Mitsubishi started car production in 1917, when the Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Company introduced the Model A – Japan's first series-production car. It wasn't entirely a success, as it was handbuilt and fearsomely expensive. A mere 22 were built, before the car-building idea was chalked up to experience and abandoned.
Mitsubishi as we know it was created in 1934 when the company's shipbuilding and aircraft manufacturing operations were merged. The new Mitsubishi Heavy Industry company's car operations only got into the swing later, when it produced the Colt 1000 and Minica kei car in 1963. The company expanded quickly through the 1970s with Joint Venture partner Chrysler.