Mitsubishi Motors, part of the Mitsubishi business conglomerate has earned its own place in the international car market. The company’s history started in 1917, when the first Mitsubishi model, a seven-seater sedan based on the Fiat Tipo 3, rolled off the assembly line. The initial launch was not successful, production was stopped after 22 models were built.
After the merger of Mitsubishi Shipbuilding and Mitsubishi Aircraft Co in 1934, the production really took off. Mitsubishi made a prototype sedan in 1937 which was called the PX33. It was mainly for military use and as World War 2 approached, Mitsubishi concentrated on building aircrafts, ships and railroad cars.
Only after the World War was over did the company really get into car production with a model called Mizushima. It also began production of a scooter with a funny name called the Silver Pigeon at the same time. Unfortunately the conglomerate was split up because Japan’s industrial development was not seen favourably by the conquering allies.
A decade later, Japan had progressed rapidly and things were looking up again. More and more families could afford cars. Mitsubishi launched the Mitsubishi 500 a sedan for the masses which was a huge hit. It followed it up with Minica, a small car as the name suggests and the Colt 1000 in 1963. With sales rising considerably the Mitsubishi conglomerate was united once again in 1970.
Mitsubishi took the next step to go global by allying itself with a foreign company, Chrysler in this case. Chrysler bought 15% of Mitsubishi which afforded the Japanese manufacturer the license to sell Dodge Colts (called as Galants in Japan) in USA and Chrysler Scorpions in Australia.
Continue to read about the fluctuating fortune of Mitsubishi Motors and how it conquered the motor world in part 2 of this article.