The automotive audio industry has been a busy and competitive business segment for several decades. What began on the west coast in the 1970s spread to the rest of North America in the ‘80s and from there to the OEM side for automakers around the turn of the millennium.
Entering its 10th year with luxury brand Lexus, Harman and Mark Levinson recently celebrated their latest partnership for high-end mobile audio with the release of the new Lexus CT200h hybrid sport wagon.
I was there in the early days when high-end audio came to our cars in the early 1980s and we were using JBL stage and studio monitors to achieve a level of sound quality on the road above none others. Repeatedly we were butchering our vehicles in back shops and garages (and rainy driveways) as we “pioneers” paved the way for the systems we see these days offered from the factory and integrated into vehicle design and ergonomics from the get-go.
Lexus chose high-end home audio producer Mark Levinson as a corporate partner for audio and entertainment systems in their top-of-the-line packages.
Surround sound, digital signal processing, digital amplifiers and optimal speaker placement have all played key roles in the advancement of mobile audio. It makes perfect sense to outfit the most advanced vehicles on the road today with state-of-the-art aftermarket outfits and such is the case with Lexus, Harman and Mark Levinson in the new CT200h.
We reviewed the vehicle last fall on a visit to the Crescent City and it quickly impressed. I look forward to a great road trip in it sometime soon and I know I will be pleasantly entertained during hours behind the wheel thanks to the technology and equipment provided by Harman and Mark Levinson.
From the press release sent GearDiary.com:
HARMAN High Performance AV (HPAV) recently participated in the worldwide launch event for the new Lexus CT200h hybrid vehicle. The launch commenced in December 2010 with the opening of the Lexus Salon at Harrods, the world-famous high-end department store located at Knightsbridge Road in London. Combining extraordinary performance and luxury with environmentally conscious hybrid operation, the Lexus CT200h is equipped with a Mark Levinson audio system.
The Lexus Salon showcased the CT200h and RX450h in a dramatic window display storefront. The display featured a variety of ultimate-performance Mark Levinson automotive systems and audio/video components including the flagship N° 53 Monaural Power Amplifier, N° 502 Media Center, N° 326S Preamplifier and other products.
“We were honored to be part of the worldwide launch of the Lexus CT200h,” said Jim Garrett, Market Manager, HARMAN High Performance A/V. “The CT200h hybrid vehicle represents an important new direction for the future of the luxury car industry, and both Lexus and Mark Levinson, share a commitment to quality and excellence in design.”
The showcase was designed to provide shoppers with full access to the vehicles and their interior features. One of the window units along Harrod’s Brompton Road façade was devoted exclusively to Mark Levinson. Customers were also able to take test drives and new vehicle orders were completed right in stores as well.
The long-standing Lexus/Mark Levinson partnership, which dates to 2001, features audio systems which offer up to 19 speakers, 450 watts of power and 7.1 channel surround, depending on car model. The audio components are specifically designed to the automotive interior, bringing drivers the same premium sound in every seat that discriminating audiophiles expect from their home systems. The ultra-quiet CT200h hybrid is offered with a 13-speaker Mark Levinson system and six-CD changer.
HARMAN (www.harman.com) designs, manufactures and markets a wide range of audio and infotainment solutions for the automotive, consumer and professional markets – supported by 15 leading brands including AKG®, Harman Kardon®, Infinity®, JBL®, Lexicon® and Mark Levinson®. The Company is admired by audiophiles across multiple generations and supports leading professional entertainers and the venues where they perform. More than 20 million automobiles on the road today are equipped with HARMAN audio and infotainment systems.