By Chris Nicholls

NITRA, SLOVAKIA: Sony has followed up news it will double output from its Korean S-LCD factory next year with an announcement it will double European Bravia production at its Nitra, Slovakia plant.

The move, to be completed by December 2008, will mean up to four million sets a year will leave the factory and place the Nitra plant as Sony’s largest LCD television production centre worldwide.

“Bravia holds the key for further growth of Sony’s electronics business,” said Sony Corporation president and Electronics chief executive, Ryoji Chubachi. “The expansion of our production capacity in Nitra is a clear sign of our determination to expand our TV business across Europe, the world’s largest market for Bravia.”

“Sales of Bravia are continuing to grow in double-digits in many countries across Europe. It is crucial to strengthen our supply chain from engineering and production to distribution within Europe in order to meet growing demand,” said Sony Europe president Fujio Nishida.

Sony is also building a new logistics centre, due to start in autumn, adjacent to the Nitra factory to better handle distribution efficiency as set numbers increase.

The consecutive production increase announcements come as research group Displaybank predicted Sony would embark on an aggressive price cutting war to win world number one status. The report predicted Sony would cut prices of its 40-inch and 46-inch models by up to US$500 each in the US, in an attempt to force other manufacturers’ hands.