What Does ‘FTO’ Stand For?

The Mitsubishi FTO is one of the unsung heroes of 1990s Japanese performance motoring.

During the “Golden Era” of Japanese car manufacturing, there were simply so many fantastic cars coming from the Land of the Rising Sun that any given car could get lost in the noise.

In some respects, the FTO is an example of this.

Most people focus their attention on the FTO’s “big brother”, the Mitsubishi GTO (or 3000GT as it is known to our American readers). You can read our 3000GT buyer’s guide and history here for more information on that particular car.

However, the FTO was well-regarded in its time, offering a great blend of sharp handling, attractive looks and clever technology. Top spec models came with an innovative, high-revving 2.0 V6 engine, as well as a limited slip differential and other performance kit.

Despite originally being intended only as a true JDM car (read our JDM meaning guide here for more information on what this term actually means) its popularity as a grey market import into countries like the UK and New Zealand eventually led to official distribution by Mitsubishi in the late 90s.

But what does ‘FTO’ mean on this Mitsubishi car?

In this very short edition of Car Facts, we are going to look at what FTO stands for.

The good news here is that Mitsubishi themselves actually tell us exactly what FTO means.

In an official report called ‘Facts & Figures 2000’, there is a whole bunch of interesting data about the FTO (you can also learn more in our Mitsubishi FTO buyer’s guide) such as production numbers, where the cars are built etc.

There is also a specific section on the meaning/origin of various Mitsubishi model names.

Here’s what the report says about the meaning of FTO:

In case that image is hard to read, it says “FTO – ‘Fresh Touring Origination: a touring model overflowing with freshness, youthfulness, originality’.

So, FTO stands for ‘Fresh Touring Origination’. 

Origination means “beginning”, so in theory the name is meant to refer to a fresh beginning/start in touring.

With that mouthful in mind, it’s not hard to see why they sold the car as the FTO instead!

What do you think about the Mitsubishi FTO? Don’t forget to read our Mitsubishi FTO buyer’s guide. You can also leave a comment below with your thoughts on this car.


  • Sam

    Sam focuses mainly on researching and writing the growing database of Car Facts articles on Garage Dreams, as well as creating interesting list content. He is particularly enthusiastic about JDM cars, although has also owned numerous European vehicles in the past. Currently drives a 3rd generation Suzuki Swift Sport, and a Volkswagen Touareg (mainly kept for taking his border collie out to the hills to go walking)

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