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Mitsubishi Motors Corporation of Japan is part of the Mitsubishi Group—a large company that began as a shipping and shipbuilding business in the 1870s. Mitsubishi built its first car, which was also Japan's first mass-produced automobile, in 1917. During the post-World War II fuel shortage, Mitsubishi built buses that could run on alternative fuels or electricity, and resumed passenger-vehicle production in a small way with a motor scooter. By the 1960s, car production was back in full swing, from motorcycle-engined microcars to the Colt compact and mid-size Galant. During the 1970s, Mitsubishi started a long string of international rallying successes with the Lancer compact. This model evolved into a formidable competitor, especially in the Lancer Evolution series, which won the World Rally Championship four consecutive times from 1996-99. Since then, these turbocharged, all-wheel-drive sports cars have continued to grow in power and performance. The 2008 Lancer Evolution X MR is a 2-liter, 291 horsepower version with a top speed of 165 mph. In the 1990s, Mitsubishi also produced two V6-powered performers—the 2-liter FTO and the 3-liter all-wheel-drive GTO.

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