Mention the name Fender with respect to music and sound, and you'll likely think of electric guitars, loud amps, and the likes of Jimi Hendrix or Stevie Ray Vaughn—or even John Lennon. Fender's Stratocaster has become one of the biggest names in guitars.
Now, the Fender name is playing a part in the transformation of car audio. Now Volkswagen has partnered with Fender, as well as Panasonic, for premium audio systems that will debut in several Volkswagens for the 2012 model year. The Fender system will first be available in the 2012 Jetta GLI, then it will be offered in the company's upcoming (and yet unnamed) mid-size sedan, and later in the 2012 Volkswagen Beetle.
Premium car audio is not only something that makes a car more appealing, as automakers have found; it's something that shoppers are willing to pay extra for, so at a time when bottom lines are feeling the pinch it's a potential profit margin as well as a positive.
The Fender system will rely on the company's experience with amplification while featuring a proprietary Panasonic speaker system.
Volkswagen claims that the new system will offer "a unique sound that Americans will love." With nine speakers, including front dual voice coil speakers in front, as well as extended-range tweeters, the system claims to provide smooth mid-range response and a less harsh, distorted sound than rival systems.
Name-dropping certainly isn't anything new with respect to car audio. Old captive audio systems have been on the way out for a long time, replaced by audiophile options from makers such as Bowers and Wilkins, Bang & Olufsen, Bose, Mark Levinson, ELS, Lexicon, Harman Kardon, Infinity, and Sony, among many others. VW had previously offered Monsoon premium audio on some models, including the Jetta.