Mitsubishi Motor Sales of America Inc. was scheduled to hear pitches last week from national agency G2 and regional dealer shop Deutsch for the $50 million launch of its redesigned 1999 Galant.
Deutsch, of New York and Santa Monica, Calif., got its foot in the door with Mitsubishi late last year as it vied against Grey/Zimmerman for up to $80 million in dealer accounts.
Grey/Zimmerman, a proposed venture between Grey Advertising in Los Angeles and Zimmerman & Partners in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., never got off the ground, and Mitsubishi awarded all 41 dealer accounts to Deutsch earlier this year.
The August launch of the Galant is critical for Mitsubishi. Pierre Gagnon, executive vice president and COO, told Advertising Age earlier this year the launch would demonstrate the marketer's new brand positioning, which he called 'spirited products for spirited people.'
He also said the G2 tag, 'Built for living,' probably would be dropped. Advertising Age is a sister publication to Automotive News.
Mitsubishi has been struggling. Two weeks ago, the carmaker restructured its top management in both the United States and Japan. The U.S. marketing staff was refashioned last month, including the promotion of Katy Bremer to vice president of marketing from director of logistics and distribution.
U.S. sales slid to 43,692 in the first quarter, down 12.5 percent from the same period in 1997, according to the Automotive News Data Center. For calendar 1997, sales rose 1.1 percent over 1996, to 189,163, slightly above the overall market's gain of 0.1 percent.
Mitsubishi spent $76 million in measured media last year, down from $114 million in 1996. The drop mostly came in the fourth quarter, according to Competitive Media Reporting. Spending may return to 1996 levels because of the Galant launch.