Cartunes technician William Collier installs a custom sound system into a Polaris Slingshot. Other work done on the vehicle by Cartunes technicians included construction of new kick panels, the installation of enclosures behind the seats for subwoofers and custom lighting. Photo by Jon Gargis.

A new, larger facility could soon drive new sales at a Sandy Springs car customization business.

Cartunes of Atlanta moved into its new building at 8601 Roswell Road on May 4, a facility that nearly doubled its retail space to 14,000 square feet. Previously the home of a NTB Tire & Service Center, Cartunes’ new site replaces its previous location about five miles south, at 5834 Roswell Road, not far from I-285.

“We were bursting at the seams. We had already gotten to the point where we could not handle any additional business—we were turning people away,” Emran Alborno, marketing and operations manager, said of the move into a larger store, which features a remodeled showroom, larger work bay area, and a full waiting area for customers.

Cartunes specializes in high-end car audio, but also offers custom interiors, custom paint work and other services.
“We’re kind of a one-stop shop for people who want to leave their car here and do a bunch of things to it,” says Dak Kinard, who owns the store along with business partner Richard Grimm.

Kinard has owned the business since 2000, though Cartunes has been locally owned since 1978. He said the main change he has seen in the industry is the addition of more and more technology in vehicles, such as iPod connectivity, navigation and satellite radio systems, and radar detectors and laser jammers.

Though some new vehicles come pre-installed with these new technologies, Cartunes technicians can install the features on vehicles old or new, as well as replace factory-installed equipment with devices of the customer’s choice.

“Most of the vehicles out there don’t come with all the features that you see in the commercials,” Alborno said. “The larger market nowadays is the truck market, the F150s of the world, Dodge Rams [and similar vehicles], where about 80 percent of the vehicles that are actually released from the factory don’t have a lot of the features that you see on the ads, whether it be back-up cameras or an 8-inch touch screen.

“You can integrate those features into the base vehicle that you bought,” he said. “A lot of people go in and they get sticker-shock when they see the truck they saw on television for $80,000, but they can get the same exact-looking truck with a lot less features for $50,000, and then go and spend $3,000 or $4,000 at Cartunes and get just about every feature they have.”

Cars and trucks are not the only vehicles serviced at Cartunes. Technicians have added features to motorcycles, ATVs, boats and even an airplane.

Cartunes technicians, Kinard said, undergo schooling each year to learn about new vehicles and trends in the industry. That training is needed as the technology in the vehicles keeps growing. The future of the industry, Kinard said, will likely have cars speaking to their owners’ increasingly wired homes.

“The only thing we really see coming down the pipe is more automation in cars, a lot of home integration with cars, so when you pull up to your house, it turns on the air,” Kinard said. “A lot of smart things are going along with the computer car, like the Tesla. It’s an ultra-high-tech world, and usually the cars are the forefront of technology.”

–By Jon Gargis

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