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Pioneer plasma withdrawal won't mean cheaper Kuros

Customers looking to snap up a bargain-priced plasma after Pioneer's TV pull-out announcement will be disappointed as local representatives say prices will stay the same.

Unlike competitors such as Hitachi, Pioneer Australia says that its decision to pull out of the television market would not affect the pricing of its plasma panels.

Bargain hunters will need to look elsewhere. (Credit: Pioneer)

Last night, Pioneer Japan announced that it would stop future development on its flat panels, and withdraw from the display business by March 2010 — cutting 10,000 jobs in the process.

Pioneer Japan explained that it was shedding displays in order to concentrate on its lucrative car audio business, in addition to home audio and pro-DJ equipment.

The final, ninth generation Kuro has been on sale in Australia for several months, and Pioneer expects that stock will last until the end of the year.

However, Pioneer Australia's public relations manager Michael Broadhurst said he anticipates greater demand due to last night's announcement.

"People already know this is the best panel going around and they'll be keen to get one," Broadhurst said.

"We believe that demand for these panels will increase and as a result it will enable us to hold a higher price point rather than having to drop our prices," he added.

In March last year, Pioneer announced that it would outsource production to Panasonic for the tenth generation Kuro, but this will now stop. Broadhurst was unable to comment on whether Kuro technology would now be sold to Panasonic.

Pioneer Australia has around 100 employees and Broadhurst said that any local job losses would be decided by the end of March 2009.

"I'd like to confirm that Pioneer Australia is still very much going to exist. There were reports yesterday that the future was looking grim — certainly as a subsidiary we'll continue to exist, and it's been confirmed," Broadhurst said.

According to Broadhurst, the plasma division was only responsible for 14 per cent of the worldwide turnover, yet was the main reason the company hadn't turned a profit in five years.

Broadhurst also confirmed that the Pioneer-branded LCD displays and projectors available in overseas markets wouldn't be available in Australia as "the quality and standard didn't live up to our expectations".