LOS ANGELES -- Mitsubishi will try to juice sales with a marketing plan celebrating the company's 25th year in the United States.
The campaign is scheduled to run through next year and includes new TV spots and new consumer incentives. The company also plans to introduce new trim lines of existing models.
Hiroshi Harunari, CEO of Mitsubishi Motors North America Inc., vows to hone Mitsubishi's image in the United States, shore up the product line, give dealers more marketing support and create programs to retain customers.
Mitsubishi set up business in the United States in 1981. Since 2002, though, sales have fallen dramatically. In the first three months of this year, they fell 25.6 percent to 25,695 units vs. the same period in 2005.
The advertising campaign, created by BBDO Worldwide, is called "The next 25 years begins today." It began airing on cable TV this month.
The 30-second spot, the first of several expected to run through next year, shows Mitsubishi's vehicles past and present, such as the discontinued 3000GT and the redesigned Eclipse Spyder. It also features the company's racing heritage.
Mitsubishi also plans to strengthen its current lineup with additional trim lines.
The first trim line is the Galant SE, which went on sale in March. At $22,594 including the destination charge, it features some of the same standard features as the top-of-the-line GTS, such as automatic climate control, fog lamps and 17-inch aluminum alloy wheels. Leather-trimmed seating also is standard.
A special edition Lancer Evolution is expected to debut this summer, followed by a special-edition Endeavor SUV.
Harunari also said Mitsubishi is working on new incentive programs to reward loyal customers.
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