JAPAN NEWS: Pioneer kills off Kuro TVs, refocuses itself on car electronics

12 Feb 2009

Pioneer KRP-500A
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As rumoured last weekend, Pioneer has decided to withdraw from the display business, signalling the end of its Kuro TV line.

The products now on sale will be its last TV line-up.

The company says it "will terminate any further in-house display product development after its products currently available on the market, and withdraw from the display business by March 2010."

Instead, Pioneer is planning to "transform itself into an enterprise centred on the Car Electronics business". While it will continue to develop home electronics products, these will be "centered on three areas, namely audio products, DJ equipment and cable TV set-top box businesses.

"We will focus on our specialisation in 'sound,' as we take advantage of our extensive audio technologies and expertise developed over the years to develop new business domains."

A spokeswoman for Pioneer UK has confirmed that Pioneer will continue to manufacture its own Blu-ray players, AV receivers and all-in-one systems, and that the new models scheduled for launch this summer and autumn will be released as planned. But the current G9 plasmas will be the company's last.

Pioneer is looking closely at the possibility of a joint venture in the optical disk business, and is "in talks with other manufacturers" about working together on the development of future Blu-ray products.

Display resources switched to in-car
Resources in the display sector will be switched to in-car development, and the company is taking a long hard look at its optical disc business: "we are considering measures for improving profitability, including forming a joint venture," it says.

Pioneer says it "will continue to provide after-sales services [for display products] even after the withdrawal", a statement from Pioneer GB adding that "the company will continue to honour warranties and after-sales services."

Factory closures
The company had already announced plans to stop in-house production of plasma displays at its facilities in the UK and USA – the UK operation finishes this month, the USA in April.

Furthermore, it's planning to reduce its overseas production companies by about 30%, suggesting that as many as ten of the current 30 could be axed.

Having already reduced its full-time workforce by almost 6000 to just under 37,000 during 2008, Pioneer now plans another reduction on the same scale this year. Similarly, in addition to the 4000 temporary staff lost last year, the company will lose another 4000 in 2009.  

The restructuring plans, described by the company as "drastic", come as Pioneer announced losses of 26.147bn Yen (around £205m) for the last three months of 2008, compared to compared to a profit of £13m for the same period in 2007.

£1bn losses forecast
It's predicting a net loss for the 2008-9 financial year of Y130bn (or just over £1bn), against 2007-8 losses of about £141m. Much of this is down to a near 50% drop in operating revenue as a result of lower sales of plasma TVs, DVD drives and audio products, and the continued strength of the Yen on world currency markets. 

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Very old press release, almost a year ago, predating this new announcement...

It seems that Panasonic is taking over Kuro technology


It’s unfortunate that it has come to this, but it was time for this “GOLIATH” to fall. I am a Pioneer Elite dealer in southern California and have observed Pioneers cocky attitude for some time. No change No sale. This company has not adapted well to current economy and the executives at Pioneer are fat dumb and happy in Long Beach CA. OOPS! I didn’t just say that, but this may be the problem. The real victims here are the working class trying to pay bills and survive. Pioneer will be missed but let’s face it folks. It’s over.

A real dealer in SO CAL.

after many delays and difficulties (credit crunch, relocating from Scotland to Cyprus,etc) my home cinema finally has started being realised. I now have a Play station 3 and a Pioneer Kuro 5090H. I still need a reciever and speakers.

I have passed from many displays. I have seen projectors, Sony LCDs, Philips LCDs, Samsung LCDs and Plasmas and I really liked the 7 and 8 series samsungs.

How ever nothing prepared me for my Pioneer 5090 encounter. I walked into a store and there it was turned off. As I new the rave reviews about it  I was curious to see it in action .I requested a "test drive" and they put a DVD to play. The play back was crystal clear and the colours vibrant and rich. The flow of motion was better than any LCD I have seen (except perhaps the extremely expensive Philips).

I then requested a blue ray. I was speechless when I saw in front of my Ratatouille ready to jump out of the screen! I fell in love with this TV. The best part is that it was on a 600 euros discount from the original 3150euros price. Furthermore it turned out the sales man was a friend of one of my colleagues so I got a further 350 euros discount!

So the end result was 2200Euros including the speakers.

2 weeks later I am still in love with this TV. Even the low quality Cyprus local channels look great and the DVDs and blue rays are fantastic. The dark seens have more details than I have ever experienced and when I am at friends homes that have LCDs so much detail is missing, while normal TV channels are unwatchable.

The news that Pioneer will stop their excellent work is very sad. But I am glad I got this awesome TV in time before they get vanished!

Equipped - selling a premium product isn't greed, it's about producing the best there is. The consumer has to pay a price for the best because it costs that much more to produce it. Profitability must come into it as this is the goal of every business. But it's not greed.

And you wouldn't have to sell too many houses to raise the £2,000 to buy one - less than a hundredth of the average house price in the UK these days.

All well said, but when you get really greedy and take your price to a level where majority of the buyers could not reach; what do you expect in hard times.

All businesses organsied around the afluent minority go under as quick as a quick sand, at the first sign of downturn.

I like top quality but will not sell my house to get it. Afterall, the go with time and fashion. Why can't we see the vanity of all these.

I love Pionees flats and longed to buy one, but as I could not afford like great majority of us, I don't really miss it.

Hope Panasonic will learn from this too.

I have 32LZD85, but had longed for 37LZD800, but too dear to afford.

Good buy Pioneer and my best wishes to the redundants..sure Panasonic will find a place for them soon.

Who's gonna step up to the plate and make a better tv though?

No, trevoralves, it doesn't. We covered that one, too.

So does this mean that the new range of profile 2.0 Blu Ray players will not reach the UK market?

Yes, Kaye. We already covered that one.

what happens to the 5 year Pioneer backed guarantee I got with my 5090? Will Pioneer still have to honour it?

Andrew, you got a point..

It does work 360 degrees, lospinoso, and brings me straight back to my original standpoint. At the time the prediction in question was made, no-one had even heard of sub-prime mortgages, and premium products were doing very well.

Now, the whole map has changed, and everyone's affected. Panasonic, for example, is talking about shedding 15,000 jobs.

But its TV business is on such a scale, and sufficiently diversified, that it's better-placed to weather the storm than a very small niche player - at least in global TV terms - like Pioneer.

I meant, that we CAN'T expect such a dramatic...

Andrew - your just argument about the massive shift in global economic climate should work 360 degree. The economic crisis is hitting badly everybody, not only Pioneer. And yet, Pioneer and not Panasonic or others competitors, is shutting down its display business. So, I wouldn't dismiss so easily Zubkabera's argument about Pioneer's pricing policy (although it can't be seen as the only explanation for Pioneer heavy losses in the business). On the other hand, I agree with you that we can realistically expect such a dramatic fall of the prices, or to find kuros for peanut price on ebay, to use Zubkabera's hyperbole.

"Car Electronics business"? In todays world when car sales are going down, car factories are closing. I think someone is working hard to bring Pioneer down.

Now what,I have been undecided between buying a Sony KDL46W4500 and a Pioneer KRL 46V,then I found out that Sony had a "clouding issue" going on, just as I was swinging toward the Pioneer,looks like going to the drawing board.

A Kuro day indeed

Zubkabera - has the massive shift in global economic climate over the past twelve months passed you by?

And as for 'peanut prices on ebay', why? The TVs didn't suddenly become rubbish...

This is the end of the world as we know it Sad

I see...I must say that even before the rumours about Pioneer's withdrawal from the display business, they had already started, at least here in Singapore, to offer special discount/packages deals for the kuros...now it looks like they anticipated or expected Pioneer's move..

I said this in last year on this very same forum that Pioneers pricing policy will let them down, Andew and Clare didn't agree with my opinion and said premium price will still attract customer who wants then best.

Now one year later see what happend to Pioneer, I am sure leftover sets will be sold on ebay at peanut prices go grab one Wink.

lospinoso, the comments in the forums section suggests they're not exactly in abundant supply at the moment, so probably not. Expecting a fire-sale may be something of a forlorn hope


I was about to buy one of these fantastic plasma screens. I guess it's better to wait for a while till the official announcement by Pioneer will have produced its effects...

Exactly lospinoso thats what I am waiting for salivating on the thought everyman for himself lol

Can we hope for a reduction of the price for the kuros still in stock?

Yes, Bobbyx, but Pioneer is looking to increase its OEM business, not just aftermarket.

I think that's something of an overstatement, digidavid. It just goes to show that people aren't prepared to pay extra for premium product, and will go for less expensive alternatives.

Pioneer only have a single-digit percentage of the plasma market, after all...

I don't understand the car audio industry is kind of dying. It has got harder and harder to replace car stereos with aftermarket ones especialy in cars made in the last four years. Making replacement face plates is tougher now as car stereos seem alot more integrated now then before.

So...it's true... the beginning of the end for plasmas as suggested by some entity not so long ago. Everyone I know believe plasma pix excel but production and development costs and overhead will kill it...