By Patrick Avenell

SYDNEY, NSW: Sanyo is currently performing well across multiple categories, with its strategy of positioning itself at the top of the mass merchant product chain reaping financial rewards, according to regional president and managing director Bill Crichton.

Although not currently a force on the salesfloor at Harvey Norman or JB Hi-Fi, Sanyo has been able to use its mass merchant strategy to propel its TVs to the top of the volume sales charts, with Crichton and his team working directly with retailers to scope out specifications and logistics with his retail partners. So much so, just prior to Christmas, it was a Sanyo TV that was listed as the top selling product AV product at Dick Smith just prior to Christmas.

Sanyo’s two biggest retail partners are the Woolworths and Westfarmers groups, who between operate Dick Smith, Big W, Kmart and Target. Sanyo pushes volume through these stores at competitive prices, leveraging off the brandname’s good standing in the community.

Certain products in the Sanyo range are distributed through category specialist stores, such as imaging products to Camera House and vacuum cleaners to Godfreys. Further major clients are the various state and federal governments, which purchase Sanyo projectors for classroom use.

At the Sanyo head office is Sydney this morning, Crichton showed off what could be the next big thing for the Japanese supplier: an electric bicycle. Currently awaiting bureaucratic approval from the state road and transport departments, and federal approval, these electronic bikes combine the power of Sanyo batteries with pedalling to create momentum.

Crichton is hoping to have these Sanyo e-bikes legalised and approved for release in 2010. He quoted a price range for the three models of between $1,299 and $1,999. The top-of-the-line in this range is able to fold together for easy transportation.

Sanyo will also launching its first range of digital radios this year. Crichton said this category was moving towards commoditisation, and that will lead to the volume requirements for Sanyo to be a competitive player.