Mitsubishi is a company with great history, but not especially with automobiles. While the parent company is a huge concern engaged in ship-building and aviation, the automotive division is relatively new and small. The initial product was cheap, small cars. By exploiting co-branding deals with other manufacturers, Mitsubishi has grown into a well-known maker of quality machines.
Mitsubishi cars, for years, enjoyed a co-branding arrangement with Chrysler that gave them a larger outlet for their product and more funds for developing new models. The cars have always been rich in content, even the inexpensive ones. And, while performance wasn’t one of their hallmarks, they built some fast and entertaining cars.
This makes finding parts sometimes easy and sometimes difficult. Because production volume was low, Mitsubishi would use components longer. New models didn’t always mean new parts, especially engines. The reliability of their engines made them popular; they turn up in Chryslers, early Hyundais, and many industrial applications. Hyundai would have never gotten off the ground if it weren’t for the engineering assist that they received from Mitsubishi.
When shopping for parts, particularly used ones, the buyer should be aware of the many sources available. Dodges, Plymouths, Hyundais, and Mitsubishis share a number of components. Salvage yards know this, and will look in all directions when a part becomes scarce. It’s still a good idea to remind them, though. Mitsubishi and Dodge models that are similar will usually sport sheet metal that is identical. The production volume was too low to justify different fenders and lights for the various badges.
The high quality of the engineering, in concert with conservative marketing and manufacturing processes, makes the purchase of new parts easier. Mitsubishi never changed anything that didn’t have to be changed, and never introduced new technologies or models unless they were certain to last a long time. This has caused difficulties in the age of “the next new thing,” but they have stuck to their guns and today produce some of the best cars coming out of Asia.