMW outfitted the 1995 BMW 3 Series E36 model with a state-of-the-art Harman Kardon system. The system boasted the following features:
- Two speakers in the door
- A larger speaker in the kick panel
- Upgraded rear speaker
- Unique amplifier
Today, BMW vehicles come equipped with Lear sound systems.
The company that owns Harman Kardon owns a variety of premium stereo brands. The brands include:
- Infinity System (standard on many different makes and models)
- JBL (standard on many Ford and Toyota models)
- Lexicon (standard on many Hyundai models)
- Mark Levinson (exclusive OEM option for many Lexus models)
4. Audi: Bang & Olufsen
In 2005, Audi partnered with Bang & Olufsen (B&O), a high quality home audio system brand. B&O loaded the 2005 Audi A8 up with:
- Front tweeters that could raise from the dashboard when needed
- 14 speakers with 1000 watts and billet aluminum covers
The sound quality put out by the B&O system in Audi vehicles was excellent. In fact, a few other automakers followed suit and partnered with B&O, including:
- Aston Martin
Stick With Your OEM Stereo System
At this point, it’s pretty clear that many (if not all vehicles) come with premium brand name stereo systems. So if you want to install SiriusXM in your vehicle, it can be tricky. You could swap your OEM name brand stereo system for an aftermarket one with a built in satellite radio receiver.
Fortunately, there’s a much better solution. If you’re happy with your car’s head unit, you can keep your premium factory stereo and enjoy SiriusXM. All you need to do is install a VAIS satellite radio adapter. You can either:
- Integrate the adapter behind your dash
- Integrate the adapter via USB port
VAIS satellite radio adapter enables SiriusXM on your factory stereo. You can even change channels or the volume via the steering wheel controls. It’s as if your car came with SiriusXM!
Categories: Aftermarket Stereo