Update: Hitachi Closing Up Shop In Oz — Great Savings to Come?

Update: Hitachi Closing Up Shop In Oz — Great Savings to Come?

I just received the official press release about Hitachi’s decision to close up shop in Australia. The consumer business side of things will close on the 31st March 2008, while they will stop selling their products to retailers on 29th February.

In total, 40 people will be heading to Centrelink made redundant from the decision, although a new department will be opened in April to provide spare parts, technical and warranty support to Hitachi’s current customers.

According to the press release, the Consumer Electronics side of Hitachi was responsible for more than 50% of Hitachi’s Australian business activity. Now I know that it’s a cut-throat industry, and I sort of get Hitachi Global’s idea of streamlining the business, but surely I’m not the only one who thinks that cutting off 50% of your income from any market — even one as small as Australia — sounds like madness. Especially when they, “enjoyed a sales record year in 2007, especially in the Flat Panel Display category” in Australia, doubling their sales.

Still, what’s done is done. Hopefully some good will come from it — there’s a good chance retailers will be looking to offload their Hitachi stock fairly cheaply in the coming months, so look out for some good savings. And who knows… somebody might decide to import some of their products in the future as an official distributor.

Sydney, 22 January 2008

Hitachi Ltd. announced to its 93 Australian employees on 18 January 2008 their decision to
withdraw from the Australian Consumer Electronic market. The decision is part of a global
refocusing of Hitachi’s sales strategy for consumer electronic products around the world.
Hitachi Ltd. aims to optimise the allocation of resources worldwide with consideration of
development power for Australia’s specific requirements and market size.

Hitachi Australia, which was founded in June 1983, will be restructuring as a result of this
decision, which will entail the closure of the Consumer Product Group and the rationalisation
of some support roles as well. Only the Consumer Product division of Hitachi Australia will be
affected by this decision and the other divisions will remain as a viable operation. The other
divisions of Hitachi Australia are the Electronic components Group (ECG), the Power and
Industrial Equipment Group (PIEG) and the Air Conditioning Systems Group, Commercial and
Room (ACSG). The Hitachi specialist sales channel (business to business) will remain selling
and marketing LCD projectors and Starboards to Australian businesses.

The Consumer Products Group, representing over 50% of Hitachi’s business activity in
Australia, will close on 31st March 2008 and will stop selling its products to Australian retailers
on 29th February 2008. A total of 40 employees will be made redundant from 29th February
until 31st March 2008. A new department named ‘Consumer Products Service Centre’ will be
established in April 2008 in order to manage the service centres across Australia and to
provide spare parts, technical and warranty support to consumers and retailers.

The Consumer Products Group enjoyed a sales record year in 2007, especially in the Flat
Panel Display category. Hitachi Australia doubled their Plasma and LCD TV sales from 2006 to
2007. Furthermore, the P50X01 50” Full HD Plasma TV achieved the number one position in
the plasma 50” Full HD segment sales during the Christmas period, as reported in week 52
GfK. In addition, Hitachi Australia’s plasma market share grew by 3% while the LCD market
share grew by 6%.

Hitachi Australia Pty Ltd. is grateful to all the consumers who supported the Hitachi products
in Australia as well as the retailers who, through their commitments, contributed to the
growth of the brand in Australia.

– End –