Following the successful showing of the Mitsubishi HSX concept car at the 1989 Tokyo Motor Show, Mitsubishi developed the new GTO as a technically advanced sports coupe to compete with the Mazda RX-7, Nissan 300ZX and Skyline GT-R, and the Toyota Supra. They resurrected the GTO name, and the car went on to serve as Mitsubishi’s flagship for the remainder of the decade. However, despite the cachet of the badge at home, it was known as the Mitsubishi 3000GT outside Japan; the company was concerned that connoisseurs would object to the evocative nameplate from the highly regarded Ferrari 250 GTO and Pontiac GTO being used on a Japanese vehicle. However, regardless of its badge or eventual target market, every car was built on the same production line at Mitsubishi's plant in Nagoya, Japan.
A Dodge Stealth was initially to be used as a pace car for the 1991 Indianapolis 500 race. The United Auto Workers (UAW), however, did not like the idea of a Japanese-manufactured car being a pace car for the race, and a prototype Dodge Viper was substituted.