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Alpine, Clarion Implement 30% Cuts

4/03/2009 02:07:00 PM Eastern

Tokyo — Car audio and electronics suppliers Alpine Electronics and Clarion Co. plan to cut global expenses by a third due to a weak outlook for car sales, said the Nikkei.

In line with the report, Alpine released a statement on March 17 saying it will slash 2,500 jobs both in Japan and abroad, trimming its workforce to 11,500.

The company also said employees including directors and management would take salary reductions, many of which will be 20 percent to 35 percent.

Overall, the company said it would trim its global corporate structure by 30 percent and it is working to “strengthen our organization to the point where we can be profitable even with 30 percent lower sales.”

 Clarion plans to reduce research and development costs to 21 billion yen, a 30 percent drop from the year ended March 31, said the Nikkei. R&D expenses have crept up due to new features in car navigation, but those will be cut by reducing the number of models and shifting development overseas. Fixed costs will also be cut by 30 percent.

Clarion said it had no further information to add to the above, but it neither conformed nor denied the Nikkei report.

Alpine responded to the report, stating, “We have reduced the overall headcount in North America but we are increasing resources in key areas to ensure growth for the future. Alpine is continuing to develop new products and we are committed … to support our aftermarket and OEM customers. We are strengthening our company to meet the needs … of the new economy."

In its March report, Alpine said it will “redouble” its efforts to produce iPhone/iPod connector devices for the car, and that it is bolstering its low end lineup of navigation products. It will also focus on rear-view and multi-view cameras for driver safety.

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