Mitsubishi is a mainstream Japanese automaker with a lineup composed primarily of sedans and crossover vehicles. Though Mitsubishi's fortunes have been flagging somewhat in recent years, the company plans on revitalizing its lineup with a number of environmentally friendly hybrid and electric offerings.
Mitsubishi was established in 1870 by Yataro Iwasaki, a descendent of samurai, as a shipping company. After expanding into the mining and ship...
building industries, Mitsubishi entered the automotive realm in 1917 with the Model A, Japan's first series production passenger car. Though the company followed up with a number of commercial vehicles, it didn't produce a high-volume passenger car until the Mitsubishi 500 compact sedan of 1960.
By 1970, Mitsubishi had embarked upon such far-flung commercial fields as banking, electronics and trade, and decided it was time to transform its automotive division into an official company known as the Mitsubishi Motors Corporation. In 1971, Chrysler purchased a 15 percent stake in the new company, which began importing its Colt sedan into North America as a Dodge model. Mitsubishi would not begin selling vehicles under its own name in United States until 1982.
Mitsubishi enjoyed a significant amount of success in the 90s due to the popularity of its Eclipse and 3000GT sports cars, the former of which was also sold under Chrysler's Plymouth and Eagle marques. The following decade was more of a struggle for the automaker: in 2004, the company acknowledged that it had been systematically covering up vehicle defects since 1977, and in 2005 DaimlerChrysler elected to sever ties with the ailing company rather than provide much-needed financial assistance.
Sales in the United States have fallen precipitously over the past few years due to an aging lineup and the discontinuation of several key models, although the rally-inspired Lancer Evolution sport sedan has been a bright spot for the company. Moving forward, Mitsubishi hopes to revamp its image and sales with a host of environmentally-focused vehicles.