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JBL confirms US manufacturing to end

test 9 March 2010

US: Harman International has confirmed exclusively to PSNE/PSN-e that it will end manufacturing of all JBL product on US soil later in the year, writes Dave Robinson. The announcement follows a period in which rumours circulated on a number of US web forums.

Now, Harman International has revealed that it will cease US manufacturing of all JBL products – possibly as early as June. A senior executive at Harman Pro level confirmed that the manufacturing strategies of Crown Audio in Elkhart, Indiana, and Harman Music Group in Salt Lake City remain unaffected by the developments at JBL.

"Over the course of the past two years, JBL Professional has moved the majority of its Northridge, California-based manufacturing to its Tijuana, Mexico facility," the company said in a specially-drafted statement. "The move was made to meet competitive pressures, reduce fixed overhead costs and reduce the overall cost of doing business in order to maintain our competitive advantage during the recent economic turmoil. Having managed this transition with no compromise in the quality and consistent performance of our loudspeakers, we have made the decision to relocate the remainder of Northridge-based manufacturing to our Tijuana facility.

"JBL Professional has for many years manufactured products in many locations around the world. This move only applies to the Northridge manufacturing operation, not to JBL Pro R&D, marketing, sales, quality management, and other business operations which all remain based in Northridge. Design engineering in particular has recently benefited from renovations and construction of enhanced development facilities, including two large measurement and listening arenas, a studio control-room environment, a commercial-sound ceiling-speaker listening room, and additional modelling and instrumentation labs.

"JBL’s traditions are based on design and technology innovation. We will continue to provide quality products produced and distributed around the world in order to serve the needs of customers."

Recent developments from JBL include nine high-power AE series permanent installation loudspeakers, the CBT (Constant Beamwidth Technology) passive line array columns and the EON series of portable loudspeakers (pictured).

As the March issue of PSNE went to press, Harman shares were trading close to their 52-week high of $45; they have grown steadily over the year from a March ’09 low of around $9.

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