In 1917 a company called Mitsubishi Shipbuilding co introduces the Model A. this was Japans very first series production vehicle. The Model A was a completely hand built seven seat vehicle. When compared to its rivals (the mass produced offerings from America and Europe) it was considered too costly and production was discontinued in 1921. In that time frame only 21 had been built. niceasicminer
In 1934 Mitsubishi Aircraft Co merged with Mitsubishi Shipbuilding and formed the Company Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. While Mitsubishi Heavy Industries concentrated most of their efforts to the production if ships, aircraft and railroad cars, they still managed to develop a prototype automobile called the PX33 in 1937. This would be the very first Japanese produced passenger vehicle with full time four wheel drive. The project was cancelled as the government at that time decided to prioritise the development of commercial trucks and busses instead.
Directly after the Second World War Mitsubishi began manufacturing vehicles again. Producing busses and developing other vehicles for the market. In 1950 Mitsubishi Heavy Industries was split apart into three companies, they became East Japan Heavy Industries, Central Japan Heavy Industries and West Japan Heavy Industries.
In 1951 East Japan Heavy Industries started to import the Henry J from America, this they brought in kit form and continued to do so for the three years the vehicle was in production. The same year Central Japan Heavy Industries penned a similar contract with Willys. japanoutboardmotor
In the early 1960’s Central Japan Heavy Industries became known as Shin Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. Shin Mitsubishi Heavy Industries produced vehicles like the Mitsubishi 500(1960),the Minica Kei Car(1962) and the first Colt(1963). The Colt would go on to be one of Mitsubishi’s flagship family based vehicles in years to come.
In 1964 the three divisions were once again reunited as Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. In a matter of three years the conglomerates output was over 75,000 vehicles per year. After the release of the first Galant in 1969 bolstered also by the growth of its commercial vehicle division it was decided that the company should create its own stand alone operation for the automotive industry and the Mitsubishi Motor Corporation was formed. The official starting date of the company was April 22, 1970.
Part of the strategy for Mitsubishi was to form alliances with other already well established foreign car companies. As a direct result of their interest, in 1971, Mitsubishi sold US based automotive manufacturer Chrysler a fifteen percent share in the company. This allowed Chrysler to rebadge Mitsubishi Galants and market them in the States as Dodge Colts. This proved fruitful to both Chrysler and Mitsubishi as annual production was pushed beyond 250,000 vehicles yearly.
It took until 1980 before Mitsubishi hit an annual production figure of one million cars. At this time Chrysler was forced to sell its Australian division to Mitsubishi Motor Corp in an effort to avoid bankruptcy. That division was renamed to Mitsubishi Motors Australia.
Then in 1982 the Mitsubishi brand itself was introduced to the Americal market for the first time. This introduction first involved 70 dealers in 22 states. Near the end of the 1980’s Mitsubishi aired its first commercials and by 1989 worldwide production grew to 1.5 million vehicles. promote
From the 1990’s until the present time Mitsubishi has invested much time in development and testing to become a global dominating force in the car industry. The brand name Mitsubishi appeals to a wide array of different markets. The light truck or 4×4 market entry of the Pajero is a long standing model that has its own devoted followers. The launch of the Evolution line of vehicles which derived from the base Lancer model has seen an unimaginable increase in sales due to simple pop culture. Films such as the fast and the furious made people take notice that Mitsubishi was no longer only to be thought of as a family vehicle, but could also be equipped and fitted with performance gear to appeal to a larger market. Current Evolution models have been tested on shows such as Top gear and dominated many categories.