Mitsubishi 100th Anniversary

100 YEARS OF INNOVATION

Mitsubishi’s automotive story begins in 1917 when the Mitsubishi Shipbuilding CO., LTD. introduced its very first car, the Mitsubishi Model-A. Since then, Mitsubishi has been on the forefront of automotive technology, engineering and innovation. Take a look back at some of the Mitsubishi automotive milestones from the last century by watching this short video or scroll down to see a timeline.

A CENTURY OF CAR HISTORY


1917

MITSUBISHI PRODUCES MODEL-A

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

1962

MITSUBISHI WINS 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.

1970

ELECTRIC VEHICLE TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT BEGINS

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

COLT GALANT GTO IS BORN

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.

1971

DODGE COLT FIRST MITSUBISHI IN AMERICA

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

COLT F2000 WINS GRAND PRIX

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

1973

LANCER 1600GSR DOMINATES RALLY

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.

1976

SILET SHAFT TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPED

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

1980

FIRST TURBOSHARGED DIESEL

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

1982

AMERICAN DEBUT

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

1983

MONTERO WINS DARKAR 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.

1987

ACTIVE ELECTRONICALLY CONTROLLED SUSPENSION TECHNOLOGY

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.

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.

1990

FIRST 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.

HIGH-PERFORMANCE 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 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.

1992

TECHNOLOGY OF THE YEAR

Japan Car Research and Journalist Conference names Mitsubishi Motors’ INVEC System, which adapts to a person’s driving habits, Adaptive Shift Control Technology of the Year.

LANCER EVOLUTION LAUNCHES

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

MIVEC ENGINE TECHNOLOGY

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

1996

GASOLINE DIRECT INJECTION (GDI) TECHNOLGY

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

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.

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.

1999

WORLD RECORD DISTANCE

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.

2003

LANCER EVOLUTION ARRIVES IN UNITED STATES

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

2005

4TH GENERATION ECLIPSE

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

OUTLANDER IS FIRST ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY COMPACT SUV

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.

2007

12TH DAKAR CHAMPIONSHIP

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

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.

2008

DRIVE@EARTH PLEDGE

Mitsubishi Motors proudly announces Drive@Earth, 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.

2009

i-MiEV GOES INTO PRODUCTION

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.

2010

PX-MiEV CONCEPT REVEALED

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

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.

30 YEARS

Mitsubishi Motors celebrates its 30th anniversary in the U.S.

2013

FIRST PLUG-IN HYBRID SUV – OUTLANDER PHEV – RELEASED

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.

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.

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.

2017

THE NEXT 100 YEARS

Mitsubishi is setting it’s sights on the next generation of EV and connected car technology with Tesla-rivaling range, autmoated driving capabilities, a whole new look, and much more.

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