The outgoing Panasonic CEO Kazuhiro Tsuga notes that the company needs to broaden its battery consumers in the automobile sector. Speaking to the Financial Times, Tsuga said “we need to graduate from our one-legged approach of relying solely on Tesla”.
This stunning testimonial is shocking to some but not surprising. Tsuga was a leader who took Panasonic out of its shell. The company was focusing on low-margin consumer electronics for the better part of a decade. But Tsuga led the shift of the company into batteries, factory machines and components. This momentous shift took some time, but it has been successful in the long-term.
It has been a long road, and this fiscal year, the battery line supplying Tesla is expected to be profitable. Panasonic is a partner in the $5 billion battery Gigafactory outside of Reno, Nevada, which could begin manufacturing the Tesla Semi in just a few months.
However, the company will need to broaden their approach as Tesla is already thinking about producing batteries in-house. Other manufacturers will also need battery partners, and Panasonic is set-up to assist and profit from this specialised tech.
After nine years at the helm, Tsuga is stepping down, and Yuki Kusumi will head the company as of April 1, 2021, reports Reuters.