National (brand)


National (brand)

National was a brand used by Panasonic Corporation (formerly Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd.) to sell home appliances, personal appliances, and industrial appliances and was the first name used by Konosuke Matsushita's electric firm to sell his battery-powered bicycle lamps, hoping that they would be a product used by all of Japan, hence the name "National". It was arguably the first well-known brand of Japanese electronics.

National was formerly the premier brand on most Matsushita products, including audio and video and was often combined as "National Panasonic" after the worldwide success of the Panasonic name.

After 1980 in Europe, and after 1988 in Australia and New Zealand, Matsushita ceased the usage of "National", and sold audiovisual products exclusively under the Panasonic and Technics nameplates. Perhaps due to trademark issues, Matsushita never officially used the National name in the United States, except for early imported products, but rice cookers bearing the National name, imported from Japan, can be found at many ethnic Asian markets in the United States.

National is well-known throughout Asia as a reputable manufacturer of domestic appliances, such as rice cookers and electric fans. In 2004, the "National" brand was gradually phased out in Asia, the last market it was used in, with most products being rebadged under the "Panasonic" brand due to trademark restrictions with other companies worldwide containing "National" in their name and Matsushita's desire to unify their businesses under the Panasonic name for greater recognition.

Due to its historical significance and recognition in Matsushita's native Japan, non-audiovisual Matsushita products (mostly home appliances or white goods) were branded "National" until September 2008. As of October 1, 2008, Matsushita changed its company name to Panasonic Corporation. Non-audiovisual products that were branded "National" in Japan are currently marketed under the "Panasonic" brand.

Neither National Semiconductor nor National Car Rental are related to Panasonic or the "National" brand.

National bicycles were imported into the United States under the Panasonic label. The brand was known for producing high quality cycles at a relatively low price, as the result of a very high degree of factory automation and a resultingly low labor force with attendant savings in salaries and benefits. One of their models featured the unusual Shimano front freewheel system.

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