History of Mitsubishi
First established as a shipping firm in 1870, Mitsubishi's first foray into automotive technology began in 1917 with Japan's first series-production automobile, the Model A, manufactured by Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Co Ltd. The firm would later merge this with the Mitsubishi Aircraft Co to create Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI).
It was not until 1970 that they would formally create an automotive-specific brand, Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC), from the automotive division of MHI. In 1971 MHI sold a 15% share of MMC to Chrysler, allowing them to begin selling the Mitsubishi Galant in the US (rebadged as the Dodge Colt). By the 1980s, Mitsubishi achieved annual production of one million cars and began to be introduced to the American market, much to Chrysler's chagrin who were forced to sell their Australian manufacturing division to MMC. The two companies would later unite in a vehicle manufacturing operation under the name Diamond-Star Motors (DSM).
Under the new control of company president Hirokazu Nakamura, the company saw their sales of SUVs boom in Japan, leading to a huge success for the company. In the 1990s, Chrysler sold their stake in Diamond-Star motors to MMC, later renaming it Mitsubishi Motor Manufacturing of America in 1995 and Mitsubishi Motors North America, Manufacturing Division in 2002.
Amongst a number of company alliances and victories in motorsport, Mitsubishi have seen a fruitful lifespan, with further plans to focus on electric vehicles such as the i MiEV, an all-electric mini-car that was released to customers in 2009. With manufacturing facilities based worldwide and sales in over 160 countries, Mitsubishi remains a strong contender in global vehicle production and continues to enjoy popularity and success today.