Pioneer pulls out of the Plasma TV market

8 February 2009 No Comment Mike Evans

Pioneer plasma TV
Pioneer are exiting the Plasma TV business. As reported by HDGuru, “…according to industry sources and confirmed by a Nikkei News report, Pioneer Corp. is ending production of its highly rated plasma HDTVs and will be exiting the TV business.”

This is awful news. I know the world-wide recession is hitting companies hard, but for Pioneer to pull out of the Plasma TV business, things must be bad.

Pioneer had been losing money with its Plasma TVs for some years, and so decided to outsource the business to Panasonic. However, Panasonic have themselves been having trouble lately, and so announced a six-month delaying the opening of a new plasma TV factory. This in turn reduced Panasonic’s plasma output, meaning it only had the capacity to produce Plasmas for itself or Pioneer – not both.

Obviously, Pioneer’s plasmas would be the ones to lose out, and so the company was left with the choice of pulling out now, or stopping production until Panasonic’s new factory opened up in 2010. The latter option was a non-starter,though, and so Pioneer have bit the bullet, and pulled out of the plasma TV business altogether.

It should be noted that Pioneer themselves have yet to confirm this, and have said only that:

“As a matter of policy, we cannot comment on rumors or speculation. As you know, we have publicly announced that we are actively evaluating our business. We started announcing changes in March, 2008 to increase efficiencies of our business operations. We are still in that process but do not have any further announcements at this time.”

All indications point to the ending of the plasma business, though, which is sad news indeed, as Pioneer make superb TVs.

The news also took the salesmen at John Lewis by surprise. My friend’s looking for a plasma TV, and a salesman overheard me telling him about Pioneer’s decision to pull out of the plasma TV business. “They can’t pull out,” he spluttered. “They signed a contract with Panasonic.”

Well, they might have, but faced with a six month gap where you can sell no TVs at all as there’s no factory to build them, what do you do?! He remained unconvinced. I should have told him to read tech blogs more if he wanted to stay more up to date, but he seemed even more upset about the news than I was, so I just left, feeling very unsettled about the state of the entire consumer electronics sector!

With Sony, NEC, Hitachi and dozens of other blue-chip consumer electronics companies shedding jobs in their tens of thousands, plus electronics distributors such as Empire Direct going to the wall, this is going to be a rough year for gadget manufacturers.

[Source: HDGuru, via Gizmodo]

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