The marque: Japanese maker of Colts and cult rally-flavoured cars.

The history: Mitsubishi is a huge corporation and trading house, which began in 1870 as the Tsukuma-Shokai shipping company. It grew and split into various sectors. The Mitsubishi Shipbuilding company built its first car, the Model A, in 1917. Trucks followed, and in 1934 the shipbuilding and aircraft divisions merged into Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

The Zero fighter was the main wartime product. The first modern car was the A10 in 1960, followed by the diminutive Minica and Colt in 1962, and the luxury Debonair in 1964. Exports to the US began in 1970, and to Europe shortly afterwards.

Cautious, conservative management caused problems and brought about a 37 per cent DaimlerChrysler shareholding - which cash-starved DC has just offloaded. It has been bought by other Mitsubishi companies, so Mitsubishi Motors is back in the family fold.

Defining model: Shogun, the big, brash 4x4 that claims urban pavements as its own.

They say: We can manage on our own, thank you.

We say: Caution - rebirth in progress.

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