Mitsubishi Motors' U.S. dealers are hoping revamped showrooms and a slew of new products will help their slow but steady sales growth continue in 2020.
Major topics at the brand's make meeting at the NADA Show included the continued rollout of its first facility-improvement initiative in 16 years.
Mitsubishi's retailers are enjoying a product renaissance that this year includes the introduction of the redesigned Outlander, the first vehicle developed on the brand's shared architecture as part of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance. By the end of 2020, every product in the portfolio will be redesigned or freshened.
Executives believe that will allow the brand to record another sales gain in 2020, although they did not provide specific targets.
Mitsubishi in 2019 posted its best U.S. sales results since 2007, up 2.5 percent from 2018. It's the brand's seventh consecutive year of annual sales increases.
"The fact that we're bucking the trend — we're up 2.5 percent when other manufacturers are down — is encouraging," Richard Nisbett, Mitsubishi National Advisory Board chairman, told Automotive News.
"Our product in general is a great value statement. Ultra-high-quality with a lot of great options at a reasonable price. It checks a lot of boxes for people."
Executives did not show dealers any glimpses of the upcoming product, but Fred Diaz, CEO of Mitsubishi Motors North America, said the meeting was "one of the best" he's attended in his career, which has included stints at Nissan and Fiat Chrysler.
Nisbett said roughly a third of Mitsubishi's U.S. retailers have signed up for the facilities program, but he expects that figure to continue to grow.
"It's giving us that consistent, uniformed image that we've lacked," he said. "We want the experience for the customers to match the product. We can't have them looking at these beautiful new vehicles and have dumpy facilities, not open and inviting."
Dealers also were pleased with the brand's digital advertising initiative, called MiDigitalSolutions. The brand will reimburse dealers 100 percent for using one of five preferred vendors for what Nisbett called a "solution in a box" that will help smaller dealers who may not be as technologically inclined.
"Everything is going digital now," Diaz said.
"It's much more cost efficient and effective for us to do it. It's not something we're trying to force on them. They see the value in it."