When you run across one of those cars that looks like it exists primarily as a mobility device for the off-the-charts sound system it houses, chances are good it’s got some Rockford Fosgate audio components in it. The company is a pioneer in high-quality car audio equipment, aggressively building a brand over the past 30-plus years, which has a fanatic consumer following, says CEO Bill Jackson. Those brand-building efforts are ongoing, and they get a big boost from the company’s tricked-out Mercedes-Benz Sprinters.
“Our Sound Lab Sprinters have redefined the role of a demonstration vehicle and have become an integral part of our dealer support program.”
“Brand awareness is probably our biggest challenge,” Jackson says. Although Rockford Fosgate is well known within the car audio community, its goal is to reach more consumers and allow them to experience its products. “Our dealers are constantly looking for ways to get consumers excited about car audio and to build retail, in-store traffic. The Sound Lab Sprinters provide a perfect platform for us to do this. There is no better way to understand Rockford Fosgate or our products than to experience a Sound Lab Sprinter,” he says.
Modified and customized in-house
The company’s two Sound Lab Sprinters started out as 2008 Sprinter Model 3500 High Roof Cargo Vans with the 170-inch extended wheelbase. The vehicles were highly customized in-house to support the space, weight, and electrical needs of the audio equipment they carry, and to accommodate a specialized “pressure chamber” that allows three listeners at a time to experience the full effect of that equipment. They crisscross the nation and will tour 41 cities this year.
Many car audio companies have stopped using demonstration vehicles because of the expense involved in building and maintaining them, but Rockford chose not only to continue, but to break the mold with its Sound Lab Sprinters. “The Sprinter has really allowed us to move to a different level,” Jackson says. “Their design is perfect for our needs, allowing us to build a platform that is reliable, economical, flexible, and adaptable to a variety of dealer and promotional needs. The most pleasant surprise was how easy they are to drive.”