By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Pioneer will drop its Premier car audio brand that has been offered as a limited distribution label for more than 20 years.
The company will end by January its dual brand strategy that sold the Premier brand through select retailers and the Pioneer car audio brand through general distribution. Instead, the company said it will strengthen its Pioneer brand.
“We will cease production of Pioneer Premier products at the end of 2009,” said Ted Cardenas, marketing director for mobile entertainment.
He added, “We’re not exiting any categories — we will continue with the same types of products.” The Premier line offered superior features to the standard line but in recent years the feature differences had narrowed. Premier CD players allowed a two-year warranty vs. one-year and shipped with an iPod cable in the box rather than as an option, as on the standard line, said Pioneer.
Cardenas said the Premier brand diluted the Pioneer name and caused some confusion globally as Premier has been offered only in the U.S. and Canada.
Going forward, the warranty on all Pioneer products will be one year, he said.
The move is also expected to result in overhead cost savings to Pioneer in packaging and inventory management. No layoffs at Pioneer are expected as a result of retiring the brand.
Pioneer said it will continue to support any Premier products in inventory or that are sold through the end of 2009 with the same technical, service and warranty support.
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