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Panasonic can manufacture its way round EU vacuum ban

David Ludlow
5 Sep 2014
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Panasonic will use new techniques and kit to manufacturer its way round EU vacuum ban, as it expands home appliance range

With the recent EU ban on vacuum cleaners that use more than 1,600W, several of the UK's top-selling models will no longer be available, including several in Panasonic's bagged range.

While we don't think that the ban is a bad thing (it's not the power a vacuum uses, it's how much it sucks), it obviously leaves some manufacturers with a bit of a problem, as they can no longer sell certain models. Simon Parkinson, marketing director of Panasonic UK is rather philosophical about the whole thing and believes it's an issue that the company can get around, by using new components and techniques.

"We can manufacture around the issue," said Parkinson. "It's just one of those things and we have to adapt."

One of the biggest issues is that it's largely the cheaper vacuum cleaners that have been hit by the ban. While it's possible to engineer a more efficient cleaner with the same suction power, as Panasonic already does with models such as the MC-UL426 Eco Max, doing so at a lower price point could be tricky. As Parkinson points out, "It's a problem that we're working on now."

While it works on the vacuum cleaner issue, Panasonic is also expanding its home appliance range, looking to get a wider range of products out. These include more built-in appliances, including cookers, induction hobs, dishwashers and fridges.

Panasonic new ovens at IFA 2014

It also has a new partnership with Gorenje to produce washing machines specifically for the European market. The aim of the deal is to make Panasonic quicker to respond to the market and make it faster to develop products that are suited to the UK.

"With the Gorenje partnership it lets us start building ranges specifically for the UK market," said Parkinson.

While the range will grow, new features won't be added for the sake of it, such as with smart appliances that you can control via your smartphone.

"Smart is something that we have to look at," said Parkinson, "but we don't want to make something smart for the sake of making it smart.

On top of a growing and expanding home appliance business, Panasonic is continuing to grow its other areas of the business. Top of the list is the exciting and completely unexpected relaunch of Technics. Then, the company is hoping to expand its audio offerings with the launch of its AllPlay multi-room speakers. We've also got the launch the AX902 TV to look forwards to, which seems to be able to produce plasma-levels of quality.

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