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Kyodo economic news summary -5-.

TOKYO, Jan. 10 Kyodo

---------- Matsushita to rename itself Panasonic, dropping founder's name

OSAKA - Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. said Thursday it will rename itself Panasonic Corp. on Oct. 1, dropping founder Konosuke Matsushita's name from the company title in an effort to boost its global competitiveness.

The company will also use the ''Panasonic'' brand for all its products, terminating the ''National'' brand which has been used for electric appliances such as refrigerators and washing machines for nearly 80 years in the domestic market, the company said. The brand name change will be implemented by the end of March 2010.

---------- Toyota's 2007 global sales rise 6% to record 9.37 million units

TOKYO - Global vehicle sales for Toyota Motor Corp. and its two subsidiaries rose 6 percent last year from the previous year to a record-high 9.37 million units, Toyota said in a preliminary report Thursday.

The Toyota group might have had a close race with General Motors Corp. for the world's No. 1 spot in sales, although the group is estimated to have replaced the U.S. giant as the No. 1 vehicle producer in the world last year, industry sources said. GM will release its 2007 sales later this month.

---------- Japan's 2007 imported car sales see 1st rise in 4 years

TOKYO - Sales of vehicles imported into Japan in 2007, including Japanese cars manufactured abroad, increased 1.1 percent from the previous year to 265,086 units, marking the first rise in four years, an industry body said in a preliminary report Thursday.

Robust sales of Japanese vehicles made overseas and shipped back home offset sluggish sales of foreign models, the report by the Japan Automobile Importers Association showed.

---------- Nikon overtakes Canon to lead Japan's digital SLR camera market in 2007

TOKYO - Nikon Corp. captured market leadership in Japan in the digital single-lens reflex camera business from Canon Inc. for the first time ever in 2007, said a private research agency Thursday.

Nikon's share of the domestic market came to 43.8 percent against Canon's 40.0 percent, as the new market leader saw a marked increase in sales of low-cost products aimed at novice photographers, according to BCN Inc.
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Publication:Japan Transportation Scan
Date:Jan 14, 2008
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