On October 2008, Pioneer named Susumu Kotani as president of the company and will be taking over the role starting November 16. The current president is Tamihiko Sudo. Pioneer is expected to report a greater-than-expected net loss due to slowing demand for electronic goods. Pioneer is expected to halt its plasma display panel (PDP) production operations by February 2009 and reduce the number of employees by 2000 this fiscal year with 514 of them already accepting early retirement. Pioneer will continue selling its awesome KURO plasma TVs but the manufacture of the KURO PDPs will be done by Panasonic. Pioneer previously forecasted sales of JPY780 billion but has reduced that to JPY700 billion yen, a drop of 9.6%.
Plasma TV sales are getting squeezed because of the enormous size in research and development toward improving LCD TVs performance. In addition, the investment toward adding more capacity for producing even larger LCD TVs have made it very difficult for smaller players such as Pioneer to compete. Pioneer’s KURO plasma TVs have been heralded as having the deepest black levels compared to any other flat panel TV and the company’s recent foray into LCD TVs have garnered praise. However, Pioneer’s strategy has been to target upper-middle class consumers who are experiencing economic difficulties for a variety of reasons. If I were in Pioneer’s shoes, I would take the brand even more up-market and target the upper class consumers or bring it down, all the way down, so $999 42″ KURO plasma TVs can be bought at CostCo.
[tags]Pioneer, KURO Plasma TV, Susumu Kotani, Tamihiko Sudo, KURO LCD TV, KURO[/tags]