Mitsubishi Motors is part of the massive Mitsubishi Group or keiretsu. Today various parts of the conglomerate are involved in everything glass making (Asahi Glass), beverages and alcohol (Kirin), chemicals, electrical goods, heavy industries, logistics, paper mills, cameras (Nikon), banking (Mitsubishi UFJ) and, of course, cars.

The company was first setup as a shipping concern in 1870 by Yataro Iwasaki. Before and during the Second World War, the company was also involved in the Chinese opium trade and produced the Mitsubishi Zero fighter plane that was used by the country’s kamikaze pilots.

What does Mitsubishi mean in Japanese?

The company's Japanese name, 三菱, is phonetically translated as mitsu (three) hishi or bishi (water chestnut). 菱 or bishi is also the first character in the Japanese word for rhombus. Often the translation is simplified to three diamonds.


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