The Mitsubishi Diamante is a car manufactured by Mitsubishi Motors between 1990 and 2005.
The first series was a hardtop introduced to the public at the Tokyo Motor Show in 1989. It went on sale in Japan exclusively in May 1990 and won that year's Japan Car of the Year award. It was created by splicing an extra 6.6cm right down the middle of the Mitsubishi Galant, which itself had won the Japan Car of the Year award in 1987.
The name Diamante was derived from the Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian word for "diamond" and was adopted also as homage to the Mitsubishi badge. In Japan, this vehicle was sold at a specific retail chain called Car Plaza.
From 1991, a more conventional Diamante-derived Mitsubishi Sigma sedan was also built in Japan for its domestic and European export markets. It became the basis of the second generation Magna independently built in Australia. Its Australian luxury derivate, sold as the Verada, became the Diamante for export markets including New Zealand and North America a year later. The Wagon version was also exported including to Japan.
There have been rumors that the Diamante was either not intended for a Japanese launch, or it might have been planned as a low-volume model. The reason for this argument is that until 1989, the width of vehicles was a vital indication of taxation class. The Diamante, being wider than the 1,700mm (66.9in) breakpoint, would have suffered a large tax penalty against most of its rivals, which were designed to be just under limit. At the time, Mitsubishi's international image was also considered less than ideal for the marketing of a luxury car—its most expensive offering that the time, the Debonair, was largely seen as a company car project for Mitsubishi conglomerate executives. The Diamante's introduction was the result of the Honda/Acura Legend, which caught manufacturers by surprise when it appeared in 1986, inspiring the creation of the Lexus and Infiniti divisions, as well as various executive car class vehicles to be revised as a result. Mitsubishi needed to compete with the Legend and the Diamante was the result.
However, the tax situation had changed in 1989, and the Diamante became the surprise hit of 1990. Amidst Japan's bubble economy, many private car owners sought an executive car in a market that had very few new offerings that year.