Part of the Mitsubishi business conglomerate, Mitsubishi Motors has earned its place on the Japanese and international car market. The company's history starts sometime in 1917, when the first Mitsubishi model, a seven-seater sedan based on the Fiat Tipo 3, rolls off the assembly line. Not very successful, production was discontinued after just 22 models were built.
True production begins after the merger of Mitsubishi Shipbuilding and Mitsubishi Aircraft Co. in 1934. Concentrated on building aircraft, ships, and railroad cars, the company found time to make a prototype sedan in 1937 which it called the PX33. Sadly, it was mainly for military use as the war approached.
Only after the war did the company really got into car production with a small three-vehicle vehicle, the Mizushima and a scooter with a funny name, the Silver Pigeon. Then came the split of the former conglomerate, because the conquering Allies did not see with favorable eyes Japan's industrial development.
A decade later, things in Japan were looking up and personal transportation became an issue again as more and more families afforded cars. Enter the Mitsubishi 500, a sedan for the masses, and later the Minica small car and the Colt 1000 in 1963. With sales rising, the remnants of the Mitsubishi conglomerate were united once again in 1970.
The next step for the company was to ally itself with a foreign company, Chrysler in this case, which bought 15% of the Mitsubishi, which afforded the Japanese manufacturer the license to sell rebadged Galants as Dodge Colts in the States and as Chrysler Scorpions in Australia.
In this way, Mitsubishi was able to raise numbers in production and set up a series of dealerships around Europe. But if for Mitsubishi things were looking up, the same could not be said about its American partner which was forced to sell the Australian manufacturing division in 1980.
Two years later, Mitsubishi would enter the American market under its own name with the Tredia sedan, the Cordia and the Starion coupe. The car quota was established at 30,000 vehicles but the Japanese were keen to increase that number and they began a campaign of active advertising. By the end of the 80s, Mitsubishi had achieved 1,5 million units produced worldwide.