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Panasonic, Harman Exit GPS Market

12/16/2008 03:03:00 PM Eastern

New York — Panasonic and Harman/Kardon are the latest suppliers to exit the portable GPS segment as that market matures and the economy toughens.

Panasonic said its market exit applies only to personal navigation devices (PNDs) and not to its in-dash navigation line under the Strada sub-brand, said a spokeswoman.

Harman/Kardon said it discontinued sales under the Harman/Kardon label in the U.S. and did not ship the Becker branded line introduced at International CES last year. It withdrew “due to the aggressive price cutting that is straining margins for competitors in this segment. We continue to market PNDs under the Becker brand in Europe,” a spokesman said.

Earlier this week Magellan announced it reached an agreement to sell its consumer navigation division to Mitac, the parent of PND competitor Mio, as the list of PND suppliers continues to contract.

Others that have left the market recently include Audiovox, Dash Navigation, JVC and Cobra. Navman was also purchased by Mitac in early 2007.

Consumer electronics retailers report a glut of inventory at the low end of the market. Crutchfield merchandise director Tom Bancroft said, “The major name players are playing in the low end and they are really crushing tier-two and tier-three-type players. There’s almost no where to go at this point.”

He predicted sales for the industry for the fourth quarter will be flat in units and dollars. Last year for the quarter, sales were up by an estimated 400 percent.