Panasonic who is heading for a global $9.49 billion net loss is set to have a major crack at the Australian appliance market with a major launch tipped for the second half of 2012.Early next month the company plans to launch a new range of TVs and home theatre products despite witnessing significant losses from their display business.
Marketing executives at the Japanese company said there was “no marketing” budgets for the new range with all marketing dollars set to go into the launch in the second half of appliances that will include refrigerators and washing machines.
While not as glamorous as their new Smart TVs, the white goods category is set to deliver steady profits for the company.
Gemma Lemieux Director, Marketing Communications at Panasonic believes that the new range “Is as good as any in the market today. They products we will launch are already highly successful in the Japanese and Asian markets”.
Already a leader in the microwave oven market, Panasonic Australia is hoping that the appliance category will become one of their key profit generators for their Australian subsidiary. Locally the Company has been investing in research and personnel who have been studying consumer lifestyles and local appliance needs.
Globally the Company is bracing for a $9.49 billion net loss for this fiscal year. The company expects its fourth straight fiscal year of losses from its TV business.
Last year the company acquired Sanyo; a move that will see them focus on rechargeable batteries and solar panels despite the category facing tough competition from Korean and Chinese solar manufacturers.
Locally Sanyo has struggled to compete in the solar market. The General Manager of the Australian solar division Paul Reeves recently quit the company to take up a senior sales and marketing role with Turkish appliance Company Beko, who is currently launching a new appliance range in Australia.
“The white goods business is extremely important for Panasonic’s future,” Mizuho Investors Securities analyst Nobuo Kurahashi told the Wall Street Journal “It’s the only business where it can count on steady growth and profits,” he said.
Mr. Kurahashi said the market for white goods is less likely to be reduced to a simple price cut battle like the one plaguing TV sets, because such products combine both digital and analogue technologies and the entry barrier isn’t as low as it is currently for TV sets.
Mr. Kikuchi said he sees the need for alliances with other companies, including the possibility of acquisitions, in such mature overseas markets.