Mitsubishi HistoryMitsubishi Motors Corporation (三菱自動車工業株式会社, Mitsubishi Jidōsha Kōgyō Kabushiki Kaisha?) is the fifth largest automaker in Japan and the fifteenth largest in the world by global unit sales. It is part of the Mitsubishi keiretsu, formerly the biggest industrial group in Japan, and was formed in 1970 from the automotive division of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.
Throughout its history it has courted alliances with foreign partners, a strategy pioneered by their first president Tomio Kubo to encourage expansion, and continued by his successors. A significant stake was sold to Chrysler Corporation in 1971 which it held for 22 years, while DaimlerChrysler was a controlling shareholder between 2000 and 2005. Long term joint manufacturing and technology licencing deals with the Hyundai Motor Company in South Korea and Proton in Malaysia were also forged, while in Europe the company co-owned the largest automobile manufacturing plant in the Netherlands with Volvo for ten years in the 1990s, before taking sole ownership in 2001.
Thanks to these alliances it benefitted strongly in the 1970s and '80s, increasing its annual production from 250,000 to over 1.5million units. But its strong presence in south-east Asia meant it suffered more than most of its competitors in the aftermath of the 1997 East Asian financial crisis, and since then the company has struggled to consistently increase sales and maintain profitability.
Mitsubishi photo gallery & specifications