Mitsubishi Cars History


Mitsubishi’s automotive story begins in 1917 when the Mitsubishi Shipbuilding CO., LTD. introduced its very first car, the Mitsubishi Model-A. Experience Mitsubishi’s innovation story for yourself below.

100 Years of Automotive Experience

1917 Model-A

Designed as a luxury vehicle for government officials, the Mitsubishi Model-A becomes the first mass-production car in Japanese history.

Mitsubishi Cars History - 1917

1962 Macau Grand Prix

Mitsubishi Motors wins its first entry into an international motorsports event and immediately sets a track record with the Mitsubishi 500 Super Deluxe. It’s also the first vehicle to be aerodynamically tested in a wind tunnel in Japan.

Mitsubishi Cars History - 1917


1970 Electric Vehicle Technology

EV research and development begins, setting the stage for Mitsubishi Motors to be the first automaker to mass market an electric vehicle.

Mitsubishi Cars History - 1970

1970 Colt Galant GTO

Born from the five-time Grand Prix-winning Colt F Series, the new Galant GTO launches in Japan and will eventually lead to the iconic Lancer Evolution.

Mitsubishi Cars History - 1970

1971 Dodge Colt

Mitsubishi Motors sells its first car in America, rebadged as the Dodge Colt.

Mitsubishi Cars History - 1971

1971 Colt F2000

The Colt F2000 Formula racecar, engineered with aerospace technology, wins Mitsubishi Motors’ sixth Grand Prix title.

Mitsubishi Cars History - 1971

1973 Lancer 1600GSR

In Lancer’s debut year, the Lancer 1600GSR dominates the Australian Southern Cross rally with a First-Second-Third-place sweep, garnering Mitsubishi Motors’ fourth Rally title overall.

Mitsubishi Cars History - 1973

1976 Silent Shaft Technology

Mitsubishi Motors develops breakthrough Silent Shaft engine technology and licenses the patents to Porsche, Saab and Fiat®.

Mitsubishi Cars History - 1976


1980 Turbocharged Diesel

Mitsubishi Motors engineers the world’s first energy-saving Turbo Diesel engine with Silent Shaft Technology.

Mitsubishi Cars History - 1980

1982 America Debut

The Mitsubishi Motors marquee is introduced in America with the launch of the Tredia, Cordia and Starion models.

Mitsubishi Cars History - 1982

1983 Dakar™ Rally

The Montero (Pajero) makes endurance race history by winning the triple crown in its first appearance at the Paris-Dakar™ Rally, widely considered the world’s toughest race.

Mitsubishi Cars History - 1983

1987 Galant VR-4

The Galant VR-4 is the first vehicle to feature an Active Electronically Controlled Suspension (ECS) and receives Mitsubishi Motors’ first Car of the Year award in Japan.

Mitsubishi Cars History - 1987

1989 Motor Trend Car of the Year

The Galant VR-4 wins both the WRC1000 Lake and RAC Rallies, and is named Motor Trend Magazine’s Import Car of the Year.

Mitsubishi Cars History - 1989


1990 Traction Control System

Mitsubishi Motors designs the world’s first electronically-controlled Traction Control System, which would later become a legally required safety feature in many countries, including the United States.

Mitsubishi Cars History - 1990

1990 3000GT

Mitsubishi Motors launches the iconic 3000GT (GTO) with groundbreaking technology which includes a high-performance fulltime AWD suspension and active aerodynamics. Motor Trend Magazine names the 3000GT VR-4 its Import Car of the Year for 1991.

Mitsubishi Cars History - 1990

1990 Eclipse

The Eclipse debuts in America with a turbocharged 4G63 engine and all-wheel drive technology, and makes Car and Driver’s ’10 Best List’ from 1989 through 1992.

Mitsubishi Cars History - 1990

1992 Technology of the Year

Japan Car Research and Journalist Conference names Mitsubishi Motors’ INVEC System Adaptive Shift Control Technology of the Year.

Mitsubishi Cars History - 1992

1992 Lancer Evolution

The iconic Lancer Evolution launches and goes on to win several World Rally Championship, track racing and hill climb titles.

Mitsubishi Cars History - 1992

1992 Mivec Technology

Mitsubishi Motors introduces next-generation MIVEC engine technology that maintains engine performance while maximizing fuel efficiency.

Mitsubishi Cars History - 1992

1996 GDI

Mitsubishi Motors leads the development of environmentally friendly engineering by launching the world’s first Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI) engine.

Mitsubishi Cars History - 1996

1998 WRC Championship

Tommi Makinen wins a record four consecutive WRC Driver’s Championships from 1996 to 1999 while Mitsubishi claims the WRC Manufacturer’s Championship in 1998, all with multiple generations of the Lancer Evolution.

Mitsubishi Cars History - 1998

1998 Year in Racing

Mitsubishi Motors’ banner year in racing includes Montero’s domination of the Dakar Rally with a top-four sweep, a FIA World Class Cup Cross-Country Rally win and Lancer Evolution’s victory in the WRC.

Mitsubishi Cars History - 1998

1999 World Record

The FTO-EV prototype earns a Guinness World Record by being the first electric car to travel 2,000 kilometers in 24 hours, beating the previous record by 300km.

Mitsubishi Cars History - 1999


2003 Lancer Evolution

The All-Wheel-Control equipped Lancer Evolution arrives in the United States, and Automobile magazine promptly honors it as 2003 Automobile of the Year.

Mitsubishi Cars History - 2003

2005 Eclipse 4th Gen

The 4th generation Eclipse, based on the Eclipse Concept E, earns a 2005 Industry Design Excellence Award.

Mitsubishi Cars History - 2005

2005 Outlander

The launch of the Outlander marks the world’s first compact SUV to offer an environmentally friendly PZEV V6 engine, reaffirming Mitsubishi Motors’ dedication to pioneering green technology.

Mitsubishi Cars History - 2005

2007 12th Dakar Championship

Mitsubishi Motors sets a record for seven straight Dakar Rally wins; their twelfth championship overall.

Mitsubishi Cars History - 2007

2007 Lancer Evolution X

The Lancer Evolution X launches with Super All-Wheel Control. Deemed one of the most advanced AWD systems in the world, it wins Car of the Year in Japan.

Mitsubishi Cars History - 2007

2008 [email protected]

Mitsubishi Motors proudly announces [email protected], a pledge to create vehicles that can exist in harmony with people, society and the environment. This effort combines the power of EV, PHEV and other emissions-reducing technologies with corporate initiatives designed to preserve and sustain the global environment.

Mitsubishi Cars History - 2008

2009 i-MiEV

After more than 40 years of development and many awards, the production version of the 2010 Mitsubishi Innovative Electric Vehicle (i-MiEV) is launched to multiple markets worldwide.

Mitsubishi Cars History - 2009


2010 PX-MiEV

The PX-MiEV concept vehicle is revealed to the public. Powered by Mitsubishi Motors’ all-new plug-in hybrid system, PX-MiEV employs both series and parallel hybrid technologies to maximize on-road performance while minimizing emissions and fuel consumption.

Mitsubishi Cars History - 2010

2012 Greenest Vehicle of the Year

The launch of the i-MiEV marks the democratization of EV technology in the United States. It ranks #1 on the EPA’s list of Fuel Economy Leaders and is named the ‘Greenest Vehicle of 2012’ by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy.

Mitsubishi Cars History - 2012

2012 Mitsubishi Motors Celebrates Its 30th Anniversary in the U.S.

30 Years Mitsubishi Motors celebrates Its 30th anniversary in the U.S.

Mitsubishi Cars History - 2012

2013 Outlander PHEV

Mitsubishi Motors releases the Outlander PHEV, the world’s first Plug in Hybrid SUV, winning the RJC Technology of the Year Award and Car of the Year’s Innovation Award in Japan.

Mitsubishi Cars History - 2013

2014 MiEV Evolution III

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.

Mitsubishi Cars History - 2014

2015 Baja Portalegre 500

Mitsubishi Motors tests its EV and Twin-Motor 4WD technologies in the Baja Portalegre 500, setting the fastest time in three out of five segments, all using the Outlander PHEV.

Mitsubishi Cars History - 2015

2017 Outlander PHEV: American Debut

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV – Mitsubishi introduces the Outlander PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Electric vehicle) to the line up and it receives a “Best 5 All-Around Performance” award from the Automotive Science Group (ASG).

Mitsubishi Cars History - 2017

2017 Limited Editions

Mitsubishi adds three new Limited Edition crossovers to its vehicle lineup: the Outlander LE, Outlander Sport LE and Eclipse Cross LE. All feature exclusive 18″ black alloy wheels, distinctive badging and styling that stands out from the pack.

Mitsubishi Cars History - 2017

2018 A Classic Reborn

The well-loved Eclipse moniker makes a comeback in the form of a technology-based crossover, the Eclipse Cross, which goes on to win a prestigious GOOD DESIGN™ award for Design Excellence and Design Innovation by The Chicago Athenaeum.

Mitsubishi Cars History - 2018

The Next 100 Years

After 100 years of automotive engineering and accomplishments, Mitsubishi Motors is setting its sights on the next generation of EV and connected car technology.

Mitsubishi Cars History - The Next 100 Years

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