Did you know that Mitsubishi has one of the oldest logos among car companies?

Updated Jun 08, 2021 | Same topic: Automotive FYIs

It’s actually older than the automaker that uses it on its products.    

To say that the Philippines is familiar with Mitsubishi Motors is an understatement. The company has been a household name for generations of car owners, with iconic models ranging from the Minica and Lancer to the Montero Sport and Pajero SUV lines. Die-hard Mitsubishi fans still relish its glory days in rally racing while still hoping for the return of the Evo badge.       

Mitsubishi logo

Filipinos easily recognize the three-diamond brand among carmakers 

All these milestones aside, the carmaker is still a relatively young brand. Prior to Mitsubishi Motors’ formal establishment in 1970, most of its cars were made under the stamp of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. These included the first Japanese-built sedan with all-wheel-drive in 1937 (the PX33), the first passenger car produced after World War II (the Mitsubishi 500), and the Debonair four-door luxury car, Mitsubishi’s largest sedan in the 1960s.        

Pajero Evolution

The company's motorsports victories influenced its mass-produced models 

In contrast, the logo that Mitsubishi Motors uses predates the carmaker by almost a century. While we readily associate the three red diamonds with cars as the company’s most recognizable product, over 40 firms within the Mitsubishi keiretsu (enterprise group) actually share the corporate symbol, spanning various areas of interest including shipping, banking, chemicals, power generation, real estate, academics, and sports.     

Origins 

Japanese industrialist Iwasaki Yataro founded the shipping firm Tsukumo Shokai (Trading Company) in 1870. At the outset, Yataro wanted the company’s identity to reflect two important groups in his life: the Tosa clan from which he was born, and the Iwasaki family whose name he bears.

Yataro Iwasaki

Mitsubishi founder Iwasaki Yataro honored two families with his company's symbol 

The resulting logo used the three-layer stacked lozenges of the Iwasaki family crest, adopting the rotational symmetry configuration of the three oak leaves used by the Tosa clan’s Yamauchi family, who were Yataro’s first employers. Combining the two resulted in a logo that largely resembled a ship’s propeller, seemingly appropriate for the company’s trade.

In 1873, the company name was changed to Mitsubishi, combining the words mitsu (three) and hishi (water chestnut, often used to describe a rhombus or diamond shape). The logo was updated in 1914, with the small circle connecting the three thin rhomboids changed into a solid point to evoke strength and confidence. This would be the company’s symbol for the next 50 years.

The logo's elements

The last major change so far to the logo was in 1964, with the rhomboids taking on a bolder and more balanced appearance. Each of them is said to represent one of three values espoused by Mitsubishi: integrity, success, and reliability.

Mitsubishi logo evolution

The Mitsubishi logo continues to reflect the company's values 

Straight lines and sharp angles help instill a sense of authority, with the use of red as a color communicating energy and passion. This simple geometric approach proved instrumental in making Mitsubishi’s visual identity instantly recognizable anywhere. The logo would be accompanied by the black ‘Mitsubishi’ wordmark in 1985, which eventually became ‘Mitsubishi Motors’ while retaining the original hue.

Mitsubishi Outlander

It still looks good on newer models, with its simplicity and timelessness  

The Mitsubishi logo has not changed even with the transition to the new millennium. Part of the reason has something to do with the company’s tribute to its roots. Another is that the logo remains visually impressive despite its simplicity, and it has managed to avoid looking dated even on the company’s newer models.

See more stories behind your favorite automotive symbols at Philkotse.com.

Know more about Mitsubishi

Mitsubishi

<p>The most in-demand models of Mitsubishi in the Philippines are the Mitsubishi Xpander, Mitsubishi Mirage, Mitsubishi Mirage G4, Mitsubishi Pajero, Mitsubishi Montero Sport, Mitsubishi Strada, and Mitsubishi L300. You can browse Philkotse.com to learn more about Mitsubishi models, the latest prices, and available promos, as well as the latest news, reviews, updated specs, and other information.</p>

Joseph Paolo Estabillo

Joseph Paolo Estabillo

Author

Joseph has been a member of various car clubs since he got his driver's license in 2004 – old enough to remember riding in taxicabs with analog meters, but his fascination with cars goes way back. After nearly two decades of working in broadcast media, he shifted gears by coming on board as Philkotse’s first Filipino member and staff writer in 2017.

Apart from his role in Philkotse as Content Team Lead, Joseph has written episodes for Drive, which has been airing on CNN Philippines for five seasons running. He has also delivered content for various car dealerships based in the U.S., spanning multiple brands such as Alfa Romeo, Maserati, Jeep, Dodge, among others.

Keeping his hopes high and his revs low, he dreams about owning a Kei car when he retires. Hates slow parkers.

View more
Cash Value