Mitsubishi was first founded as a shipping corporation by a man named Yataro Iwasaki in 1870, and from there it went into coal mining. After this it used its own coal to power ships, of which they had many, followed by more shipping and building their conglomerate empire. During the Second World War they manufactured engines for the Japanese Zero and continued to help the Japanese war effort – but found themselves SOL after Japan lost. Their automotive roots began in 1917 when they introduced the Model A – Japan’s first automobile series production.

Mitsubishi logo

They continued production of automobiles and then finished in 1921, followed by a prototype in 1937 with the first all wheel drive sedan for the military, however it never saw much production. It was not until the 1970s that Mitsubishi re-entered the automotive market and began to produce cars again. It was following the end of WWII that they began to produce vehicles, mainly small three wheeled cargo vehicles and scooters, along with some other smaller things. Then in 1950 the U.S. and Allied powers ordered them to cease and desist.

In 1953 one of the three splits made by the allies to the company called Shin Mitsubishi HI, was gearing up for automobiles by 1953, and later introduced the Mitsubishi 500, and later the Kei car and Colt 1000. One of the other splits had developed auto departments and were developing their own, until all three split parts came back together in 1964. This let them produce 75,000 vehicles each year after, and continually increase that as time wore on.

Mitsubishi car

They introduced the Galant in 69 to much praise and success, and finally in 1970 the current Mitsubishi Motors was formed as a subsidiary. One of its major moves was the partnership with Chrysler, and thus re branded gallants hit the US markets and bumped sales and production from 75,000 to 250,000. This allowed the network of Colt branded dealerships to expand in Europe and elsewhere. In the 80s they hit one million cars for just that year, but its alliance with Chrysler was soon coming to and end as Chrysler was failing and close to Bankruptcy. So, they introduced themselves to the U.S. Market as Mitsubishi Motors, and thus by the 80s was booming in the US economy, having started with 20 dealerships and expanding to 340. Because of its tactics they were now selling 1.5 million vehicles a year. In 1991 Mitsubishi bought back its stake from Chrysler and thus it became wholly independent.

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