Mitsubishi Motors Corporation is renowned for the likes of the off-road-ready Pajero SUV, the 3000GT sports car, the Lancer compact car that gave birth to the Lancer Evolution high-performance car, and many more phenomenal cars.
Unlike most other automakers, Mitsubishi did not start out manufacturing vehicles. Mitsubishi was originally a shipping company that was established in 1870 by Iwasaki Yatarō, a Japanese shipping industrialist. In 1917, the Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. made a bold first step into manufacturing vehicles when it made the Mitsubishi Model A. The Model A was a large, high-end, seven-seater sedan that is said to have been based on the Fiat Tipo 3. Unfortunately, because the Mitsubishi Model A was pricier than other American and European rivals, its sales were poor, and so its production was soon discontinued.
After that, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (an amalgamation of the Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Co. and the Mitsubishi Aircraft Co.) made its contribution to World War II with its PX33 full-time 4WD passenger car in 1937 and with its Mitsubishi A6M “Zero” long-range, naval fighter airplane. After the war, however, the Allied Powers of World War II ordered the dismantling of the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and every other Japanese family-controlled industrial conglomerate. The Mitsubishi Heavy Industries was split into three companies: the East Japan Heavy-Industries, the West Japan Heavy-Industries, and the Central Japan Heavy-Industries. Each of these companies continued manufacturing vehicles and were later re-integrated as the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in 1964.
In the 1970s, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries joined forces with the Chrysler Corporation, and this partnership saw the introduction of the Mitsubishi Galant into the US market as the Dodge Colt. In 1985, this partnership also culminated in the establishment of Diamond Star Motors–a 50/50 venture between Mitsubishi and Chrysler. However, Chrysler’s interest in this venture did not last long, and it had fully withdrawn from this venture by 1993. Since then, Mitsubishi has also had joint ventures with the likes of Volvo, Groupe PSA, Volkswagen, Suzuki, Colt and Lonsdale, Proton, Hyundai, Samcor (the South African Motor Corporation), Nissan, and Renault. Today, Mitsubishi is part of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, which is currently one of the leading vehicle manufacturers in the world.
In 1990, Mitsubishi become the first automaker to design a traction control system–a safety feature that has become a standard feature in most of today’s cars. Mitsubishi also introduced Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI) engine technology to the automotive industry in 1995, and many automakers have since incorporated this technology into their engines. Therefore, when it comes to safety, performance, and fuel efficiency, you won’t go wrong with a Mitsubishi car, SUV, van, or truck.
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