Steve, I really hope Escort doesn't find themselves in a "wag-the-dog" syndrome with their Escort C65.
As large (in overall sales) as the Escort Passport series is, their revenues are easily eclipsed by the super-huge "sell-everything" retailers who certainly have their own interests at heart (instead of the manufacturers they may represent).
It's really unfortunate if this situation were to develop: that is the largest and most inefficient retailers (at understanding the products they sell) simply dominate the selling climate merely by their size and (discounted) price.
I suspect there's a reason why Cobra's marketing literature has devolved
to the point that they prominently display that they can detect 15 bands
--given the fact they need something distinguishing (if only in appearance) and an ever-increasing number (regardless of how pointless and misleading it is) is a quick and dirty way to do it.
Sounds awfully like the consumer digital camera megapixel race.
Anyone really familiar with digital photography, knows that more isn't always better and there is a lot more to picture quality than sheer megapixel count.
I would argue that a radar detector, like the Escort C65
, is even a more specialized "consumer" electronics device.
I suppose with the dire predictions of retail performance in '09 this may be an attempt to potentially mitigate a drop in sales revenue with the Escort C65 into these mass-retailers. But, I have never been a fan of "racing to the bottom" and I certainly hope that Escort doesn't begin down this path.
It's taken them a considerable amount of time to create a healthy dealer network with established MAP policies. It would be a damn shame to see that undermined because of some short-sighted "boardroom" stratagem.
My vote would be to stick with the dealer [networks] that got you to this point and not to "sell-them-out" in-lieu of a potential "quick-buck" scheme.
The economy will certainly turn-around and the steady players will ride out the storm. Let the other short-term-thinkers (who have nowhere else to go but to cut
prices and subsequently profit margins) cut their own throats, during these "trying" times.
You'll be in a much healthier position when things come back around again (which, in time, they will).
With the current technological lead both Beltronics and Escort have firmly established over the last couple of years, they certainly should be solidly in the former (rather than the latter) camp.