Today is a big day for Mitsubishi Motors Australia, with the brand celebrating 40 years Down Under.
Looking back over the history of the brand, it's easy to assume one of two things. Either, it seems like Mitsubishi has been around for a lot longer than 40 years. Or, as some in the CarAdvice office have remarked, that 40 years went by pretty quickly. Of course, the brand was familiar to Australians already, having been on sale here since 1964, but distributed by the Chrysler Corporation.
Whichever way you see it, it was 40 years ago that Mitsubishi Motors Corporation and Mitsubishi Corporation entered into a joint partnership to buy the Tonsley Park production site in South Australia, and establish Mitsubishi Motors as a key brand in the Australian domestic market.
Back then in 1980, Mitsubishi had a 24-strong authorised dealer network around the country.
Move forward to 2020 and the brand's footprint in the Australian market has grown steadily, but surely. Now, the brand has a network of 183 dealers around the country, and works closely with local and International suppliers to cater to around 77,000 new owners every year.
A product range that started with Sigma, Magna and Colt through the 1980s has shifted to an SUV and ute-focused market served by the Pajero Sport, Triton and Outlander. Joining that range not long ago, the new Eclipse Cross has been a popular vehicle in its segment.
Mitsubishi also pushes clever technology to market like the Super Select II 4WD system under Pajero, Pajero Sport and Triton. In fact, Triton was one of the first dual cabs you could set into AWD and leave it there, thanks to the Super Select system. Now, Eclipse Cross and Outlander PHEV also feature 'Super All Wheel Control' technology as well.
Importantly, Mitsubishi Australia has confirmed its facelifted Eclipse Cross will reach Australia in November, while a model-year update to the Outlander PHEV will touch down in October (ahead of the new-generation Outlander's unveiling expected in 2021).
"Over the years, our products and dealerships have certainly changed," Mitsubishi Motors CEO Shaun Westcott, said. "What hasn't changed is our commitment to Australia – it is as firm now as it was on October 1st, 1980. 40 years is an incredible achievement, and I'd like to acknowledge all of those who have contributed to that success."
Westcott explained that Mitsubishi will continue to explore technologies that have the potential to change the way we live with our cars into the future. Further, Mitsubishi continues to work on left-field mobility solutions that will change the way we think about how we move around our cities.
"Imagine your petrol station on your roof, and your home battery on wheels," Westcott said. "This is the promise of PHEV vehicles and Dendo Drive House technology (shown above). The technology is not so far away – it launched in Japan last year, and there is a feasibility study for this technology in Australia this year."
While Mitsubishi has a long heritage in motorsport around the world – particularly rally and rally endurance racing – the brand has also aligned itself with various partnerships. In Australia, they include a national partnership with Disaster Relief Australia.
"Through these partnerships, we are able to give back to communities who are challenged by issues such as the 2019-2020 bushfires, or COVID-logistical support, and through our products, offer relief and immediate assistance," Westcott said.
All Mitsubishi vehicles sold from today on, will include the new Diamond Advantage program, offering owners a 10-year capped price servicing scheme, a ten-year/200,000km warranty and four years roadside assistance. Announced recently, the landmark ten-year warranty offering seems like a fitting way to celebrate a milestone.
One thing the brand over indexes on is the length of time a typical owner holds on to their new Mitsubishis. And, often owners head straight back into a dealer to buy another one when it's time to upgrade.
Let us know in the comments section below if you own a Mitsubishi, but also tell us which model is your favourite Mitsubishi.
There's been plenty over the years – Cordia Turbo, Ralliart Colt, Pajero of course if you're into exploring – or my favourite to get the ball rolling. How about a Mitsubishi Lancer EVO IX? What's your favourite Mitsu?
Timeline in Australia (as provided by Mitsubishi Australia)
1980 Mitsubishi Motors Australia Limited formed
1980 First Mitsubishi-badged vehicle produced at Tonsley Park
1985 Mitsubishi Pajeros take out the first two places in the Paris-Dakar rally. The first of 12 wins to 2009.
1989 One-millionth engine produced at the Lonsdale plant
1992 First Lancer Evolution released
1996 Tommi Makinen wins the World Rally Championship in a Lancer Evolution III
2003 Mitsubishi purchases Ralliart Australia
2008 Last 380 model leaves the Tonsley Park Factory, marking the end of 34 years of local motor vehicle production.
2010 Global first: Mitsubishi launches the iMiev (PHEV) – introduced in Australia
2013 Global first: Mitsubishi launches the first SUV PHEV with the Outlander PHEV – introduced in Australia
2014 Outlander PHEV becomes the first EV to participate in the gruelling Australasian Safari Rally.
2019 National Community Fleet Program launched
2020 40th anniversary of Mitsubishi in Australia – MMAL breaks ground on new Head Office in Adelaide
MMAL launches new Diamond Advantage program
MMC announces Australia is first market to launch the new Eclipse Cross