The company first concentrated on electric vehicles, making their first one, a runabout with tiller steering called the Style A, in 1900. They moved into internal combustion-engined cars in 1903 with two- and four-cylinder models, both using engines made for them by Rutenber.
The 1904 National Tonneau was a tonneau model. It sold for US$2000. The single electric motor was situated at the rear of the car, producing 9 hp (6.7 kW). A 4-speed herring bone transmission was fitted. The armored wood-framed car could reach 15 mph (24 km/h).
For 1905, the two-cylinder model was dropped and a six-cylinder car with a circular radiator took its place. The last electric cars were made in 1906, and in 1907, National starting building its own engines.
Peak production for National was reached in 1915 with over 1,800 cars made. For 1916 the company introduced the "Highway Twelve", a 12-cylinder engine of the company's own design,  and changed its name in 1916 to the National Motor and Vehicle Company.
1910 National 40 Indianapolis at Goodwood Festival of Speed 2009.
Forced to raise their asking prices to counteract the effects of wartime inflation, National ended up in a higher, uncompetitive price range. For 1920, National dropped their Highway Sixes and Twelves and issued a new model – the Sextet. The Sextet used a Continental side-valve six-cylinder, modified by National engineers with an overhead valve head. The new Sextet did not lose much in power output, but the new body designs were taller and bulkier and now more expensive.
The company was merged to form Associated Motor Industries in 1922 along with Dixie Flyer and Jackson. Associated was renamed the National Motors Corporation in 1923, and cars were made under the National brand until the company ceased production in 1924.