Pioneer Talks: Shops Sharp Blu ray And LCD TVs

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Pioneer Electronics will not open their own shops in Australia despite a move by the Company to expand their own retail operations in the US and China. The move comes following a major restructure of Pioneer management in Australia.

Recently appointed Tim O’Leary General Manager of Pioneer Electronics home electronics division said that the market is too small to support a retail store in Australia. Instead the Company is concentrating on growing their consumer electrons business via the specialist channel. O’Leary said that over the next few months Pioneer will launch several new products that will further cement their position at the “premium end” of the home electronics market.


Earlier this year Pioneer Electronics previous Managing Director Yasuo Sakuma told ChannelNews that he would like to see Pioneer Stores in Australia.  At the time he said “We are currently reviewing marketing options in Australia and Pioneer branded shops are just one option that we are considering”.

Yesterday in the US Masao Kawabata, chairman/CEO of Pioneer North America in an interview with TWICE Magazine addressed issues concerning the Kuro brand and Pioneer’s partnership with Sharp.
He said “We will consolidate our strengths because we have the HD Kuro display, high-quality Blu-ray players and premium speakers. We have a 70-year heritage in speakers and will give consumers every opportunity to learn more about Pioneer”.

 He added “The success of our business, combined with the premium product strategy, is to forecast our dealer needs and have the right products and inventory for each market. We hope this will also help them go through this difficult financial time so that when consumers are making a premium choice, they have the right Pioneer product available. Our premium business strategy has continued to allow us to separate ourselves from the market during this challenging economic time”.

 

When asked about Pioneers ability to compete in the premium end of the market he said “At Pioneer we have spent the last few years elevating our home electronics brand into a premium space. This premium strategy has strengthened our dynamics with both our retailers and our customers. We do not want to participate in the commoditised discounting that is taking place. We are simply not interested in this market”


 On the question of their automotive technology Kawabata said “Pioneer is focused on developing and integrating new technologies that continuously enhance the in-car experience and respond to on-the-go lifestyles of today’s consumer, by expanding functionality and ease of use and maintaining rigid testing that far exceeds industry standards. Pioneer will continue to focus on providing “beyond navigation” products in 2009, as well as other cutting-edge technologies that differentiate the company and its products”.

When asked about the roll out of Pioneer branded LCD TVs and Pioneers relationship with Sharp he said “The partnership is going very well. Pioneer-branded LCD displays [from Sharp] have been introduced in Europe in 32-, 37- and 46-inch sizes. We will see similar products, for other markets from Pioneer sometime next year”.

I was happy to see at the recent CEATEC show in Japan at the Sharp booth there was a corner of it that showed Pioneer technology. And at our booth there was a display of Sharp technology. In both places we exhibited the extra-slim 65-inch and 52-inch LCD displays. We provided special speaker with these displays and engraved on the speakers was the Pioneer logo. Aquos customers can now enjoy good pictures and good sound”.

 

On the question of Blu ray he said “Blu-ray is still in its early-adopter phase. It may be the tail end of that, but it is still in the early-adopter period. It is a major product category of the future. But some companies want to offer discounted prices now. I think it is important to remember that Blu-ray is not a commodity product yet, so there is no reason to lower prices prematurely. Dropping prices alone is not enough to stimulate demand. We are not interested in just moving a lot of BD players or HDTVs, but would rather educate consumers on the value of owning high-performance and high-value products and creating demand that way”.

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