Hearne: Can Olathe’s Garmin Survive Changing Times?

siri_proFunny how distance can often lend some perspective…

I’ve just spent the past week running around half lost in Southern California in a rental Chevrolet Cruze. In Newport Beach and San Diego to be specific.  And since you guys are undoubtedly trapped at home gazing out at snowdrifts (as the hapless Scribe lamented to me yesterday), I’m more than happy to share my warm weather findings with you.

You can’t spend two days building snowmen and sucking down hot chocolate anyway, right?

For starters I forgot to bring my trusty Garmin navigation device on the trip.

Not very smart, but by necessity I’ve come to rely on iPhone 5‘s trusty advice-giver Siri. For the uninitiated, Siri is Norwegian for “beautiful woman who leads you to victory.”

In the case of Apple, Siri, is the app that answers just about every dumb question you can think to ask it. Questions like, “Directions to Starbucks,” “Find movie theaters” and “Find my hotel.”

And hey, it works – it really works.

Combined with that I’d noticed a magazine ad for Escort radar detectors and was reminded that they now include navigation – as do most cellphones – I began to wonder what the future held for the Olathe based navigation company that’s done so well in recent years.

images-2You know, Garmin.

No sooner than had I frankly come to a somewhat dismal conclusion, than out gushed the unhappy headlines.

******* “Garmin shares fall sharply on poor financial results”

******* “Garmin Reveals 4th Quarter Earnings Dud”

******* “Garmin triggers circuit breaker as stocks sink 10 percent.”

******* “Garmin to sell fewer navigation devices in 201”

The handwriting is on the wall.

Look, I know there are a lot of ways to skin the proverbial cat and Flying magazine just reported the news of Garmin’s first radar altimeter. Still the company made its bacon selling oodles (millions) of navi devices to consumers and chances are that market is headed south. Fast.2013-chevy-Cruze

Who needs to haul around a separate gizmos for directions, music, cell phone, etc. when it can be done on a single device?

BTW, I’ve got to hand it to GM and the Cruze, it’s not exactly an image car, but the build quality is light years ahead of American cars of not that long ago.



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3 Responses to Hearne: Can Olathe’s Garmin Survive Changing Times?

  1. Super Dave says:

    Not all of us are sitting on our butts at home watching snow drifts. In fact nobody I know is or can just sit at home for any silly so called midwestern snowstorm. A little lady I know from Minnesota laughes at how people around here freak over a couple of inches of snow.

    Yes you’re right, Garmin best pull a rabbit out of the hat or thats going to be one huge ass empty building in south Olathe. In this day and age if you hit the market with any new gadget you best be already working on it’s replacement or else probably find yourself out of business as fast if not faster than you got into it.

  2. smartman says:

    Garmin has best in class products for the non commercial aviation and marine industries. They are also developing niche products for biking, hiking, camping, cross country skiing and other leisure lifestyle applications.

    Not a lot of volume in those products but margins are good.

    Long term they will either acquire, merge or be acquired.

  3. paulwilsonkc says:

    Siri is great, but here’s where it runs amuck with me. If you really need to pay attention to where you are going, if you really need up to the minute directions and you also have a phone call come in, as frequently happens to me, the iPhone becomes ALL phone and NO navigation.
    I mean, its fine if you have 37 miles before your next turn, and you know that, but when youre into the final miles or blocks, you really dont know where you are and have to make turn after turn, it reminds me why there are two devices, a Garmin…. and… a phone.

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