Mio - Dead in the US
UPDATE: I just heard from Mio clarifying that they are not walking away from the US market with the Mio brand. They appear to be getting into select channels with new modesl coming in May. they said:
"In response to the article published in GPS Business News entitled "Mio closing business in the US" on April 3, 2009, Mio announced that the company will continue the sales in the North American market. Mio will offer products in selected channels and launch new products in May. Mio emphasize that the company will also continue to deliver sleek, easy-to-use portable navigation devices to the market, and also accelerate the development of a variety of innovative GPS-based lifestyle products that extend the user experience well beyond traditional PNDs."
According to GPS Business News, Mio has shut its doors on the US operation, a victim of the economy and a series of misses with consumers for their recent releases. We've come a long way from the launch and great success of the Mio 310X that was a hit on Black Friday 2006. Mitac, Mio's parent swallowed up a pioneer in the business, Magellan, and I would imagine that they will innovate through that brand in the US market.
No Need for Mio
The prices on GPS units have fallen so much in the last 2 years, that there is no room for a lower priced brand under the big names. When Garmin and TomTom had their units at $350, a 15% savings was meaningful and worth the trade-off. With prices over the holiday period at $99, there was hardly room for a value play underneath them. Mio has taken an innovation track lately, offering bigger, better features instead of stripped down market entry only units. They will need this strategy to survive.
Mio is still a large global player, and I would assume, their parent company, Mitac a large contract manufacturer of GPS units for other brands. I am confident that we'll see Mitac stay in the US market if the economy comes back, but in what form I don't know. With new competition from other strong players like Navigon, they'd better not let Magellan slip too far.
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Posted by Scott Martin at April 5, 2009 8:52 PM
MIO has issued a "statement of clarification" refuting the article
To me, it's not clear if they mean to kill off the Mio/Moov line and replace it with Magellan, or if they really will keep the Mio/Moov brand.
I got emailed that statement of clarification from the Mio folks first thing Monday morning.
It seems to me that the Magellan brand will continue to get innovations, and they will use the Mio brand in other ways through other "select" channels. To me this means that they will have limited offerings with certain feature packs available at a single retailer or a smaller set.
I wouldn't be surprised if the hardware platforms start to merge, especially if one brand becomes the major Mitac brand in the US.
Thanks for reading.