MMC Heritage

The company known today as "Mitsubishi Motors Corporation" has a long and rich history dating back to the 19th century, at a time when steam power reigned supreme on land and sea…

Back to 1870

Japan's rapid industrialization in the late 1800’s boosted the ambitions of its entrepreneurs. The boldest of all was Yataro Iwasaki, who was to become the founder of Mitsubishi. Born to a samurai family, he proved an able manager and in 1870, decided to set up his own shipping company with three steamships.

Two clan crests, one logo

Initially, Yataro called his company "Tsukumo", but the flags on his ships displayed the now-famous Three-Diamond emblem and by 1874 he had adopted the name "Mitsubishi" (or “Three Diamonds”). He also created the now famous Three-Diamond mark by combining two images: the angular form of his family's crest and the three-leaf crest of the Tosa clan, his first employer.

Trading, banks and aircrafts

Overtime, Mitsubishi grew into a successful company present in a multitude of areas, from international trading and shipbuilding to banking, optics and aircraft design & manufacturing. Actually, aircraft manufacturing took precedence over car manufacturing, spelling the end of production in 1921 of Mitsubishi's first car, the Model-A launched three years earlier.

Landmark vehicles

The demise of Model-A did not prevent Mitsubishi from further exploring transportation, introducing Japan’s first Diesel engine ("450AD") for use in motor vehicles in 1931 or Mitsubishi’s first bus the next year. To become of major importance a few decades later, Japan’s first 4WD vehicle and the forerunner of today’s ASX, New Outlander and Pajero it was introduced in 1936: PX33.

Fast track

Accompanying Japan’s economic boom in the 50’s and 60’s, Mitsubishi boosted its automobile activities with the timely launch of the all-new 500 in 1960: a thoroughly engineered small car equally at ease in town as on the track bringing Mitsubishi is first ever (class) win at the 1962 Macau Grand Prix. That same year, the Colt 600 was unveiled: the first Mitsubishi car to wear that now famous name.

Expansion & Innovation

The "Motor Vehicle Division" of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. was spun off in 1970 to become “Mitsubishi Motors Corporation” or "MMC", marking the start of a new expansion with the subsequent launch of the ambitious new Lancer in 1973: the first Mitsubishi car to be sold in Europe (1975) and the one that really created Mitsubishi Motors' fantastic reputation in motor sports.

Stylish, tough and spirited, Lancer was also the precursor of a long list of cars that added Mitsubishi’s trademark innovation to this equation, from the world-first Silent Shaft technology, to today’s pioneering New Outlander: the first car in series production from a major manufacturer whose architecture has been designed from the outset to accomodate either Internal Combusion Engines (petrol or Diesel) and Plug-in Hybrid Electric drivetrains - a vehicle that confirms Mitsubishi Motors position as a global leader in green technologies

A Japanese global player

Mitsubishi Motors is proud of its Japanese heritage and of its Mitsubishi heritage. All along the years, both have allowed to create a unique personality for the Mitsubishi brand, blending sharp Japanese design & craftsmanship, utmost reliability, great value for money with a strong sense of innovation and the sort of emotion inherent to our sporting spirit.

Today, Mitsubishi Motors is a mid-size manufacturer (1,001,000 units for FY11) with a global footprint, building a range of vehicles designed & developed in Japan for world markets, built in 6 main manufacturing hubs located in 4 different countries (+ more than 12 business partner’s facilities in about 11 countries) and sold in over 160 world markets.

Tomorrow, Mitsubishi Motors Corporation is committed to two fundamental shifts in its product strategy, in line with structural changes in global market demand:

  • Move from regional cars (i.e. developed in one specific region for that same region) to global cars (i.e. developed centrally and using intelligent architectures allowing for all required variations and derivatives), such as the just launched all-new innovative "Global Small" for the B-Segment.
  • Very tangible move from an SUV-focused nameplate to being a supplier of environment-friendly passenger cars / crossovers with a presence in the professional/heavy-duty 4x4 market, supported by innovative proprietary technologies such as electric powertrain (first with i-MiEV in 2009), low CO2 ClearTec package featuring “Auto Stop & Go”, all-new "4N1" Euro 5 Diesel engine developed with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd., pioneering Plug-in Hybrid Electric drivetrains as fitted to New Outlander PHEV, etc,...

One family – One heritage – Three Principles

From the original shipping company set up in 1870, Mitsubishi grew over the years into a Japan-based multi-activity global group of companies, most of them leaders in their sectors.

Known for their cutting edge technology, for their global reach and for their commitment to serving the greater good of society, the now independent Mitsubishi companies operate separately in accordance with different management strategies. However, they all share the same heritage and for most of them, the Mitsubishi name and the famous Three-Diamond logo.

They are also bound by the Three Principles or the management philosophies created by Mitsubishi’s fourth president, Koyata Iwasaki: considered to be "Mitsubishi’s DNA", they were inherited like an unbroken yarn of traditions:

  • "Shoki Hoko" - Corporate Responsibility to Society
  • "Shoji Komei" - Integrity and Fairness
  • "Ritsugyo Boeki" - Global Understanding through Business

Backed by these philosophies the whole group continues active operations in a form of open organizations.

More information about the Mitsubishi group of companies can be found at: