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You’ve waited long enough. Get the car stereo of your dreams with savings on receivers, speakers, amps, and subs.

About Car Toys

Established in 1987 - Car Toys is the largest independent multi-channel specialty car audio and mobile electronics retailer in America with locations in major cities across the western United States including Seattle and Spokane, Washington; Portland, Oregon; Denver, Colorado Springs and Ft. Collins, Colorado; and Houston and Dallas/Ft. Worth, Texas.

Brands We Sell

Whether you shop with us in-store, online or by phone, we offer a broad selection of the very best mobile entertainment, navigation, road safety and security systems available from world-famous brands like Pioneer, Kenwood, Alpine, Kicker, JL Audio, Focal, Infinity, JBL, Metra and many other top manufacturers.

April 1, 1987

First Car Toys Location

  • First Car Toys location in Bellevue, WA opens.
  • Items being sold included in-dash Cassette players, CD, Speakers, Amps, Subwoofers, etc. Car alarms, radar detectors, pagers (big seller) and car mounted cell phones (with cords) and “brick” sized handheld portable phones. Also sold “briefcase phones” which had the car mount style and battery built in-to a briefcase. Some popular phone models were Motorola, Panasonic, Mitsubishi, Novatel.
  • The store employees on opening day included our CEO Dan Brettler.
Summer 1988

Started “Car Wars”

Started “Car Wars” audio sound competitions which eventually grew into off-site tent and sound competitions, the first one being in a large parking lot near Car Toys in North Seattle.

“Car Wars” came to an end when we got in trouble for the name so closely resembling “Star Wars”.

The first one was in the parking lot of our Eastside location. This is how Tent Sale got its start.

Summer 1989

First Tent Sale Event

First Tent Sale event, held in North Seattle in the parking lot which now has an Outback Steakhouse.

Spring 1990

Dan’s Birthday

Dan’s Birthday Bash commercials with his (studio) mom began and ran until 2000.

1990s

CD Head Units Rise in Popularity

CD head units become increasingly popular, head units that were capable of reading CD-RWs and playing MP3 files became available, and DVD functionality also appeared in some high end vehicles and aftermarket head units.

Source

1993

Car Toys 6th Anniversary Sale

1994

“A Better Way to Go”

  • “A Better Way to Go” is introduced as the Car Toys slogan and jingle.
July 1, 1996

First Oregon store

  • First Oregon store opens in Jantzen Beach area of Portland.
1996

Acquired Chelsea Audio

  • Acquired Chelsea Audio in Portland, and began Oregon expansion.
  • Spokane Stores opened in Washington State.
1998

CarToys.com launched

  • Car Toys hosts the U.S. Launch of Clarion Auto PC, the first car stereo to operate on Microsoft Windows CE.
  • Dan Brettler recognized as the Ernst & Young “Entrepreneur of the Year” for the Wholesale/Retail category.
  • “David and Goliath” - Car Toys mobile concert stage and support vehicle started traveling the country.
1999
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First Colorado store

  • First Colorado store opens in Boulder on May 29th.
  • Introduction of the Panasonic Mobile DVD System, the first in-vehicle DVD system in the U.S.
2000’s (General market info

Bluetooth tech

  • Although Bluetooth tech was developed in 1994, head units gained the ability to interact with it in the 2000’s. The accuracy of consumer GPS systems also increased during the first part of the decade leading to an explosion in both OEM and aftermarket navigation systems.
September 28, 2000

First Texas store

  • First Texas store opens in Hurst.
2002 and 2003
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2008
2010’s (General market info)

OEMs stopped offering cassette decks in new vehicles

  • 2011 was the first year that the OEMs stopped offering cassette decks in new vehicles.
  • Last car to roll out with an OEM cassette player was a 2010 Lexus SC 430.
  • Several OEM’s stopped offering CD changers after the 2012 model year.
2017

830 Employees

  • 830 Employees.
  • 48 locations in Washington, Oregon, Colorado, and Texas.