Mitsubishi isn’t a huge automaker in North America and the company’s struggles here have critics thinking that the three-diamond brand isn’t cut out for the big leagues, but the truth is far from that.
Mitsubishi Motors is actually a part of a huge family of companies with varied interests and plenty of success. In fact, the whole Mitsubishi group is so successful, its profits make up 10 percent of Japan’s GDP! How is that possible? For starters, cars are just a small part of the picture — the group includes the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Japan’s largest bank. There are plenty of companies in this business group, so here’s an important view at what’s behind that three-diamond logo.
It’s likely you’ve heard of Nikon, the camera and lens maker, which is a pretty well-known part of the Mitsubishi business group. Along with camera equipment, Nikon also made glass for binoculars, microscopes and is a huge player in semiconductor fabrication.
Another part of the Mitsubishi group is the Kirin company, which handles the production and distribution of beer, along with other drinks and food. Kirin is huge and one of Japan’s oldest beer brands, brewing beer since 1888. The Kirin company itself owns a few important brands, even here in the U.S., including the Four Roses Whisky brand.
While Mitsubishi Heavy Industries used to make cruise ships, like those used on Carnival Cruise Lines, the company announced earlier this year that it won’t be making ships like that in the future. Instead, the company will continue to make car ferries. Outside of car ferries, the company also makes gas carriers and patrol vessels.
You can also see the Mitsubishi brand at work in the skies. The wings of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner are actually made by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. Beyond that, the company has actually finished its own regional jet, which completed a test flight last year, and more than 200 airplanes are set to hit various airlines starting in 2018.
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries also sends satellites into space and even provides support to the ISS.
Like a few other automakers, Mitsubishi also has a commercial truck and bus brand: Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus. An interesting fact about this brand is that Daimler AG actually owns almost 90 percent of the Fuso brand.
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries also makes important stuff for power plants as well, even in the western world. Known for its gas turbines, the company also makes controls for nuclear power plants. Also, consider the wind turbines and solar panels that the company makes.
Finally, Mitsubishi Electric also makes commercial and consumer electronics like TVs, air conditioners, and heaters.
Mitsubishi Makes Cars Too!
Finally, we know that Mitsubishi Motors makes cars, too. While the brand’s presence in North America features a fairly limited number of models, the three-diamond brand competes in two of the most important markets in North America. The Outlander is the brand’s compact crossover offering, while the Outlander Sport (known as the RVR in Canada) is the brand’s subcompact breadwinner.
The company is planning on a few new advances here in North America, as the globally successful Outlander PHEV is slated to hit our market soon, and an unnamed midsize crossover is also likely to show up soon.