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2016 Mitsubishi
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2016 Mitsubishi

The History of Mitsubishi


Mitsubishi is a company full of rich history, which parallels the story of modern Japan. Yataro Iwasaki founded a shipping company in 1870, which through a series of events, turned into the beginning of Mitsubishi.

Over the years, the small shipping company expanded into various fields and set the foundations of many companies. After World War II, the companies disbanded to become the independent companies of current day. Here is a brief summary of Mitsubishi’s 140 years of history.


1870:​  Yataro Iwasaki founded a shipping company with three aging ships

1873:​  Mitsubishi Shokai became the new company name

1914:​  The Mitsubishi logo with the three-diamond design becomes the trademark symbol

1917:​  Development begins for the Model-A passenger car, which becomes Japan’s first mass-production passenger car

1936:​  PX33 is created as Japan’s first 4WD passenger car

1946:​  The Mizushima three-wheel cargo carrier is produced.

1950:​  Mitsubishi Heavy Industries splits into three groups—East Japan Heavy Industries, Central Japan Heavy Industries, and West Japan Heavy Industries.

1962:​  The “Mitsubishi 500” makes its race debut at the Macau Grand Prix, setting a new course record and establishing Mitsubishi’s entry into racing

1964:​  The three Heavy Industries merge and establish Mitsubishi Motor Sale

1970:​  Mitsubishi sales begin in America with the Colt, launched under the Dodge nameplate

1970:​  Galant GTO launches in Japan, setting the stage for future 4G-series engines

1972: ​ Colt F2000 Formula racecar wins a Japanese open-wheel grand Prix thanks to the aircraft technology equipping the vehicle

1974:​  The Lancer 1600GSR is entered in the East African Safari Rally to prove durability and speed

1976:​  Silent Shaft engine technology is developed to reduce vibrations

1980: First in Japan to engineer a turbocharged diesel engine for passenger cars

1982:​  Mitsubishi Motor Sales America is established.

1987:​  Galant VR-4 first features Active Controlled Suspension (ECS)

1989: ​ Motor Trend magazine names the Mitsubishi Galant VR-4 Import Car of the Year.

1990: ​ The world’s first Traction Control System is developed by Mitsubishi

1991:​  3000GT VR-4 named Motor Trend’s Import Car of the Year

1992:​  The iconic Lancer Evolution makes its debut at the 1 in the World Rally Championship

1995: ​ World’s first Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI) engine created by Mitsubishi to be more environmentally friendly

1999:​  An electric vehicle is produced that runs from 2000 kilometers in 24 hours, which sets a new world record

2007:​  Mitsubishi continues its rally prowess with its 7th​ consecutive and 12th​ overall victory in the Dakar Rally

2009:​  Fuse Hands-free Link System is unveiled

2012:​  Mitsubishi is #1 on the EPA’s list of Fuel Economy Leaders

2012:​  Mitsubishi celebrates 30 years in America


Mitsubishi continues to evolve over the years, and is still developing cutting edge technology and producing award winning vehicles. We here at Hampton Mitsubishi in Lafayette, Louisiana are glad to be part of a rich history of quality vehicles.

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