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Panasonic, Sanyo seek to tap hybrid car market

Posted: 11 Nov 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:solar cell? battery? hybrid car?

In line with the restructuring within the Japanese consumer electronics industry, Panasonic Corp. and Sanyo Electric Co. have made takeover discussions that led to a decision that Sanyo will become a Panasonic subsidiary, as earlier confirmed by Fumio Ohtsubo, president, Panasonic.

The pending deal is not focused on either company's traditional product offerings, but rather on solar cells and rechargeable batteries for hybrid and electric cars.

The two firms said they are looking forward to collaborate on tapping the growing market for these energy products.

The deal would allow Panasonic to get into the solar panel business. Armed with heterojunction with intrinsic thin-layer solar cells, Sanyo is considered the world's seventh largest producer of solar cells.

Ohtsubo said Panasonic's priority is promoting Sanyo's solar cells on the global market, using Panasonic's global distribution channels rather than launching Panasonic's own solar cell products.

Panasonic also expects to combine Sanyo's solar cell business with Panasonic's polymer electrolyte fuel cell cogeneration systems for energy-efficient homes.

As auto makers pushing hard into the hybrid and electric car markets, Panasonic also sees Sanyo's leading advantage in the market for rechargeable batteries.

The two companies' rechargeable battery strategies, however, are so far not aligned since each company supplies different car batteries to different companies. It is believed that Sanyo supplies car batteries to Ford and Volkswagen, while Panasonic is part of a battery venture with Toyota.

Anticipating explosive demand for car batteries, Panasonic officials stressed that both companies can benefit from mass production.

Meanwhile, Seiichiro Sano, president, Sanyo, said his company is receptive to Panasonic's takeover plan, because the pending deal would allow Sanyo to expand and accelerate its battery business, the company's biggest growth sector.

- Yoichiro Hata
EE Times

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