|Founded||Osaka, Japan (1925 )|
2004 (Asia)October 1, 2008 (Japan)
|Products||home, personal and industrial appliances, bicycles|
National (ナショナル, Nashonaru) was a brand used by Panasonic Corporation (formerly Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd.) to sell home appliances, personal appliances, and industrial appliances. Neither National Semiconductor nor National Car Rental are related to Panasonic or the "National" brand.
Before present-day Panasonic produced appliances under the name, the National brand was first 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 combined in 1988 as National Panasonic after the worldwide success of the Panasonic name.
After 1980 in Europe, and 1988 in Australia and New Zealand, Matsushita ceased the usage of the "National" brand, and sold audiovisual products exclusively under the Panasonic and Technics brands. Matsushita never officially used the National name in the United States, due to the trademark being already in used by National Electronics. The brand made a brief appearance in 2003 on Rice Cookers, Meat grinders and a handful of small kitchen appliances. In addition, National rice cookers were imported for sale in many Asian-American markets.
National was well known throughout Asia as a reputable manufacturer of domestic appliances such as rice cookers. In 2004, the "National" brand was gradually phased out in Asia, the penultimate market it was used in, with most products being rebranded under the Panasonic brand after the company decided to unify all their businesses under the Panasonic brand 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 October 1, 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.
Main article: Panasonic Cycle Technology
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.