Clarion May Be Purchased By Auto Supplier

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A bid was made to acquire Clarion from Hitachi by French auto supplier Faurecia, which also owns Parrot Automotive.

Faurecia, which makes automotive seating and other interior parts, said the purchase would accelerate its goal to become a global leader in cockpit electronics.

Faurecia announced last week it had reached binding agreements with Clarion and Hitachi (which is the controlling shareholder of Clarion) to purchase all shares of Clarion.

Hitachi owns nearly 64 percent of shares in Clarion.

Faurecia said it intends to create a new Business Group called “Faurecia Clarion Electronics Systems” to be headquartered in Japan.

At this point, Clarion’s brick and mortar retail presence in the US has been reduced to marine audio products.  Earlier this month JL Audio assumed responsibility for all of Clarion’s marine audio business in the US and Canada as well as other countries. JL Audio’s Manville Smith said, “This will have no impact on JL Audio’s long-term licensing of the Clarion brand for marine audio.”

In March 2016, Clarion, one of the oldest makers of car radios, shocked the aftermarket when it halted brick and mortar sales of car audio in the US.

Clarion remains a maker of OEM car navigation systems–a category that has stopped growing due to smartphone-based navigation.

In January, Clarion slashed its profit guidance for the full year from 7 billion yen ($62 million) to 1 billion yen ($8.9 million). Clarion’s annual sales are at $1.6 billion. It has 7 manufacturing sites and employs 7,500 people.

Clarion has been shifting its focus from conventional infotainment systems to autonomous parking technology and driver assistance systems. Clarion recently began supplying electronic control units for autonomous parking to Nissan, said the Nikkei Asian Review.

For its part, Hitachi is in the process of selling off its non-core operations to focus on its main businesses in information technology, energy and infrastructure, said The Japan Times.

Clarion became a subsidiary of Hitachi in 2006.


Source: Faurecia, The Japan Times, Reuters, Automotive IT International

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