By Matthew Henry

SYDNEY: Pioneer claims to have sold out of 50-inch plasma panels following a record month of sales in June which saw a 57 per cent increase in sell-through volume over the same month in 2006.

According to a press release issued by the company today, June 2007 sales of the seventh-generation PDP507XDA 50-inch panel exceeded 2,100 units – the highest monthly volume in the company’s history.

Pioneer said today it has now pre-sold the last few shipments of the model due to high sell-in demand but will fill most retail orders before introducing a new model in October.

Pioneer acknowledged that falling plasma prices drove demand during June, but the company’s managing director, Yasuo Sakuma, said strong retail support and consumer awareness of Pioneer’s unique offering were also contributing factors.

“Pioneer continues to buck the trend with our premium product and service offering,” said Sakuma in a release today.

“Pioneer has long held the view that there is a portion of the market who demand the best product and best service available and Pioneer addresses this market need.

“The traditional approach of targeting consumers based on age, gender etc is not a model that Pioneer adopts but rather it is through their shared passion for premium quality products and their refusal to settle for second best which defines a Pioneer consumer,” he said.

According to Pioneer, 50-inch plasma is fast becoming the panel size of choice for its customers as TV buyers look for ever-bigger screens.

A Pioneer spokesperson contacted by said that while 42-inch had a clear lead over 50-inch this time last year, falling prices and growing consumer awareness of the advantages of plasma for big screens had made 50-inch models close the gap.

Pioneer’s retailers are now advised to prepare for the coming of the brand’s next generation plasma panel, codenamed Project Kuro – Japanese for “deep, black and penetrating”.

“We are confident that consumers wanting a premium flat panel experience will be prepared to wait for Project Kuro,” said Pioneer video category manager, Max Everingham.

“We draw inspiration from the knowledge that customers would bring our flat panel displays into their homes with the pride of ownership that comes from having the best.”

Information about the new range will be available to the trade within weeks, Pioneer said.