Pioneer Australia are confident that they will be selling a new range of LCD TV’s and 9th generation plasma TV’s by Xmas with a big contributor being the fact that Australia is the 4th best market in the world for the Japanese electronics Company after the USA, Russia and Europe.
While the launch date is not set in concrete, Pioneer Australia Managing Director Yasuo Sakuma says that he is “convinced” that when Pioneer in Japan announce global allocation that Australia will be among one of the first Countries in the world to see the new Pioneer branded range of LCD TV’s.
“Right we are looking at configuration sizes and what is needed in these models for the Australian market. We have not spoken to retailers yet but we will do so when we know what allocation we will get. Australia has an excellent track record as a Pioneer subsidiary and we will be among one of the early markets to get access to the new LCD models. ” he said.
He also said in a face to face interview with SmartHouse that both the Pioneer branded plasma and their LCD TV offering will be positioned at the premium end of the market and that the Company will sacrifice “volume for profitability” when the new range is launched.
Last week Pioneer Electronics announced that they would stop manufacturing plasma TV but instead sell plasma TV’s manufactured by Panasonic but built to Pioneer specifications and including the Pioneer Kuro display engine which has been credited as being the best display engine in the world today.
They also announced that the Company which is now part owned by Sharp will roll out a new range of Pioneer branded LCD TV’s to complement the Pioneer plasma range. “Currently our engineers are working with both Sharp and Panasonic. We will use the Pioneer display engine as this is what sets us apart from other manufacturers. It is the best display engine in the world today”.
If Australia does get Pioneer LCD TV models in time for the peak buying period they will all be sub 50″ with the most likely size configuration to be 30 or 32″ to a 42 to replace the plasma 42″ which the Company recently dropped and a 46″ LCD model . This he says will allow Pioneer to fill a gap in their display offering. They will also offer two high end 50″ & 60″ 1080p 9th generation plasma TV’s.
In 2007 Pioneer Australia introduced the global “Kuro” brand marketing campaign in an effort to elevate their brand; however critics of the campaign have said that it did little to drive consumers into stores.
Yasuo Sakuma said “In 2007 we used marketing dollars from Japan to roll out a major brand campaign. We believe that it worked and we will be extending the campaign in 2008. It is important to us that we cut through with the message that Pioneer is a premium brand across both display and home theatre as well as sound systems. In 2007 we were happy with the display sales we achieved and the introduction of LCD models will allow us to compete in the small size market where we have struggled in the past”. He said.
“In 2007 we abandoned the bottom end of the home theatre market in favour of the mid to premium end and in 2008 we will be expanding and range however we will sacrifice volume for margin in this category which is currently growing”.
Yasuo also said that while Pioneer will still operate in the mass market channel they plan to expand their specialist channel offering. Key he said is the differentiating of the Pioneer display offering. We have one of the best display engines in the world and our Kuro plasma display has won numerous awards because of this engine. Now we are working with both Panasonic and Sharp to transfer this technology into both our LCD TV’s and our new thin plasma TV’s. The Pioneer display engine is key to our success”.
During the interview Mr Sakuma talked about the Kuro brand and the possibility of Pioneer branded retail shops in Australia. See seperate story.