Toshiba is to return to the European TV market after signing a licensing agreement with Turkish OEM giant Vestel.
The move, which was announced at IFA in Berlin, will see Vestel take over responsibility for the production, sales and marketing of Toshiba-branded TVs.
Speaking exclusively to ERT, Liam La Cumbre, sales and marketing director for the newly-created Toshiba TV Europe, which is a division of Vestel, said: “The collaboration is not just about brand licences – it’s about two companies working in the same direction to bring Toshiba back to the European market and using the skill sets and the technology of Toshiba, which has always been renowned as a very high-quality brand.”
He added: “Toshiba will design the models for the European market – that’s very much part of the collaboration – and Vestel has fantastic R&D and one of the best supply chains in Europe. Vestel is extremely good at adapting to the changing TV market. We think the combination of the two brands working together is a very strong proposition.”
The first products from the partnership will be available in the next few weeks and there will be more planned for 2017.
Said Mr La Cumbre: “You’ll see some of the new products shipping in September, but the majority will be available in Q4 this year and there will be a new range in Q2 2017, with full distribution across all the different channels.
“The market has shifted over the past 18 to 20 months. UHD is such an important part and a key focus and Toshiba will be growing the UHD side of its business. We see the brand as mid- to high-end and that’s how we will position it. We want to look at a full European business. Over the past year, there’s been limited distribution of the Toshiba brand in Europe.
“We want to bring it back and we’re already getting a lot of interest from retailers, which is good news. There’s still a lot of equity in the brand – people would like it in their stores or business. The brand has a history that resonates with both retailers and consumers.”
Mr La Cumbre added: “Toshiba had about a five per cent brand share of the European market. We think it will take us between 12 and 18 months to get back to that and then we will look beyond that and look to increase our share.”
Commenting on the agreement, Turan Erdogan, chief executive of the Vestel Group, said: “With this strengthened partnership, we look forward to maximising Toshiba’s potential for further growth and market reach. Already a renowned and trusted household name with a reputation for high quality, Toshiba will be positioned as our premier TV brand for Europe.
“We’ll be working hard to consolidate this market position, drawing on our manufacturing strength to collaborate with Toshiba on future product designs and developments.”
Pictured above: [left to right] Atsushi Murasawa, head of Visual Products Group at Toshiba, and Turan Erdogan, CEO of the Vestel Group