It's 1978, a product is launched which, over the next four decades, will bring mobility to 4.7 million people – the Mitsubishi 1-tonne pickup.
It's a pickup truck that can handle all types of road, anywhere on the planet. It has been developed with a design brief - to meet the desire of customers for a pickup with outstanding reliability, durability and payload performance; with levels of drivability, utility, comfort and ride that are on a par with a passenger sedan.
The first models were appropriately named FORTE, although exports used other badges such as L200, which remain in use today. From the very beginning, the FORTE was engineered to provide tough, dependable transport for people and goods.
The FORTE was developed to provide a 1-tonne carrying capacity and yet be as easy to drive, have a combination of rugged reliability, easy-to-drive nature and impressive carrying capacity. This soon made it a firm favorite across the world, from frozen wastes to sun-baked deserts.
To ensure customers could go even further afield, Mitsubishi Motors built on its four-wheel-drive heritage by adding a 4x4 version to the range in 1980. This became the foundation for modern Mitsubishi 4WD vehicles, leading directly to the PAJERO/MONTERO and DELICA.
The pickup, soon renamed TRITON in many markets, had a profound effect on the Mitsubishi Motors' business too. The first and second generation platforms were mainly produced at Mitsubishi Motors Ohe Plant. Since the third-generation model in 1995, production has been concentrated in the Laem Chabang Plant in Thailand, from where they are exported worldwide. It is now Mitsubishi Motors' biggest factory, producing about 400,000 vehicles.
Soon, the future of the pickup will be revealed...