In 1917, Mitsubishi, still functioning under the title “Mitsubishi Shipbuilding CO. Ltd.,” manufactured its first automobile: the Mitsubishi Model-A, designed to be a luxury vehicle for government officials across Japan. The Model-A, Japan’s first mass-produced automobile, would commence 100 years of Mitsubishi Motors, a bar-raising century of excellence in engineering and manufacturing.
The roots of Mitsubishi Motors reside in the Mitsubishi zaibatsu, a Japanese term for a group of financially- and industrially-linked companies. Founded in 1870 by Yataro Iwasaki, the Mitsubishi zaibatsu lasted until Japan’s occupation during World War II in 1947. Mitsubishi Motors would persist through the Japan’s nationwide struggles during the War and come out the other side in a prime position to become one of the top automakers across the globe.
In 1962, Mitsubishi solidified its global presence by setting a track record at the internationally-acclaimed Macau Grand Prix. The champion vehicle, the Mitsubishi Super Deluxe 500, was also the first car used to test aerodynamics with a wind tunnel in Japan.
Always ahead of the curve, Mitsubishi began researching electric vehicles (EVs) in 1970. It makes sense that Mitsubishi would then become one of the first automakers to mass-produce an affordable electric vehicle.
One year later, Mitsubishi would sell its first car in America: the 1971 Dodge Colt. Mitsubishi Motors would enter the American market on an enormous scale in 1982 with the introduction of the Mitsubishi Motors marquee and the nationwide launch of three Mitsubishi models: the Tredia, Cordia, and Starion.
Mitsubishi would continue to introduce high-performing and class-leading models in the United States, earning the 1989 Motor Trend Import of the Year award for the Galant VR-4, 2003 Automobile of the Year from Automobile Magazine for the Lancer Evolution, and the “Greenest Vehicle of 2012” from the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy for the i-MiEV. Those are just a few of its many accolades over the decades.
Looking back at the 100 years of Mitsubishi Motors, we are reminded why we are proud to provide our customers with Mitsubishi vehicles. Visit us at Pantilli Mitsubishi to become a part of the strong Mitsubishi tradition.