LOS ANGELES -- Mitsubishi Motors Corp. is using the term "soul tech" to describe the redesigned Eclipse, which goes on sale at the end of the month.
The Eclipse has edgy styling and high-tech features, such as a more powerful engine and a 650-watt stereo system.
Company marketers and dealers are banking on the 2006 Eclipse and its advertising campaign, which starts June 12, to revive interest in Mitsubishi. The brand's U.S. sales are down 40.2 percent for the first four months of the year.
"Our objective for design was youthful and exciting," says Dan Sims, general manager of the Mitsubishi Design Center in Cypress, Calif. "But we also wanted it to be sophisticated enough to appeal to upscale buyers."
Sims says the primary target customers are, in equal measure, singles and married couples aged 25 to 35. The secondary customers are baby boomers with older children and empty nesters looking for a personal car.
To reach these customers, the four-passenger coupe comes with more power, more interior room, more safety features and a powerful sound system. The new ad campaign will pitch those attributes.
"This vehicle is very important to us," says Al Gossett, owner of Gossett Mitsubishi in Memphis, Tenn. "It won't help us grow by leaps and bounds, but it gives us an opportunity to keep current Eclipse owners in the family and maybe bring back former owners."