Story & photos by Randy S. Peregrino
IN 1917, the first-ever car bearing the bejeweled three-diamond emblem was the Model A built by then Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Co. The company went on to build Japan’s very first series-produced vehicle with a 22-car production. And between the post-World War II and 1970’s era, the introductions of various vehicle segments from commercial to passenger ultimately established the present Mitsubishi Motor Corp.
In order to immerse the public into the automaker’s glorious history, Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corp. (MMPC) recently staged a four-day motor show event showcasing its rich heritage. “The goal has always been to maintain the trust and admiration of people to the vehicles that carry the three-diamond emblem, which ran first on the road in 1917. It’s through loyal customers that we were able to class-leading company that provides not just world-class vehicles, also outstanding services,” MMPC President and CEO Yoshiaki Kato said.
Dubbed as the “Mitsubishi 100 Years Anniversary Expo”, brand fanatics in the country were treated with one-of-a-kind experience brought about by the automaker’s century of innovation. Also, during the kick-off program, MMPC, known for its charitable practices, donated P1 million to the GMA Kapuso Foundation Inc. This was for the benefit of the bridge-construction project interconnecting a school and a village in Buhi, Camarines Sur.
Considered as the main attraction, MMPC showcased a seven-car line up representing Mitsubishi’s historical milestones. As many of us expected to see typical retro cars on display, the choice of rather presenting the legendary vehicles that bought eminence to the brand exceeded our expectations. Take note that these iconic cars on display were the actual units from Mitsubishi Auto Gallery in Okazaki, Japan, shipped to the country to take part in the auto expo.
Leading the pack was Japan’s first full 4WD passenger car—the PX33. Back in 1935, it was manufactured at the Kobe shipyard of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. Next was the 1971 Japan Grand Prix overall winner, Colt F2000, driven by Kuniomi Nagamatsu. Its R39B racing engine with side-mounted radiator became the benchmark of today’s formula racing cars. Then, there’s the Lancer 1600 GSR—two-time winner (1974 and 1976) of the most grueling “Safari Rally”. Tapped as Mitsubishi’s most successful rally car, it was based on the Galant GTO and FTO platforms with impressive specifications admired by many.
Another Lancer in the lineup was the EX 2000 Turbo, a high performance turbocharged rally car which placed third at the Finland 1000 Lake Rally. It also won back-to-back (1983 and 1984) titles in the All Championship Rally sponsored by the Japan Auto Federation. Next in line was the high-tech circuit car—the Starion. It debuted back in the 1983 Tokyo Motor Show and eventually competed in the 1984 Millespistes Rally, which won first place in its class. It also participated in the Beijing-Hongkong Circuit.
Another rally champion on display was the Pajero 189. It was initially introduced at the 1983 Paris Dakar Rally and eventually bagged both first and second overall standings. And last, the modern and well-known Lancer WRC built by Ralliart (Mitsubishi’s motorsport division). It debuted in Italy’s Sanremo rally and also competed in the World Rally Championship from 2001 to 2007. Moreover, showcased on a separate platform was the Outlander Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle (PHEV) that won the 2015 Baja Rally.
Test drives, promos and giveaways
Aside from the iconic cars spectacle, MMPC also exhibited line ups of the current best-selling passenger and utility vehicles. Even their Fuso haulers made it to the motor show, highlighting medium to light-duty trucks in various applications. This enabled potential buyers to take a closer look on their respective targets. Furthermore, people were also given the opportunity to test drive some of Mitsubishi’s sought-after models, such as the Montero sport, Pajero and the popular subcompact Mirage, as well as their pure electric vehicles—iMiEV and the Outlander PHEV.
As a reward to both loyal and soon-to-be Mitsubishi car owner, MMPC implemented special incentives should they decide to finally acquire (cash or financing) any brand new Mitsubishi models. To start off, all registered visitors were awarded with a P10,000 car registration discount coupon. And then, another P10,000 discount coupon were given to those who tested their vehicle of choice. More so, trading-in old cars (including non-Mitsubishi models) were also available as an option, which comes with a tempting P30,000 worth of incentive from the appraised value.
But it didn’t end there, as a reservation for any model during the expo granted an eligibility to play the Lucky Drop Pachinko game for a chance to win another P50,000 discount coupon. And what goes with the 100 years of celebration was the whopping P100,000 anniversary giveaway promo to 10 lucky new Mitsubishi buyers (four from National Capital Region, three from Luzon and three from the Visayas and Mindanao regions) from June 8 to July 31.
A family-oriented motor show
MMPC made sure that the recently concluded Mitsubishi 100 Years Anniversary Expo was also entertaining enough for the whole family. With brand ambassadors, such as Maine Mendoza, Alden Richards, along with Ramon Bautista, gracing the Saturday edition of the event, was definitely a blast for the fans. Likewise, marque fanatics got their share of the celebration through the Mitsubishi Owners Day. MMPC also tapped the services of Nickelodeon to conduct fun games and managed the kid’s park area. Even art lovers were treated with workshops conducted by no other than the father of Philippine Art Workshop, Fernando Sena. More important, “Safety and Driving Etiquette” seminar was also conducted during the expo.