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Mitsubishi History

Mitsubishi’s origins date back to 1870, when Yataro Iwasaki began a shipping firm with three steamships. Japan was racing to catch up with the West, and Yataro’s business grew rapidly as his brother, son, and nephew expanded the business into various fields.

From the early 1890s to the 1920s, the business passed from generation to generation of Yataro’s family, restructuring to incorporate new operations such as coal mining, aircraft engineering, banking, real estate, paper mills, brewing, electrical equipment, and machinery.


In 1917, Mitsubishi began development of the Model-A passenger car, which was entirely hand-built. This vehicle has a place in history as Japan’s first mass-produced passenger car.

In 1937, the company’s first four-wheel-drive sedan—the PX33—was created as a prototype intended for military use. This technology would prove beneficial as it was integrated into future vehicles in both the commercial and motorsport market.


Surviving an official disbanding decree after World War II, Mitsubishi created an electric bus in 1947: the Mitsubishi Fuso Bus. In 1962, Mitsubishi Motor’s set a new course record at the Macau Grand Prix with the Mitsubishi 500. The company followed this with the release of the Mitsubishi 500 Saloon, the company’s first micro-compact vehicle. In addition, the Galant was released and the company earned critical acclaim and consumer success. The Galant was sold to Chrysler as the rebranded Dodge Colt.

After that success, the automotive division of Mitsubishi was officially established in 1970, as part of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. By 1980, Mitsubishi reached the milestone of producing one million cars and officially entered the American market in 1982 with the Tredia sedan.


Since then, Mitsubishi continues to experience success in the car market worldwide with many types of models. From shipping routes to commuter cars, Mitsubishi has survived and thrived throughout the past century.

- + Disclaimers