Mitsubishi, one of the world’s oldest car companies, didn’t originally start out as a car company. They got their start as a shipping company, owning over a fleet of over 70 ships. Over the years, they evolved into a popular automobile manufacturer, creating the company you’re familiar with today.
How the Company Got Started
Mitsubishi was created by Yataro Iwasaki in 1873 when he took over the Tosa Clan business. Originally a shipping company, Mitsubishi has served several roles – including offering financial, warehousing, and shipping services. In 1884, the company purchased the Nagasaki Shipyard from the Japanese government. This marked a period of extreme growth for the company as they began to build ships for the government and other organizations in the world. After several transfers of ownership, the company continued to excel at shipbuilding.
During World War II, the company made military aircrafts for the Japanese government. The aircraft was well ahead of its time, surprising even the most experienced of pilots.
Eventually, four companies were established under the Mitsubishi brand: MUFG Bank, Mitsubishi Corporation, Mitsubishi Electric, and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. Underneath Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, there are the following industrial companies: Mitsubishi Motors, Mitsubishi Atomic Industry, Mitsubishi Chemical, Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems, and
Mitsubishi’s automotive journey started in 1917, when they produced the Mitsubishi Model A – Japan’s first series-production vehicle. The company also created the PX33 in the 1930s, which can be seen pictured above. It was one of the most popular vehicles of its time. By the 1960s, Mitsubishi had become a family-friendly car brand. They were producing about 75,000 vehicles per year, making them an extremely successful company. By 1980, they had produced a million vehicles. Currently, they are Japan’s sixth leading car manufacturer.
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Mitsubishi also built Japan’s first early warning weather system. This came after a typhoon killed more than 5,000 people in 1959 off the coast of the Kii Peninsula. In addition to this accomplishment, Mitsubishi also began to develop some of the first space vehicles in Japan.
Mitsubishi has a history of partnering with other car manufacturers. In the 1980s, the company partnered with Chrysler to create both compact and subcompact cars. Chrysler eventually ended up with stock in the company. Colt, Lonsdale, Hyundai, Samcor, Proton, Volvo, Suzuki, Hindustan, Volvo Trucks, Groupe PSA, Volkswagen, Nisaan, Renault, and several smaller Chinese car automotive manufacturers have also been partners with Mitsubishi throughout the past several decades. The other Mitsubishi brands have consistently held ownership and stock in the automotive sector as well.
The Mitsubishi logo has always maintained a geometric look, with three diamond or square-like shapes connected at the center. Technically, the name Mitsubishi means “three water chestnuts” in Japanese. According to 1000 Logos, the words and shapes also represent “progress, technology, and quality.”
According to CarSalesBase, Mitsubishi has sold over almost 3 million cars since 2000. A chart displaying their sales units and growth percentages can be viewed below. In the 1980s, they experienced a significant period of growth. After this, their sales have plateaued for the next several decades. In 2009 they experienced a serious rise in sales, going from averaging around 100,000 vehicles per year to only selling 53,986 units. However, their numbers slowly increased as the years went on. By 2017, they were back to selling 100,000+ cars per year.
Many Different Models
Mitsubishi has a unique selection of vehicles available for purchase. Here’s a list of the ones currently available:
Avg Asking Price
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
This plug-in hybrid vehicle operates off of DC fast charging, has ultra-low CO2 emissions, and 4 wheel-drive technology.
This SUV can seat up to seven people, gets up to 27 MPG combined, and comes with a completely redesigned wide, muscular design.
The Eclipse Crossover gets up to 26 MPG combined, seats up to five people, and comes in either all-wheel or two-wheel drive.
Mitsubishi Outlander Sport
The Outlander Sport can seat up to five people, gets up to 27 MPG combined, and comes with flexible cargo space and intelligent safety features
Mitsubishi Mirage G4
This compact car can get up to 37 combined MPG, seat up to five people, and has a competitive turning radius.
The hatchback version of the Mirage can get up to 39 combined MPG, seat up to five people, and offers versatile cargo space.
Most Popular Models
The Mitsubishi Outlander is the most popular model by far. It comes in a hybrid and sport model.
Mitsubishi was created in Japan, so naturally they are extremely popular there. However, as they began to expand throughout the world, their popularity was not as it was expected to be. Due to financial mishaps and other retailers having hefty marketing campaigns, their sales plateaued. See the sales section above for more information. Despite not being as popular in the West, their international sales have begun to increase as they have added SUVs and more unique types of vehicles to their lineup.
Currently, all Mitsubishi cars are made in Japan, with their headquarters located in Minato, Tokyo. They are sold in Asia, North America, and other continents across the globe.
Because Mitsubishi has so many corporations, their sustainability plans are all connected. Their website states a brief synopsis of their mission: “Global sustainability issues have significantly evolved over the years and continue to change today. MC recognizes the importance of staying attuned to changes within the global environment and society, and we aim to generate societal and environmental value by addressing key sustainability issues through our business activities which span numerous industrial sectors.”
They focus on improving the following areas of sustainability:
- Climate Change
- Environmental Management
- Water Resources
- Prevention of Pollution
- Efficient Use of Resources
- Human Rights
- Labor Practices
- Diversity Management
- Occupational Health and Safety
- Human Resource Development
- Customer Responsibility
- Supply Chain Management
Safety is also extremely important to Mitsubishi, as it is to all car manufacturers. They offer standard and advanced safety features:
- RISE Body Construction
- Front Pedestrian Impact Crumple Zones
- Active Stability Control
- Anti-Lock Braking System
- Traction Control Logic
- Adaptive Cruise Control
- Forward Collision Mitigation
- Lane Departure Warning
- Active Blind Spot Assist
- Rear Automatic Emergency Braking
- Blind Spot Warning
Newer models, such as the Outback, include a comprehensive camera system – allowing drivers to see what’s going on from all angles. This camera system includes a stellar backup camera, as well.
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