By Matthew Henry

MELBOURNE: Pioneer Electronics Australia has declined to comment on rumours it will stop making 42-inch plasma panels, but labeled press reports to that effect as ‘speculation’.

News outlets worldwide, including Reuters, have reported that Pioneer will cease production of its own 42-inch plasma panels and instead buy them from Panasonic or Hitachi.

Pioneer identified the source of the original story as article published on 23 February in the Asahi newspaper, which Pioneer said was not based on any company announcement.

An examination of the Asahi newspaper article by found that the journalist offered no quotations or attribution for his claims.

Pioneer Electronics Australia PR and events manager, Michael Broadhurst, said the company is continuing with sales of 42-inch plasmas.

“Please note that this article was not based on any announcement from Pioneer or an interview with the Asahi newspaper. Instead, this article was formed on the basis of the journalist’s speculation,” said Broadhurst.

“Therefore, Pioneer has no comment or announcement.”

Pioneer expects to produce around 480,000 plasma panels this year, but has changed its business plan since introducing the new Project Kuro range to target low volume but high value sales.

In comparison, Matsushita has set a target of five million plasma panels.

Following a recent deal with Sharp Corporation, Pioneer could also produce LCD televisions in smaller sizes in the future.