Panasonic Corporation of North America's (PNA) products run the gamut of cool: from new 3D TVs, to hip wearable digital cameras and household air conditioners. The company oversees the North American operations of Japan's Panasonic Corporation, one of the world's leading electronics firms. PNA makes and sells consumer products (home appliances, camcorders, DVDs, VCRs, men's shavers), business products (copiers, fax machines, printers), and industrial electronics products (computer components, semiconductors, appliance motors) under the Panasonic, Technics, and Quasar brands. The company, which changed its name from Matsushita Electric Corporation of America in 2008, is also the largest maker of plasma TV sets.
The worldwide financial crisis spelled trouble for PNA and its Japanese parent as consumer demand for their products plunged and price competition increased. Despite declining revenues in 2009 and 2008 -- and plummeting profits in 2009 -- the electronics giant continued to invest substantial sums in R&D to bring future generations of products to market. Indeed, innovation and "early-to-market" are key aspects of Panasonic's revenue growth strategy. In 2009 Panasonic introduced the world's first portable Blu-ray Disc player at the 2009 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Previous firsts include the launch of what was then the largest TV in the US --a roughly seven-foot-high high-definition plasma TV priced at just under $70,000 -- in 2006. The company's newest offerings include high-definition 3D capable TV and home theater systems as well as the VIERA Z Series of plasma HDTVs, which use far less power than older plasma TVs. To grow retail sales, PNA is focusing on expanding its presence in the warehouse club market.
Taking the company forward is Joseph Taylor, who has served as COO and a longtime PNA executive. Taylor succeeded Yoshihiko Yamada, who moved to Japan to head Panasonic's global industrial sales business, in April. High on Taylor's list of priorities is establishing PNA as the leader in the nascent 3D TV market, where it competes with LG, Sony, and Samsung, among others. Taylor is the first American to lead PNA. The selection of an American to run the company is seen as a sign that Panasonic wants its US arm to exercise more autonomy.
PNA's operations include R&D Centers, customer call centers, and sales and service networks. Its research facilities include the Panasonic Hollywood Laboratory, which developed Blu-ray technologies in collaboration with movie studios. PNA's Eco Solutions North America unit partnered with Lighthouse Technologies Limited in 2012 to allow PNA to provide a streamlined, single source of LED video display devices as the sole distributor of the technology in the US and Canada. – less