A century of Mitsubishi automobiles

A century of Mitsubishi automobiles

Where it all started

Our story began in 1870 with the founding of a shipping trading company by Yataro Iwasaki. In 1917, we produced our first passenger vehicle. Fifty years later in 1970, the automotive division was separated from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

In 2017, Mitsubishi automobiles celebrated its 100th year anniversary. Throughout all that time, Mitsubishi automobiles has contributed to the global community by developing new technologies and tackling new domains.

A history of the Mitsubishi trademark

The original Mitsubishi trademark was created in the early years of the Japanese Meiji period by the founder Yataro Iwasaki. The trademark is actually a combination of two family crests: the sangaibishi(three-tiered water chestnut leaves) of the Iwasaki family and the mitsuganshiwa (three oak leaves) of the Yamanouchi family, feudal lords of the Tosa clan.

The trademark then underwent several changes before taking its present form as the now famous symbol of Mitsubishi. The current version of the trademark first appeared in 1910 on an English version of a sales catalogue.

100 years of automotive experience

1917

We produce the Model-A, Japan's first series production passenger car.

Model-AExplore Model-A

1936

Production began of the PX-33, Japan's first 4WD diesel passenger car prototype.

PX33Explore PX33

1946

We began producing the Mizushima XTM1, a 0.4-ton capacity three-wheeler cargo carrier. Production continued right up until 1962.

Mizushima XTM1Explore Mizushima XTM1

1946

Production began of the Silver Pigeon C-10, Japan's first two-wheel scooter.

Silver PigeonExplore Silver Pigeon

1959

The Leo was launched, a small three-wheel vehicle available in both truck and van styles.

LeoExplore Leo

1960

The Mitsubishi 500 was launched, the first compact four-wheel passenger car.

The Mitsubishi 500Explore 500

1961

The launch of the Mitsubishi 360, a light four-wheel passenger car powered by a fuel-sipping 359cc engine.

360Explore 360

1962

The launch of the Colt 600, the first Mitsubishi model to bear the Colt name, and the Minica, the name for the micro-compact cars in this series.

Colt 600Explore 600

1963

The launch of the Colt 1000, Mitsubishi's first mass-production 4-door sedan.

Colt 1000

1965

This year saw the launch of the Colt 800, Japan's first fastback.

Colt 800Explore Colt 800

1966

The Colt 1000F and Colt 1100 go into production.

Colt 1000FExplore Colt 1000F

1968

The new Colt 1200 and the Colt 1500 go into production.

The new Colt 1200 and the Colt 1500 go into production

1968

We began producing the Delica, a cab-over-type commercial vehicle and the forerunner of the first generation of the Mitsubishi L300.

Mitsubishi L300

1969

The launch of the first in the Galant series, the Colt Galant.

Explore Colt GalantExplore Colt Galant

1970

Production begins of the Colt Galant GTO-MI, -MII and -MR. This was the car that caused a sensation at the 1969 Tokyo Motor Show.

Galant GTOExplore Galant GTO

1970

Production begins on the Colt Galant 2-Door Hardtop, Mitsubishi's first hardtop.

Colt Galant 2-Door Hardtop
1970 - Mitsubishi Motors Corporation is established.

1973

The launch of the first of the Lancer series.

LancerExplore Lancer
1973 - The Lancer 1600GSR debuts and reigns at the 8th Australian Southern Cross Rally with a 1-2-3-4 place sweep!

1973

We produce the second generation of the Galant.

We produce the second generation of the Galant.

1976

The third generation Galant goes into production.

The third generation Galant goes into production.

1978

the Mirage (Colt) is launched, Mitsubishi's first FF2-box car.

the Mirage (Colt) is launched, Mitsubishi's first FF2-box car.Explore Mirage Colt

1978

Mitsubishi expands it's light commercial vehicle line-up with the production of the L200 (Forte) a 1-ton pickup.

Explore L200 (Forte)Explore L200 (Forte)

1979

Production begins of the first of the L300 series (the second generation Delica).

Production begins of the first of the L300 series (the second generation Delica).

1980

Production begins of the fourth generation Gallant.

1980

Production begins of the L200 4WD vehicle.

Production begins of the L200 4WD vehicle.

1982

The year that saw the launch of the Pajero, Japan's first turbocharger equipped diesel, multi-purpose 4WD vehicle.

Explore PajeroExplore Pajero

1983

We produced the fifth generation Galant, featuring an FF format for the first time.

We produced the fifth generation Galant, featuring an FF format for the first time.

1983

The Chariot was launched. This was Mitsubishi Motor's new mid-sized multi-use vehicle with seating for up to seven people.

Explore ChariotExplore Chariot

1983

Production begins of the third generation Lancer.

Production begins of the third generation Lancer.

1983

We produce the new Colt (Mirage), the first full model change.

We produce the new Colt (Mirage), the first full model change.

1984

Produced the Galant 4-door Hardtop, Mitsubishi’s first 4-door hardtop.

Produced the Galant 4-door Hardtop, Mitsubishi’s first 4-door hardtop.

1985

Launch of the Lancer Station Wagon (Mirage/Lancer Van).

Launch of the Lancer Station Wagon (Mirage/Lancer Van).

1986

Production of the third generation L300 (Delica) begins.

Production of the third generation L300 (Delica) begins.

1986

Production of the Lancer Station Wagon with full-time 4WD begins.

Production of the Lancer Station Wagon with full-time 4WD begins.

1987

Production begins on the sixth generation Galant, featuring the Dynamic Four.

Explore GalantExplore Galant

1988

Production begins of the fifth generation Lancer and Galant Hatchback.

Production begins of the fifth generation Lancer and Galant Hatchback.
The Galant VR-4 was the first vehicle to feature an Active Electronically Controlled Suspension (ECS).

1990

Launch of the 3000GT(GTO), a super 4WD sports car powered by a 3.0L V6 twin- turbo engine.

Explore GTOExplore GTO

1990

Launch of the Sigma /Diamante car. This was Mitsubishi’s entry into the upper-medium executive saloon class. It featured Mitsubishi-developed Traction Control System and was the first application of this technology in the world. It won the 1990-1991 Japan Car of the Year.

Launch of the Sigma /Diamante car

1991

Production begins of the second generation Pajero (Montero), featuring Mitsubishi’s new technology, Super Select 4WD and Multi-mode ABS.

Explore PajeroExplore Pajero

1991

Launch of the Space Runner (RVR), a new offering for the growing SUV market.

Explore Space Runner (RVR)Explore Space Runner (RVR)
1991 - Mitsubishi Motors introduces the MIVEC engine (Mitsubishi Innovative Valve timing Electronic Control system), which improves performance and fuel efficiency.

1991

Production begins of the sixth generation Lancer.

Production begins of the sixth generation Lancer.

1992

The year that saw the launch of the first generation of the Lancer Evolution.

Explore EvolutionExplore Evolution

1992

The seventh generation Galant goes into production.

The seventh generation Galant goes into production.

1992

Launch of the FTO, a new sports car featuring INVECS-II & Sports Mode automatic transmission with 1.8L/2.0L V6 engine. It wins 1996-1997 Japan Car of the Year.

Launch of the FTO

1995

Launch of the L200 pick-up, manufactured in Thailand.

Launch of the L200 pick-up

1995

Production begins of the seventh generation Lancer.

Production begins of the seventh generation Lancer.

1996

The Challenger was launched, a new 4WD SUV.

Explore ChallengerExplore Challenger

1996

Production begins of the eighth generation Galant/Galant Station Wagon. It wins 1996-1997 Japanese Car of the Year.

Production begins of the eighth generation Galant/Galant Station Wagon

1998

A Mitsubishi technology first.

Explore Active Yaw Control

1999

Production commences of the third generation Pajero (Montero).

Production commences of the third generation Pajero (Montero)

2001

The legendary Lancer re-enters the market with a stunning new look.

Explore Lancer EvolutionVIIExplore Lancer EvolutionVII

2005

We launch the Outlander, a mid-size SUV with V6 MIVEC engine and INVECS-III Sport Mode 6-speed CVT transmission.

Explore OutlanderExplore Outlander

2005

We launched the fourth generation Space Wagon (Grandis).

We launched the fourth generation Space Wagon (Grandis)

2006

Our new pickup truck L200 (Triton/Strada) is launched. It's a global strategic vehicle manufactured in Thailand.

Our new pickup truck L200 (Triton/Strada) is launched

2006

We launch i, a small car with a radical new design. It wins several awards, including the 2006-2007 Japanese Good Design Grand Prix.

Explore iExplore i

2006

Production begins of the fourth generation Pajero (Montero).

Production begins of the fourth generation Pajero (Montero)

2007

We launch the Lancer Evolution X. It wins a 2007-2008 special prize in Car of the Year Japan.

We launch the Lancer Evolution X

2007

The new Lancer (Lancer EX) is launched. It combines the inverted slant nose traditional on MMC sedans and a trapezoidal grille.

The new Lancer (Lancer EX) is launched

2008

We launch the Pajero Sport (also called Montero Sport/Nativa)

Explore Pajero SportExplore Pajero Sport

2009

We launched the i-MiEV, the world’s first mass-produced new generation 100% electric vehicle. It wins the 2009-2010 Car of the Year Japan's "Most Advanced Technology" Special Achievement Award.

Explore i-MiEVExplore i-MiEV
2009 - The newly developed power-efficient Twin Clutch Sport Shift Transmission (TC-SST), was a 6-speed automated manual transmission incorporating a dual automated clutch system to deliver lightning fast shifting for feel-good acceleration.
2009 - S-AWC (Super All Wheel Control) was specifically developed for the Lancer Evolution.

2010

The year we launched the ASX (also called Outlander Sport/RVR).

Explore ASXExplore ASX

2012

Production begins of the Mirage (Space Star) in Thailand, designed to be a global compact car.

Explore MirageExplore Mirage
2012 - The i-MiEV Evolution all-electric race car takes 2nd place at the 2012 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in the United States.
2012 - We launched the new Outlander, a mid-size SUV which reflects every facet of Mitsubishi’s car-building technology and knowledge.

2013

We launch the OUTLANDER PHEV, the world's first Plug-in Hybrid SUV.

Explore Outlander PHEVExplore Outlander PHEV
2014 - The MiEV Evolution III wins first and second place in Pikes Peak International Hill Climb's EV prototype division, beating the previous course record by more than 30 seconds.
2015 - Mitsubishi Motors tests its EV and Twin-Motor 4WD technologies in the Baja Portalegre 500 a cross-country race in Portugal. It set the fastest time in three out of five segments, all using the OUTLANDER PHEV.
2015 - The OUTLANDER PHEV enters the Asia Cross-Country Rally. It's the first PHEV to ever reach the finish line.

2017

We Launch the Eclipse Cross. It's an all-new compact SUV coupé, and it joins Mitsubishi Motors’ global lineup of crossover SUVs.

Explore Eclipse CrossExplore Eclipse Cross

Present

To be continued…

Staying true to our design philosophy of honesty, robustness and Japanese craftsmanship, we’ll continue to build impressive mobility solutions. Not just now, but for the future.

Creating a better tomorrow

Take a look at our new concept cars and see what exciting developments might be coming to a motor show near you.