Mitsubishi dealers offer input
Mitsubishi's dealer council chairman wants to revive two long-dormant committees to give the struggling brand's dealers a bigger voice in marketing and product planning.
Jim Haskell, owner of Bell Mitsubishi in Rahway, N.J., and chairman of Mitsubishi's dealer advisory board, says reinstating the council's retail marketing and product committees are major priorities for 2013. The groups have been dormant for at least five years.
"Years back, we had a group of dealers from across the country that would meet with the agency and top Mitsubishi executives to discuss creative, brainstorm ideas," Haskell said "I'm having a dialogue to get these committees reinstated."
Mitsubishi dealers have struggled. Sales dropped 27 percent last year in a market up 13 percent. The lineup has been cut roughly in half since the Endeavor, Galant, Eclipse and Spyder were phased out last year.
Mewanwhile, the company spent little to market its new product, the Outlander Sport.
Haskell says 2013 will be different. He points to the redesigned Outlander crossover arriving this summer and the still-unnamed small car expected to go on sale in late 2013. New products, plus a bigger marketing budget, make it a perfect time for Mitsubishi's dealers to have a stronger voice, Haskell said.
He said dealers have had some input without the marketing and product councils, "but the level of communication and the ability to get involved with the planning of product and the ability to get involved with the marketing direction, it wasn't there," he said.
The new councils must be approved by Mitsubishi officials.
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