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Mitsubishi's long alliance with Chrysler

Mitsubishi’s Chrysler connection started way back in the 1970s, with Colt

Published: January 26, 2019, 9:30 PM
Updated: February 1, 2019, 6:06 AM

1991 Dodge Stealth-Jeffbond12 - (Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Jeffbond12)

Much of the latest news swirling around Mitsubishi is related to its new alliance with Nissan and Renault, but what may have been forgotten is that the company has a long history of working with other companies, most notably Chrysler in North America.

1987 Dodge Colt

Mitsubishi’s Chrysler connection started way back in 1970s, with the sub-compact hatchback sold as the Dodge Colt and Plymouth Champ (eventually Colt, as well), which were rebadged first from the Galant and then Mirage sub-compacts, at a time when the Mitsubishi models were not sold in the US (which didn’t happen until 1985).

Around the same time Colts were being sold out of Dodge and Plymouth stores, Mitsubishi also rebadged its L200 compact pickup (more like a sub-compact pickup) as the Dodge D-50 (shortly thereafter adopting the Ram 50 name).

1988 Dodge Raider - (Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Nwwebber)

Toward the end of the ’80s, a version of the Montero compact SUV (called Montero in the US, but known as Pajero in other markets and on motorsport off-road circuits) was sold in Dodge showrooms as the Raider, a name that would be used by Mitsubishi about two decades later on a Mitsubishi version of the Dodge Dakota midsized pickup.

But by far the most successful and well-known Mitsubishi nameplate was the Galant, which first came to market at the start of the ’70s (and was actually the first Colt to be sold by Chrysler) but is best known when it made the move to the mid-size category, and in particular for its sixth generation which was sold in Canada as the Dodge (and later Eagle) 2000GTX.

1995 Eagle Talon TSi_Mikeetc - (Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Mikeetc)

The platform was also used on a new breed of sporty coupes for all partners, with the most famous being the Mitsubishi Eclipse (which would carry on for 22 years, ceasing production just seven years ago) and the Eagle Talon (one of the flagships of Chrysler’s newly-created Eagle division), most notably in all-wheel drive version.

Other versions of the Galant/Eclipse included the Chrysler Sebring and Dodge Avenger (coupes, though the names would be later resurrected on completely different sedans), and also the all-wheel drive Dodge Stealth performance car (which was almost a direct copy of the Mitsubishi 3000GT),