Mitsubishi begins selling cars under the Mitsubishi brand in the U.S. on Dec. 8, 1981.
Until then, the Japanese automaker had been building cars for Chrysler Corp., such as the Colt, for sale in the U.S.
Mitsubishi Motors North America Inc. was formed in 1981 after tensions arose between Mitsubishi and Chrysler over sales of subcompact cars, leading the Japanese company to establish its own sales network.
The Mitsubishi Tredia sedan, and the Cordia and Starion coupes, were initially sold through seventy dealers in 22 states, with an allocation of 30,000 vehicles between them.
The quota, restricted by mutual agreement between the U.S. and Japanese governments, was included among the 120,000 cars earmarked for Chrysler.
Chrysler acquired a stake in Mitsubishi in 1971, with the intent of buying the Japanese company outright over time, and began to sell the first Mitsubishi Galant in the U.S. as the Dodge Colt.
Mitsubishi Motors chief Tomio Kubo wanted to export more cars through established foreign companies. So Chrysler continued to sell all sorts of Mitsubishi captive imports under the Dodge and Plymouth brands.