Quick Recap: History of Mitsubishi

January 27th, 2016 by

From the first day that Mitsubishi introduced their first mass-produced passenger car in 1917, they have played an influential role in the automotive industry. Throughout the years, the Japanese company has been a competitive brand and expanded upon their roots in shipbuilding, industrial vehicles and consumer vehicles.

From 1917 and through the 50s, a lot of the company’s efforts were affected by WWI, WWII and then post-war relations. It wasn’t until the 1960s when Mitsubishi began strengthening and developing their brand as an automaker for consumers. During the 1960s, Mitsubishi released the Mitsubishi 500, the Colt Series, the Debonair and the Galant.

As part of the company’s strategy to become a major player in the auto industry, in 1971 the company’s CEO approached Chrysler Corporation and sold them a 15 percent share in their company. This move lead to to the release of Mitsubishi’s Galant in America and Australia, but as rebranded vehicles — known as the Dodge Colt in the U.S. and the Chrysler Sigma in Australia. By 1978, Mitsubishi’s annual production was approaching one million cars.

In 1982, Mitsubishi introduced their brand to America, although it had been buying its cars under Chrysler labeling for more than a decade. In partnership with Chrysler, they created the Diamond Star Motor Company, a 50/50 venture, and began manufacturing in America in the late 80s. The Mitsubishi Eclipse, Eagle Talon, and the Plymouth Laser were all products of this successful venture.

Eventually the Mitsubishi and Chrysler partnership ended in the early 90s and Mitsubishi has maintained their title as a globally recognized auto manufacturer. After the Chrysler relationship, Mitsubishi began experimenting with partnerships with other auto makers.

Today Mitsubishi is still a well-known seller in the U.S. and is a top  brand in the U.K. The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is the best-selling car in England and is expected to enter the American market later this year.