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December 8, 1981 – Mitsubishi lands in America

Mitsubishi Starion

In 1971 Chrysler Corporation purchased 15 percent of Mitsubishi, allowing the Japanese company to sell the Mitsubishi Galant as a rebadged Dodge Colt in America to compete in the growing small car market in the US. Less than a decade later Chrysler was bleeding financially and Mitsubishi was not pleased with sales performance.

1982 Mitsubishi Tredia

In 1980 Chrysler sold its Australian manufacturing division to Mitsubishi to avoid bankruptcy. Then in 1981 Mitsubishi founded Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc to sell cars with their own name on them in the US. The first Mitsubishi badged vehicles arrived on US shores on this day in 1981. For the 1982 model year, 30,000 Mitsubishi vehicles landed in the US, including the Tredia, Cordia and Starion models, followed by the Mighty Max pickup truck.

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