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Quasar is a North American brand of electronics, first used by Motorola in 1967 for a model line of transistorized color televisions. These TVs were known for containing all serviceable parts in a drawer beneath the TV's cabinet. It was soon established as its own brand, with all Motorola-manufactured televisions being sold as Quasar by Motorola.
Quasar Electronics, Inc.
On May 29, 1974, Motorola, Inc., sold its television manufacturing division — including its plants in Pontiac, Illinois; Franklin Park, Illinois; and Markham, Ontario — to Matsushita, who continued production of home television receivers under a newly incorporated entity, Quasar Electronics, Inc., an American-managed subsidiary of Matsushita Electronic Corporation of America (MECA). Motorola continued to operate its plant in Quincy, Illinois for two years (until 1976), when plant ownership passed to the new company. Later, Quasar Company, the sales company, was split off from Matsushita Industrial Company, the manufacturing entity.
In the late 70s Quasar Company was established as a sales operation, with Matsushita Electric doing the manufacturing, in Franklin Park, Illinois. The latter manufactured both TV receivers and microwave ovens.
In 1989, Richard Kraft, former President of Matsushita Electric, became the first American President of Matsushita Electric Corporation of America, Quasar's parent company.
- Corporate names
- Quasar Electronics Corporation — incorporated January 12, 1976, in Delaware
- Quasar Electronics Corporation — incorporated January 22, 1976, in Illinois
- Panasonic Corporation of North America; incorporated January 14, 1974, in Delaware
- CEOs of Quasar
- Alex Stone
- F. Jack Pluckhan
In the media
A 1992 episode of Frontline, the PBS news program, claims that the Matsushita acquisition of Motorola's Consumer Division was the beginning of the downfall of the US TV industry. The program claimed that Matsushita's acquisition was nothing more than a ruse designed for Japanese-made sets, and sets assembled of Japanese parts, to avoid tariffs, with sets under the Quasar brand still being considered "domestically made", although Quasar's US-based engineering, management and manufacturing division was being scaled-down. Also, some of the American management who transitioned to Quasar after the acquisition claimed that they were let go en masse, and filed a discrimination lawsuit afterwards. The lawsuit was overturned on appeal in 1991, with the Seventh District Federal Appeals Court ruling that Matsushita's decision to treat executives differently based on citizenship rather than national origin was not legally discrimination.
Recent use of the brand
As of 2005, the Quasar name had limited use in North America, either being affixed to discontinued products from the Panasonic line or more value-oriented products than Matsushita's Panasonic brand, being sold in such places such as drug stores and supermarkets. Quasar Company ceased to exist in 2004. In 2013 Panasonic applied for a new Quasar trademark for various categories of electronics.
- "Motorola Completes Sale of TV Business to Matsushita", The Daily Leader (Pontiac, Illinois), p.1, 29 May 1974.
- Mathes, LeClerc, Tom, Lewis. "Transcript: PBS episode". Retrieved 25 April 2013.
- "Matsushita Wins Quasar Appeal". Seattle Times. Retrieved 25 April 2013.
- A transcript of the 1990 Frontline episode (transcribed by Tom Mathes and Louis LeClerc)
- 1970 commercial for Quasar TV sets on YouTube