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Mitsubishi Motors Corporation is one of the largest and oldest Japanese automotive companies. It’s a part of the Mitsubishi Group. The corporation is headquartered in Tokyo.
What Everything Began With
Mitsubishi didn’t start as an automotive company. In 1873, a shipbuilding company was established by Yataro Iwasaki. Soon, it was called the Mitsubishi Mail Steamship Company, which is a forebear of all modern Mitsubishi companies.
Only in 1917, the company produced its first auto, the Model A, which very much resembled Ford cars. However, it was common practice at that time. Most early-produced Japanese autos adopted technological and styling features of the American and European models. In 1921, the Model A was discontinued as passenger cars were in little demand in Japan at the time.
Before and After the War
Before the WWII, Mitsubishi made heavy trucks, buses, dustbin lorries, and water carts. In 1935, it produced the first Japanese bus powered by a diesel engine. When the war was finally over, Mitsubishi, as any other company, had to adjust to peculiar needs of the time. In this light, it started to manufacture scooters, three-wheel distribution vehicles, and buses (with an electric motor since 1947). Moreover, the Mitsubishi company was engaged in shipbuilding, banking, extraction of minerals, real estate operations, chemical industry, etc.
1946 saw launch of the Mizushima, a small, cheap but reliable three-wheeler, perfect for transportation of people and freight at short distance. The same year, the first scooter under the Mitsubishi marque, the Silver Pigeon, was produced. For Mitsubishi, passenger cars mass production didn’t begin until 1960 when the 500 saloon was introduced.
Mitsubishi Cars Mass Production Start
In 1962, the Minica, their first four-seat compact car, was made. It was powered by a two-stroke air-cooled 359 cc engine, on which the lowest tax was imposed.
The same year, a much larger and more comfortable Colt 600 family car was launched. In 1963, a new line of the Mitsubishi Rosa minibuses and the Canter light trucks appeared. In 1965, the first in Japan fastback, the Colt 800, was rolled out.
Since 1969, Mitsubishi has taken on the market of a higher class autos. The Colt Galant is a forebear of elegant and prestigious autos by Mitsubishi. It won in rallies many times and was awarded the ‘Car of the Year’ title for impeccable driving performance. Among its characteristic features, there were a wedge-shaped body design and engine of the Saturn series with overhead camshaft and aluminium cylinder head.
The 1979’s Colt 1400 GLX became the car of the year in Japan according to the Motor Fan magazine; the Pickup, Van & 4WD called the L200 the ‘USA’s Pickup of the Year’.
From The 80s till Nowadays
In 1982, the Mitsubishi Pajero was turned out. This city jeep was also awarded many honourable titles. In particular, it became the best SUV in Great Britain in 1986.
The Mitsubishi Space Runner was unveiled in 1983. Its modernized versions were produced in 1991. The same year, it became available in Europe.
In 1989, the 3000GT sports car was represented in Tokyo. The next year, its mass production was launched.
In 1994, the Mitsubishi Eclipse, a powerful Golf-class sports car, was introduced. In a couple of years, its updated version was ready.
The Pajero model appeared to be so successful that in 1994, the Space Gear minivan built on its basis was launched. The off-road modification, the Space Gear 4WD, adopted the Pajero’s chassis.
In 1995, Mitsubishi delivered its first European-produced car in collaboration with Volvo at a factory in the Netherlands. It was the Carisma.
In 1996, the automaker constructed the revolutionary GDI engine, the first mass-produced one with a direct injection system. When it comes to its quality, it can be described as a hybrid: it was as efficient as a diesel motor and as powerful as a petrol one. By 1997, the GDI engine was built up in the Galant, the Pajero, the Diamante, the Challenger, the Chariot, the RVR, and the Carisma.
Mitsubishi’s philosophy is very simple. It says that the company’s aim is to make driving pleasant as well as safe. This principle will never be compromised whatever happens.
The Name and Logo
The company’s name is a compound of ‘mitsu’ that means ‘three’ and ‘hishi’ that’s translated as a water chestnut; the latter also bears a meaning of a rhombus or diamond shape.
The logo of Mitsubishi is a combination of the Iwasakis family coat of arms, on which three-stacked rhombuses were depicted, and the three-leaf crest of the Tosa clan, which was Yataro’s first employer.
It’s believed that Mitsubishi’s three diamonds on the logo bear a special meaning. They might stand for reliability, integrity, and success or technological precision, unity, and orientation towards the future.
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