Alpine Electronics, Inc.(アルパイン株式会社?,Arupain Kabushiki-gaisha) is the consumer electronics subsidiary of the Japanese electronics component manufacturer Alps Electric, specializing in car audio and navigation systems.
In 2006, 76% of Alpine's revenues came from OEM sales. BMW and Honda have offered unbranded audio systems manufactured by Alpine, and companies such as Dodge and Jaguar Cars have offered co-branded Alpine audio systems in their vehicles.
Established in 1967 as Alps-Motorola — a joint venture between Alps Electric and U.S.-based Motorola — it became Alpine Electronics, Inc. in 1978 when Alps bought out Motorola's share of the company.
The five stripes in the Alpine logo were added in 1987. Originally light blue to contrast with the letters which were in dark blue, they were later changed to one colour. The stripes stand for different aspects of Alpine's philosophy.
At the Alpine Museum in Japan there is a model "7307" radio/tape recorder (circa 1981) shot by an American (Roger Holdaway of SpeakerWorks in Orange Ca) using a .45-caliber pistol at a distance of 4 feet. The owner, frustrated with the performance of the product, shot the unit and returned it to Alpine. This gesture brought home to Alpine the importance of product quality, and as a result they spent US$25 million on a testing and evaluation centre in Iwaki-city, Japan.
Alpine was one of the first in the industry to introduce in-vehicle iPod devices to allow users to control iPod playback using the head unit's front panel buttons or remote; view song information (artist, album and/or song name) on the display; and easily search for songs through the receiver's Quick Search interface. Alpine introduced the first aftermarket Interface Adapter for iPod (KCA-420i) in 2004, letting users experience optimized sound quality and control of digital music files in the car. In 2008, Alpine introduced a full line of iPod integration Digital Media Receivers. In 2009, Alpine introduced the first double-din iPod digital media station, the iXA-W404.
Alpine introduced the BioLite display technology in their 2004 receiver lineup, claiming that it provides "a much wider viewing angle than conventional displays and outstanding visibility, even in harsh daylight."
Alpine continues to develop in-vehicle navigation aftermarket and OEM devices. In 2004, Alpine introduced the NVE-N872A in 2005. The DVD-based NVE-N872A was Alpine's fourth generation satellite-linked navigation system, based on an Alpine in-vehicle navigation platform, which won J.D. Power awards four times in six years. In 2006, Alpine introduced their first portable navigation device, the PMD-B100. In 2008, Alpine introduced the PND-K3, an all-in-one portable navigation plus Bluetooth hands-free system. In 2009, Alpine introduced the PND-K3msn with information like traffic and weather updates.
The 1986 Buick Grand National, modified by SpeakerWorks in Orange, California, is believed to be the only vehicle ever to retire undefeated from the pro division of the national sound-off circuit. The black Buick won the Alpine Car Audio Nationals II Pro Unlimited (751 watts and up) division in 1988, and IASCA's Pro unlimited title in 1989, 1990, and 1991 before being retired by its owner, Richard Clark. Its sound system is composed of five model 3545 amplifiers and the model 7909 headunit.
Examples of vehicles equipped from the factory with Alpine equipment
Between the early 1980s until the end of the 1990s, when the partnership ended; as well as supplying car audio to Lamborghini, Alpine used their top of the range sports model (Countach, later superseded by Diablo) as a mascot car which featured in every product brochure and trade and public shows. The company's UK office, Alpine UK had a yellow Lamborghini Diablo SE30 Jota with the registration L666 LAM (referring to the Diablo name) which was often seen at shows and events.
The U.S. office, Alpine of America, Inc., onward from 2001, commissioned a series of cars, some with custom airbrush and extensively modified bodywork and interior, which is designed to incorporate as many of its products as possible, the cars usually appear in various shows throughout the country. The cars that were used were:
In 1984 Alpine acquired the Luxman brand of high-end home stereo equipment from Japanese Lux Corporation, and tried to merge their Alpine home hi-fi brand with the Luxman brand by co-branding the resulting products as Alpine/Luxman. Because of the differences in the way the products were built (Alpine used mainly standard stainless metals and plastics, Luxman used high end exotic metals) and product lines from both brands were branded Alpine/Luxman it created brand confusion in their markets, and nearly destroyed the credibility of the Luxman brand. The company later sold off the Luxman brand in 1994 to concentrate fully on the car audio business.
Between 1992 and 1995, Ford Australia offered a premium sound system developed in conjunction with Alpine to their high-end Fairlane and LTD models.
In the 1995 James Bond film "GoldenEye", the Aston Martin DB5 driven by James Bond featured an Alpine 7817R CD Tuner which acted as a Communication device and doubled as a colour printer/fax.
For the past few years, Alpine have sponsored a driver from the Andretti Green racing team in the IndyCar Series. After sponsoring Dario Franchitti in 2005 and Marco Andretti in 2006, they sponsored Tony Kanaan in 2007 and 2008.