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Centenary year for Mitsubishi – and new models for SA

  • 100 years of production since first Mitsubishi Model-A
  • First run was only 22 cars – but scene was set
  • New models for SA to celebrate the centenary
MITSUBISHI CENTENARY: Recognise it? The first mass-produced car in Japan – a run of 22 – was the Mitsubishi Model-A with undeniable similarity to Ford’s product across the Pacific Ocean. Image: Mitsubishi

JOHANNESBURG, Gauteng – Mitsubishi SA is planning to celebrate the brand’s production centenary with new and improved models – so here’s a short history of the brand…

Many firsts have punctuated the brand’s first 100 years as a vehicle manufacturer – not least the claim to having created the world’s first SUV – and, here in South Africa, Mitsubishi Motors is preparing to keep the momentum going with a number of new or improved models through 2017.

The highlight, the automaker says, should be the new Pajero Sport (details below).

MITSUBISHI CENTENARY: A Mitsubishi Pajero in the Dakar Rally. Image: Mitsubishi

Back in 1917 the Mitsubishi Model A – perhaps riding on the Ford Model-A – or even supported by that brand – was not only the Mitsubishi Shipping Company’s very first production model but also the first mass-production Japanese car.

Then, 16 years later, came the PX33 – the first passenger vehicle with full-time all-wheel drive; a long time later – in 1970! – came the first mass-produced electric car.

READ THE FULL timeline of the Mitsubishi brand history

Mitsubishi’s South African heritage dates back  through four decades to the small Colt 1100 range of cars – proudly assembled in SA and retailed under the Dodge brand.

In way more modern times Mitsubishi established itself for some years as the king of the Dakar Rally – in Africa and South America – with 12 wins, seven of them in a row. Now the all-new Mitsubishi Triton, the compact cross-over known as the ASX, and the luxurious 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander, are paving the way for a number of new models to celebrate Mitsubishi’s first 100 years.

WATCH A VIDEO of Mitsubishi’s history

Among them will be a compact Eclipse Cross (unveiled at the 2017 Geneva auto show in March) due in South Africa in 2018. An earlier arrival, however, will be an all-new Pajero Sport with a new-generation high-performance turbodiesel engine and an eight-speed auto transmission – another first for the Triple Diamond brand.

The new Pajero Sport will be available with the latest version of Mitsubishi’s Super-Select 4WD-II system, including transfer gearing with low range.

MITSUBISHI CENTENARY: Back in 1985 and Mitsubishi begins to show its mettle with a series of seven outright wins and 12 overall. Image: Mitsubishi

Nic Campbell, Mitsubishi SA’s general manager, told Carman’s Corner in a media release: “Our products have earned their place in the South African market over many years and our latest updated models will celebrate our brand’s first 100 years.

“The imminent arrival of two new models will be the start of the next 100 years!”

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