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Aiwa, Sony Now One As Branding Plan Evolves

Park Ridge, N.J. – Aiwa’s move from affiliate of Sony to a wholly-owned subsidiary, which was announced in March, occurred on October 1 as predicted, with some decisions being put in place as to how the brand will work in the marketplace.

Specifics on the brand’s position in the marketplace have not been finalized yet but are expected to be made by the end of Sony’s fiscal year in March 2003.

Sony expects the move will provide benefits such as a more efficient management structure, provide the company to offer products in the Aiwa line that Sony doesn’t carry, and strengthen product launches, according to Sony senior VP and communications director Rick Clancy.

“This move also allows us to efficiently use resources in product design and technology and optimize our human resources,” Clancy said.

Aiwa America president and CEO Jim Palumbo and his sales organization now report to the Sony Electronics Group.

Clancy added that one of the decisions that has been made about Aiwa’s presence in the marketplace is that “Aiwa products would be sold to select dealers,” meaning that fewer retailers would be selling the brand. No further details on distribution strategy have been set.

The distribution strategy and Clancy’s comment that new Aiwa products would take a “fun and creative approach,” concur with comments by Sony Electronics’ president Fujio Nishida in June (TWICE, June 17, p. 26). “Next year Aiwa will focus products on [demographic] segments versus mass distribution. Selected distribution targeted for Gen Y can make it different from Sony,” Nishida noted.

Clancy disagreed with the notion that Sony would use the Aiwa brand the way other manufacturers use a good/better/best approach, such as Philips and Magnavox, SharpVision and Sharp, among others.