The Troubled, but Successful History of Mitsubishi
Mitsubishi Motor Company is part of the Mitsubishi Group, one of the largest industrial corporations in Japan. In 2011, Mitsubishi was the 16th largest automaker in the world based on the volume of production and the 6th in Japan.
The first Mitsubishi vehicle was produced in 1917. It was the first Japanese series production car. After producing aircraft engines, military vehicles, ships and machinery for a while, the company got back to manufacturing cars after the II World War. The company functions under its current name ever since 1970. Throughout its history, it established a variety of partnerships with other automakers in order to expand and to reach foreign markets. The first partnership was with Chrysler and the first Mitsubishi product to reach the US market was rebadged as the Dodge Colt. The Mitsubishi brand was only introduced to Americans in 1982. Other notorious partnerships were established with Volvo, Peugeot Citroen, Hyundai, Renault, Samcor, Colt & Lonsdale, Hindustan and a variety of Chinese companies.
The recent history of Mitsubishi is marked by troubles, but the company got back on its feet and reported profits in 2006 when it introduced the Mitsubishi i kei car. In the 90s, the company was strongly affected by the Asian financial crisis. After that, it was forced to admit that it had covered up some defects in its cars ever since 1977. The effects of this scandal were catastrophic. Lots of cars were recalled in service and company officials were arrested. Mitsubishi tried to revitalize its sales and came up with the finance offer which allowed customers to buy cars with0 down payment, interest and monthly payments for the first year. This offered eventually turned against the company leaving it with used and unpaid cars.
Nowadays Mitsubishi has six manufacturing plants worldwide and another 12 ones which are shared with other companies. The Mitsubishi cars are currently sold in over 160 countries.