LOS ANGELES -- Two key marketing executives have left Mitsubishi Motors North America as the company is launching the redesigned Eclipse.
Sources say Kevin Mayer, director of advertising, and John Jullens, director of strategic planning, both resigned Monday.
The sports coupe, which company CEO Rich Gilligan says is crucial to Mitsubishi's success, goes on sale at the end of this month. The ad campaign begins June 12.
Sources say both Mayer and Jullens were at odds with Gilligan and Dave Schembri, executive vice president of sales and marketing, over how the Eclipse should be marketed to consumers. Sources say the pair were particularly disappointed with what they saw as a paltry ad budget for the car, at about $25 million.
Company spokeswoman Dotty Diemer declined to comment.
Jullens, who reported to Hiroshi Taguchi, senior vice president of corporate strategic planning at Mitsubishi Motors North America Inc., was in charge of pricing, research and market and industry analysis for all of Mitsubishi's nameplates in this country. Mayer was responsible for advertising.
Sources say Mitsubishi's entire ad budget for this year is about $120 million, and top Mitsubishi execs have said they can't afford to budget more money for the Eclipse launch.
The company also needs to spend ad dollars on the Galant and Lancer sedans, its two best-selling vehicles, and the Endeavor SUV. The new Raider pickup goes on sale this fall. Mitsubishi sales in the United States fell 39.3 percent in the first quarter.
Mayer, who took the advertising job Jan. 1, is the third person in that position to resign from Mitsubishi in less than a year.
Paul Mareski left the company in June after only four months on the job. Diane Hong replaced Mareski and resigned Dec. 31.
Bob Martin, director of brand marketing, left the company in March.
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