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Mitsubishi's history goes all the way back to 1917, when the Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Company, Ltd., introduced Japan's first series-production automobile. The Model A was a hand-built seven-seat sedan based on Fiat's Tipo 3. It turned out to be too expensive, when compared to American and European mass-produced rivals, and was discontinued after only 22 cars had been produced, in 1921.

Thirteen years later, Mitsubishi Shipbuilding merged with Mitsubishi Aircraft, a company that had been formed in 1920 to construct aircraft engines. The new company was called Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), and it was the largest privately-held company in Japan. It concentrated mostly only aircraft, ships, and railroad cars, but in 1937 it introduced the prototype sedan PX33, which was designed for military use. It was also the first Japanese-built passenger car with full-time four-wheel drive.

After the end of World War II, MHI returned to manufacturing vehicles, including the production of Fuso busses, a three-wheeled cargo vehicle called the Mizushima, and a scooter called the Silver Pigeon. However, the Allied powers ordered that Japan's family-controlled industrial conglomerates be dismantled, and MHI was divided into West, Central and East Japan Heavy-Industries in 1950.

In 1951, East Japan Heavy-Industries began importing the Henry J, an knockdown-kit (CKD) American sedan built by Kaiser Motors. That same year, Central Japan Heavy-Industries formed a similar contract with Willys for the CKD-assembled Jeep CJ-3B, which led to licensed Mitsubishi Jeeps remaining in production until 1998.

By the 1960s, with a greatly improving Japanese economy, Central Japan Heavy-Industries, which had changed its name to Shin Mitsubishi Heavy-Industries, had already re-started their automotive department, and was ready to release the Mitsubishi 500, a mass-market sedan, it followed this with the Minica kei car in 1962, and the Colt 1000 - the first Colt - a year after that. Meanwhile, West Japan Heavy-Industries (which was renamed Mitsubishi Shipbuilding & Engineering) and East Japan Heavy-Industries (renamed to Mitsubishi Nihon Heavy-Industries) had also expanded their automotive departments, and in 1964 the three were reunited as Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

Within three years the new MHI's output was over 75,000 vehicles per year, and, with the successful release of the 1969 Galant, and similar growth in its commercial vehicle division, it formed Mitsubishi Motors Corporation, on April 22nd, 1970. In 1981, Mitsubishi Motors North America (MMNA) was formed after tensions arose with MMC's American import partner, the Chrysler Corporation over the international subcompact market.

Since then, Mitsubishi has faced some troubles in the United States, but it is now re-energizing the brand. New model introductions have had mixed success, with the Outlander and Eclipse showing growth over 2005 but the Endeavor SUV failing to meet expectations. A new Lancer compact car is to debut in 2007, and the company is seeking new export markets for a redesigned Galant.

Latest Mitsubishi Reviews

2012 Mitsubishi Eclipse
The 2012 Mitsubishi Eclipse, which sells in an MSRP range of $19,499 to $32,599, has not played well with reviewers. It is an affordable sports car with a pleasingly aggressive stance, but it just does not have the engine chops to stand up to the competition. The Hyundai Genesis Coupe, for $2,750 more offers 48 more horses and better tech standards, while the Mazda Miata, for roughly $23,00 has much more impressive handling.

The only real change for 2012 with the Eclipse is the all new SE trim that adds a nice mix of black mirrors, dark alloy wheels, and rocker panel graphics to the existing GS Sport trim. The line opens with the base Eclipse GS coupe that pairs a five-speed manual with a 2.4-liter four cylinder. Standards include AC, cruise power locks and windows, keyless access, and a six-speed audio unit with an auxiliary input.

Move up to the GS Sport for $25,000 and the transmission drops to a four-speed automatic. All the standards apply, but the leather front seats are heated, there's a sunroof, and audio unit morphs into a 650-watt Rockford Fosgate unit. more
2011 Mitsubishi Galant
There just really isn't much to commend the 2011 Mitsubishi Galant. The interior has a decidedly cheap feel, the engine lacks power, and overall the styling is dated.
2011 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder
The sporty and fast 2011 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder is an affordable convertible 4-seat roadster with two doors. It competes with the Ford Mustang ($27,145) and the Mazda MX5 Miata ($28,550) with base pricing beginning at $26,500.
2010 Mitsubishi Lancer
Classified by the EPA as a compact sedan and able to deliver 22/31 mpg urban/rural, the 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer is sporty, user friendly and very safe. It has been awarded five out of five stars by the NHTSA for driver's side frontal crash test safety.
2010 Mitsubishi Galant
With suggested retail pricing between $21,599 - $23,999, the 2010 Mitsubishi Galant competes with the Honda Accord, Hyundai Sonata, Toyota Camry and other leading midsized sedans.
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