Learning About the History of Mitsubishi in America

On the cusp of celebrating the nation’s birthday, we’re taking a look back at the history of Mitsubishi in America. From the introduction of the Model-A — the first mass-production car in Japan — Mitsubishi was destined to arrive in the United States. Fifty-five years after the Model-A made its debut, Mitsubishi unleashed a trio of exciting new cars stateside, kicking off a legacy that’s held strong for nearly 40 years.

Entering the American market

In 1982, Mitsubishi finally came to America and launched the Tredia, Cordia, and Starion to a public hungry for dynamic, fun-to-drive cars. With their low prices and sporty looks, the initial allocation was popular enough to pave the way for the launch of the Mighty Max pickup.

By the start of the 1990s, Mitsubishi Motors North America was expanding rapidly. With nationwide advertising, strong sales, and more dealers across the country, Mitsubishi was the fastest-growing brand in America for much of the decade. Owing to that success were hot vehicles that were big hits with drivers and critics, like the iconic 3000GT, Eclipse, and Lancer.

Expanding Model Lineup

In 2003, Mitsubishi changed the game again with the debut of its All-Wheel-Control-equipped Lancer Evolution, which was super popular with enthusiasts for its all-too-brief existence. The 2000s also saw the launch of stalwarts like the Outlander, which remains one of the most popular vehicles in the Mitsubishi lineup today.

Growing a Legacy

Over the last 10 years, Mitsubishi has only continued to grow its legacy. With vehicles like the Mirage and Mirage G4, the brand has become a favorite with customers who want new-car value at a lower price. The best-selling Outlander PHEV has put Mitsubishi at the forefront of the green revolution as well, offering incredible 4×4 capability and exceptional driving range.

The history of Mitsubishi in America is a book that’s far from closed. There’s more innovation on the horizon, and you’ll find the result of it — as well as the fruits of the past and present — in-stock right here at Hampton Mitsubishi in Lafayette, Louisiana.

A Look into the Past: The History of the Mitsubishi Eclipse

2006 Mitsubishi Eclipse | Lafayette, LA
Photo from Wikipedia By IFCAR – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7794933

The Mitsubishi Eclipse is no longer in production, but it’s still a beloved model for fans like us at Hampton Mitsubishi. Let’s look back through the history of the Mitsubishi Eclipse and how it became one of our favorite Mitsubishi models.

The first-generation Eclipse arrived in the United States in 1990. It was designed at the Mitsubishi Motors North American Design Studio and manufactured at the brand’s plant in Normal, Illinois – but was anything but normal.

This first Eclipse established the model’s performance-ready power with an available turbocharged 2.0-liter engine that produced 195 horsepower and had a zero-to-60-mph time of just under seven seconds. Named after an 18th century English racehorse, this sportscar had precise handling, a smooth ride, and spirited acceleration, making it a fun-to-drive option.

As the years passed, the Eclipse’s popularity continued to increase. It combined function, technology, and beauty to make it a true driver’s car. Mitsubishi eventually decided, though, to focus toward meeting environmental targets around the world, and announced the discontinuation of the Eclipse to focus on investing more in developing battery technology.

2012 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder | Lafayette, LA
2012 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder

With this announcement, Mitsubishi gave it one last hurrah, creating a final special-edition Eclipse. The 2012 Mitsubishi Eclipse Special Edition had distinctive badging, a leather interior with contrasting stitching, and a choice of two engines – a 2.4-liter four-cylinder that produces 162 horsepower or a 3.8-liter V6 that pumped out 265 horsepower.

Even though it’s no longer produced, you can find pre-owned versions of the Eclipse or new inventory of the more updated crossover version of this model, the Eclipse Cross, here at Hampton Mitsubishi.