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Pioneer’s Haga Discusses Sharp Investment

Long Beach, Calif. — Sharp’s investment in Pioneer is about new technology and engineering development and is not shared infrastructure or corporate operations, according to Tom Haga, chairman/CEO of Pioneer Electronics U.S.A.

In his first comments on the

Haga said Pioneer and Sharp have “a long history together” with Pioneer buying parts and components from its new investor. “It is difficult today to have one company develop technology … and do everything. In thinking for the future [Pioneer] knew this.”

And Haga observed, “Plasma and LCD are today’s [flat-screen] technologies, but there will be others in the future.” He added that Pioneer, or any one CE manufacturer, “can’t come up with everything on its own … to successfully support our dealers.”

While there was much talk in the original announcement about cooperation between the two companies in a variety of product categories, Haga noted, “Since we have shook hands [on the agreement] we do have a chance to sell [small-screen] LCDs, but we do not have a clear product program yet. It will take three or four months to set it up” and could include flat-panel TV, DVD, Blu-ray and other categories.

When asked about

The marketing philosophy of Pioneer, and Kuro for that matter, is that “we try not to just sell TVs. We sell a package, a brand, and it takes a long time to create a premium brand. Our strategy with our technology is to sell an experience — to sell home theater, audio and video systems, and provide quality products for our [retail] customers and consumers.”

Haga said that Pioneer’s U.S. operations are doing well and that for the upcoming fourth quarter, “We see a strong Christmas season and plan no changes. Kuro started shipping Sept. 1 and we have heard good things from our dealers. We expect a good season.” And when specifically asked about

14.28 percent investment by Sharp

in Pioneer, Haga told TWICE, “This is strictly engineering cooperation … and new technology development,” adding that there are no plans to share facilities, distribution or other areas with Sharp.

Kuro program

and ad campaign and how it will be affected by the Sharp investment, Haga said, “Kuro takes us into the premium [market] space, so there will be no change in our strategy.”

Black Friday

, Haga reminded, “We are a premium brand, which is why we created Kuro. We don’t chase price. We want to live in the premium part of the market.”