LG to enter car navigation market in 2007

By James Wells in Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS: LG Electronics has announced it will release four car navigation models ranging from $US300 to $US800 in the second quarter of 2007, building on 25 years of experience supplying products and components to the car market.

The Bluetooth-enabled models are both portable and pocketable, and will include navigation maps for the US and Canada. All four devices offer a touchscreen LCD between 8.5cm and 11cm, along with turn-by-turn voice guidance and POV (point of interest) information.

The higher-end LG LN790 offers an RDS-TMC antenna that receives real-time traffic information, and features text-to-speech voice guidance, Bluetooth connectivity and the ability to play-back music and videos and display digital photos.

In addition to the GPS navigation range, LG will release 20 new LCD panels ranging from 20 to 57 inches (50-145cm), including nine full high definition models with 1080p (1920 x 1080) resolution.

LG is also releasing three new series’ of plasma televisions, including three 1080p models. A 71 inch 1080p panel – the largest of the brand’s mass produced products – has received an 80 per cent price cut to $US14,999.

LG has also announced it will be launching products into the high margin mobile phone accessories market including Bluetooth headsets and Bluetooth wireless headphones.

LG North America CEO, Michael Ahn, explained that the price erosion in the market was unavoidable.

“I know competition has been very severe. Prices have eroded in the flat panel market over the last year by 40 per cent,” Ahn said.

“Some companies and brands will disappear or become niche players. We know one Japanese brand will be withdrawing and one Japanese company is up for sale. This year I believe competition will mean only a few companies will survive and become major players.”

In the US market, LG Electronics distributes products under two brands – Zenith, which will continue to be used as a promotional vehicle, and the LG brand, which uses the Life’s Good slogan which originated in the Australian market. LG claims it has 10 per cent market share in the LCD and plasma categories in the US market.

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