Car Stories: Mitsubishi, Or The Tale Of A Japanese David
|   Monday, November 11, 2013
The Japanese from Mitsubishi celebrate 40 years since entering the European market.
Mitsubishi is in 2013 a known name that does not surprise anyone. The Japanese brand has gained over time a solid reputation especially in the area of SUVs. But 40 years ago, Mitsubishi was for Europeans an exotic name that came from the Land of the Rising Sun. About as exotic as the Chinese brands that are now trying to get into Europe.

For the Japanese it was not easy to get into areas where non-domestic products are not trustworthy.
But the Japanese have persevered. They created alliances, and gradually landed in America and then in Europe. Today, the Japanese brands are valued worldwide for reliability and quality.

In 1917, Mitsubishi Shipbuilding was to launch the Mitsubishi Model A, the first mass produced automobile by the Japanese. It had seven seats and was handmade. The source of inspiration was the European model Fiat Tipo 3. The model was, however, much more expensive compared to its rivals in Europe and the United States, and would be produced in only 22 copies by 1921.

In 1937, the prototype PX33 was developed, a sedan designed for military use. It was the first Japanese car with four-wheel drive. With this mode, began the Mitsubishi tradition in the 4x4 area.

In 1969, the Mitsubishi Galant was launched, another name that would last for many generations in the list of Mitsubishi models.
To expand the company and conquer new markets the management has decided it's time for an alliance. So Chrysler appeared in the equation of Mitsubishi, the American company buying 15 percent of the young Japanese brand. The business provided the Japanese an entry ticket to the U.S. market, even if at first this was done under the Chrysler logo.

The first model that fell under this treatment was the Japanese model Colt Galant, sold in America under the name Dodge Colt. The same model was to enter the Australian market as the Chrysler Sigma.

In the UK, the official launch of the brand in Europe, Mitsubishi Motors, was to take place at the Motor Show in London from 1974. In London, Mitsubishi, presented to the public the Lancer and Galant, the first two models launched in Europe. Then, Mitsubishi had to break into the rest of the major European markets: Germany (1977) and France (1978).

In 1991, the Japanese were allied with Volvo for the purchase of a former Daf factory in the Netherlands. The plant was to be re-equipped and in 1995 had to be renamed NedCar. Here was to be assembled, on a common platform with the Volvo S40, the first Mitsubishi designed for Europe. Its name: the Charisma. Production continues in collaboration with Daimler-Chrysler, also assembling the models Colt and the Smart Forfour there.

Today, Mitsubishi is one of the major Japanese brands present on the European market. Mitsubishi is one of the most beloved brands in Russia, where it lead the market for many years. The Japanese even have a factory in Russia, in Kaluga, built according with the model initiated in the 80s, together with collaborators from the French group PSA.
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