Mitsubishi Motors Corporation is a multinational Japanese automobile manufacturer based in Minato, Tokyo, and was formed in 1970.
Its origins however can be traced back to 1917 when the Mitsubishi Shipping Co Ltd introduced the 1st series production automobile, the Model A. Uniquely, this was a hand built 7 seat sedan, which ultimately couldn't compete with the mass production of other countries and was discontinued in 1921, with only 22 models ever built.
In 1934, following a merger of Mitsubishi Shipping and Mitsubishi Aircraft Co., the first Japanese 4x4 passenger car was commissioned and the PX33 went into production in 1937. The technology used in this vehicle was eventually to return in the 1980's, to be used in Motor Sport vehicles.
Development was obviously interrupted with the second world war, and it wasn't until the early 1960's when with the Japanese economy rapidly expanding, that production began in earnest with the introduction of the Mitsubishi 500.
In 1971 Chrysler acquired a 15% stake in the company, and as a result re-badged models such as the Galant and the Colt were first seen in America, with the Galant also being sold in Australia as the Chrysler Sigma.
In 1980 Mitsubishi passed the land mark on globally distributing over 1 Million cars, however its business partner Chrysler were not faring quite so well. Chrysler were forced to sell its Australian manufacturing plant.
Mitsubishi have formed other notable alliances with other manufacturers besides Chrysler, including Volvo, PAS Peugeot Citroen, Proton, Colt & Lonsdale and Hyundai.
In an attempt to increase Sales in an ailing USA market, Mitsubishi introduced the controversial 0-0-0 payment scheme. This basically involved a deposit of £0, an interest rate of 0% and a monthly payment of £0, with payments to be deferred for 12 months. Although sales increased, it was no surprise that when the 12 months has elapsed, very few customers made any payment, costing the group an estimated $454 million. Lease4Less will certainly not be introducing this scheme in the near future!
Due to increasing production costs, Mitsubishi announced in February 2012 that all production in Europe will cease by December 2012.
Mitsubishi have a long standing relationship with movie star Jackie Chan, even producing 50 Jackie Chan Special Edition versions of the Lancer EVO IX in 2005.
Interestingly, the Mitsubishi Logo of three red diamonds actually predates Mitsubishi Motors by nearly a century. It was chosen by the founder of Mitsubishi, lwasaki Yatar, as a fitting tribute to the Tosa Clan who first employed him.