In 1917, Mitsubishi introduced the Model A. This vehicle has the honor of being the first mass-produced passenger car in Japan. Mitsubishi history essentially began with this very special car.
The first half of the 20th century would see Mitsubishi continually introducing new and exciting models. By 1936, the company that would come to be synonymous with robust four-wheel drive technology came out with its first 4WD vehicle, the Mitsubishi PX33. Mitsubishi entered motorsports in 1962. At the Grand Prix in Macau, Mitsubishi took the crown in the under 750cc class. The Mitsubishi 500 was the car.
In a way, Mitsubishi started making a name for itself in the United States before people even knew it. The Dodge Colt was introduced to the American market in 1970. The Colt was actually a Mitsubishi-made automobile. That same year, Mitsubishi debuted the Galant GTO in Japan, a performance powerhouse at the time. In 1980, Mitsubishi put a turbocharged diesel engine in a passenger car in Japan, the first company in Japan to do so.
1989 was a huge year for Mitsubishi. The automaker picked up the very prestigious Motor Trend Import Car of the Year Award for the Mitsubishi Galant VR-4. Also in 1990, the automaker debuted the Mitsubishi Eclipse. This sporty sedan featured both a turbocharger and all-wheel drive.
Mitsubishi’s history reflects an extraordinarily innovative company. The automaker was the first to launch an engine featuring Gasoline Direct Injection. That was in 1995. Five years before that, Mitsubishi was the first to put Traction Control in a vehicle. In 1999, Mitsubishi built the first electric car that could travel 2,000 km.
In 2008, Mitsubishi proved its innovative nature again, only this time in the name of the environment. The Drive@Earth initiative is a company-wide commitment to create vehicles that exist in more harmony with people and the environment. That commitment was put into action in 2011. That year, Mitsubishi introduced the all-electric i-MiEV to the American market.
These days, Mitsubishi is gaining more and more presence in the US, driven by its Drive@Earth promise. With current models such as the Mitsubishi Outlander and the Mitsubishi Lancer, the automaker remains as innovative as ever.