The History of Mitsubishi Motors

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Mitsubishi Motors is without a doubt one of the biggest automotive companies and is an instantly recognizable brand just about anywhere in the world. One of many divisions of the larger Mitsubishi brand, Mitsubishi Motors remains one of the most important subsidiaries that bears the name. At times it’s interesting to go back and look at where big companies originated and how they got to be what they are today. Let’s take a look at the rich history of Mitsubishi Motors dating back to 1917.

The Mitsubishi company had been set up as a shipping specialist in 1870, operating in Toyko and soon diversifying out into other areas including coal mining and iron-milling. Closer to the turn of the century, the company had set itself up as an industry leading in a number of fields in manufacturing and commerce from steel and glass to banking and insurance. The rise of the company during this period was quite profound, to say the least.

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Mitsubishi workers with Model A automobiles in 1917

It wasn’t until 1917 that the company produced its first automobile, the Mitsubishi Model A. Looking back, the move into the automotive industry seemed inevitable with the company already active in related fields of production. There were a total of 22 Mitsubishi Model A vehicles built, all of which were handmade. Given the high costs of production compared to the competition, it was discontinued after just 4 years. In 1937 the company produced a four-wheel drive passenger sedan, but it wasn’t until well after the second world war  (which took its toll on Japanese industry) that the company found its niche.

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Mitsubishi Model A

The mass-market sedan Mitsubishi 500 was released in 1953, a time when wages were rising and demand for family motor vehicles was on the rise. Over the next 11 years, two other vehicles were produced including Minica kei car, Colt 1000 and the Mitsubishi Debonair, a larger luxury car. Within a few years, demand was extremely high with 70,000 vehicles being produced annually. The success continued with the various model being introduced until 1969 when the larger Mitsubishi company decided that a division that focused solely on the automotive industry should be created – and Mitsubishi Motors was officially born.

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The first Mitsubishi Minica by Mitsubishi Motor Company

It’s quite an origin story and some may be surprised by just how old the Mitsubishi brand is. In fact, the logo that we all know so well today was put together around 1870, well before Mitsubishi Motors was made official. If you’re in the market for a vehicle or want to find out more about the Mitsubishi story, feel free to contact the friendly team at Chadstone Mitsubishi.