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JVC Consolidates Sales Regions

Wayne, N.J. — JVC Company of America said Friday it will consolidate its regional sales offices, effective July 1.

Under the move, the company’s East Coast branch office will be merged with the Southeast branch, and the Midwest branch will be merged with the West Coast branch.

“This restructuring gives JVC a much more efficient sales organization and reflects the consolidation that has taken place at the retail level,” stated Craig Geiger, JVC executive VP/COO.

A JVC spokesman said the move will result in the elimination of some administrative support positions, but declined to say how many would be affected. No buildings will be closed, however. Sales offices in Wayne, N.J., and Aurora, Ill. continue to house sales staff, he said.

However, those people will now report to the new Eastern and Western region offices in Lawrenceville, Ga., and Cypress, Calif., respectively.

“Now there’s only two branch offices administering sales, where as in the past we had four separate regional offices administering sales,” said Terry Shea, a JVC spokesman, who added the changes had nothing to do with the possibility of a pending merger of the company with Kenwood that was reported recently out of Japan.

The new Eastern Branch office, based in Lawrenceville, will be headed by Doug Gee, the VP/branch manager, who formerly headed the Southeast branch.

The new Western branch, based in Cypress, will be headed by Michael Hackett, the VP/branch manager, who formerly headed the West Coast branch.

Bob Nizza, former East Coast VP/branch manager, has been named East Coast region sales VP.

Bill Utermark, former Midwest branch manager/general manager becomes Midwest sales region general manager.

In other news, Nikkei reported out of Tokyo Thursday that JVC will withdraw from the Japanese car audio market, citing lackluster sales, and will focus on overseas sales and domestic OEM operations.

Nikkei said JVC will send its final shipments to domestic auto parts stores by the end of this month. It will close sales offices in 10 locations, while 30 sales personnel will be assigned to other operations.

Nikkei said JVC’s Indonesian plant will produce products on an OEM basis for Japanese carmakers as well as items to be marketed under the JVC brand overseas.

Nikkei said the Japanese market for aftermarket car audio products has contracted sharply since many cars now come with brand-name audio systems.

Bill Turner, JVC of America mobile entertainment VP, said the decision in Japan “was not suddenly arrived at” and that the process started over a year ago.

As for U.S. sales, he said, they are “exceeding plan.”

“I couldn’t be happier to be honest with you. [Our sales] are an anomaly in the industry right now because car audio is down,” he added.

The company’s flagship KDNX5000 in-dash DVD/navigation piece “is selling particularly well,” he added.

In the Japanese company’s global fiscal 2007 business plans drawn up at the end of May, JVC said it aims to focus on products including LCD televisions and camcorders and will prioritize car electronics as a growth area. — Amy Gilroy contributed to this story.