Mitsubishi is known for offering innovative vehicles in a wide range of segments — but how did this Japanese carmaker come to be? Here, we guide you through the history of Mitsubishi Motors to show you how it got the reputation it has today.
The origin of Mitsubishi began in 1870, when Yataro Iwasaki separated the Tsukumo Shokai business from the Tosa Clan. In 1873, Tsukumo Shokai changed its name to Mitsubishi Shokai. While the Mitsubishi name has been around since then, the company didn’t actually begin producing cars until almost a half century later. Even the iconic three-diamond logo that Mitsubishi uses today appeared in 1914, before it created its first car.
Mitsubishi Motors’ story comes to life in 1917, when the Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Co., LTD. introduced its very first car — the Mitsubishi Model-A. This vehicle offered government officials luxurious transportation and became the first ever mass-produced car in Japan. Four years later, Mitsubishi Internal Combustion Engine Manufacturing is established.
In 1970, Mitsubishi began to pour research into electric vehicle technology, which solidified its title as the first automaker to mass produce an EV.
The Mitsubishi brand was first introduced to the U.S. market in 1971, when the Dodge Colt — made by Mitsubishi — joined the American market. From there, the brand continued to thrive. It utilized innovations like the breakthrough Silent Shaft technology and Turbo Diesel fuel engines at the turn of the decade.
1980s through the 1990s
Mitsubishi continued to make a splash in the auto market, and in 1987 it developed the Galant VR-4, which is the first vehicle to use Active Electronically Controlled Suspension. Understandably, the Galant VR-4 won Mitsubishi’s first Car of the Year Award in Japan. In 1989, the Mitsubishi Galant VR-4 was also named the Import Car of the Year by Motor Trend magazine when it reached the U.S.
Mitsubishi launched the world’s first Gasoline Direct Injection engine in 1996, which took the lead in environmentally friendly engine design.
2000s to today
With the new millennium, Mitsubishi honed its focus on eco-friendly vehicle options. In 2008 it launched the Drive@Earth campaign and pledged to create eco-friendly vehicles. It worked to create the award winning i-MiEV electric car which became available in 2010. The popular Outlander PHEV is currently one of the best-selling plug-in hybrid SUVs in the world.
Now, Mitsubishi is known for its fuel-efficient, intelligent, and diverse lineup of vehicles. From the subcompact Mirage to the ever-popular Outlander three-row SUV, there is a vehicle for every consumer in its model lineup. To learn more about the Mitsubishi brand and its innovative lineup, visit us at Pantili Mitsubishi.